Today was “Victorian Day” in the Lancaster Cemetery. It is their annual fund raiser, with walking tours, Civil War re-enactors, Ladies of the Patriot Daughters of Lancaster and even “meeting” Mayor Sanderson who served the city from 1859 – 1869.
Our tour guide knew the Cemetery intimately. His father had been the caretaker and he spent his childhood playing among the headstones. We learned the first burial was on June 1, 1848 and was a child, Alice Louisa. In the picture above, Mr. Smoker is telling us about Second Lieut. Cornelius Van Camp who was shot through the heart with an arrow while leading a charge near Wichita in October of 1858.
One of our first stops was at the gravesite of George Brientnall, “the Drummer Boy of Shiloh.” While at the gravesite, we were read the poem about “The Drummer Boy of Shiloh” by our Tour Guide and then continued on to the gravesite of the first Revolutionary War patriot buried here.
Michael Kline (4 Aug 1744 – 21 Aug 1828) and five other members of his family are buried in this site. He was a Revolutionary War veteran.
We learned the story of Elliot Eskridge Lane’s death. Elliot was a nephew of President James Buchanan and had been the victim of food poisoning at the Inauguration dinner for his uncle. He died days later!
We stopped and paid homage to the Longs. Henry G. Long and his wife Catharine, donated the land that Long’s Park sits on today. It is a large, beautiful park and utilized year around by various organizations and families. Events are held there on an almost weekly basis!
I had often wondered why George Kinzo Kaneko was buried in the same area as Franklin and Marshall College dignitaries. Today we found out why. He was a student from Japan when he met his untimely death here. Japan, as a gesture for the kindness shown to Mr. Kaneko, sent Ginko trees to both Lancaster Cemetery and to Franklin and Marshall College. The College ended up giving the trees to the Cemetery and today they are scattered throughout the cemetery. They are beautiful.
We walked to and stopped at one of the most beautiful sites in the cemetery. Rumor has it that she has been seen walking in the cemetery. Our guide assured us that in all his years at this cemetery, he has never seen her walk! He did explain what the pillar next to her symbolized. It appears to be broken and it symbolizes a life cut short. If you will notice, Elliot Lane, above, has the same pillar for his headstone.
. . . and finally we got to meet Mayor Sanderson. He told us about his various business ventures and how he became Mayor of our fair city. If we were warm on this 85 degree day, I can only imagine how warm he must have been in his suit and top hat!
Esther Parker was James Buchanan’s housekeeper and is also buried in this cemetery. No tour would be complete without seeing her headstone, as she was an integral part of the Buchanan’s househould.
The $5 we each spent for our tour was well worth it! We learned a lot about the “residents” in this piece of ground and would definitely recommend this to anybody next year.
We’ll go the 8th Annual Victorian Days at Lancaster Cemetery in 2010, will you?