Archive for November, 2008


My headstone of the week for Thanksgiving Week is found in St. Mary’s Cemetery, right here in Lancaster.  While searching for a family member’s gravesite, I came across this one and just could not resist taking it’s picture.  It seems to have been reinforced with large stones to keep it upright.  It dwarfs the surrounding stones and can be seen from the minute you enter the cemetery.

It is a handsome monument and the reason it is. . . . .

Linda’s Headstone of the Week, Week #6.

Read Full Post »

While trying to find a some headstones for a find-a-grave request, I came across this wonderful headstone in Woodward Hill Cemetery.


Ay first glance I thought this was yet another vandalized headstone in this old city cemetery.  Upon close inspection I found that it was not, the sabre was actually carved this way.  There were no birth or death dates on this marvelous headstone, but since there was a broken sabre, I knew there must be a story, and I suspected Civil War, War Between the States, War of the Rebellion, or whatever one might call it.

I went first to a County History in my collection and found that he was one of three Captains in Company C, 79th Regiment, Pennsylvania Infantry.  He had enlisted on 11th October 1861 and died in Louisville, Kentucky on 8th February 1862.

The 79th Regiment was primarily a Lancaster County Regiment and according to the same County History:

It was recruited in September and October of 1861 by Henry A. Hambright, of Lancaster, who was made its colonel.  Its place of rendezvous was Camp Wilkins, near Pittsburgh, from which it marched on the 17th of October to Allegheny City, where it received from the Governour its colors, and on the following day it embarked on steamers for Louisville. Ky.  Thence it proceeded by rail to a camp on Nolen Creek, and by leisurely marches to Camp Wood, near Murfordsville, on Green River.  Here it remained through the winter, engaged in drill, picket, guard and scout duty.”

Since it appeared that Captain Dysart had seen no action, I did a little additional research and went to some old Lancaster newspapers for that.  I now knew he had died in February of 1862.

On 4th February, I found a little blurb that stated:

“. . .A dispatch received by Mr. T.J. Dysart last evening, from the Hospital Surgeon speaks of the progonosis of Capt. Dysart’s case as doubtful, referring to Capt. Dysart’s illness.  He speaks of him as one of the very best officers in his command, whose loss he could not replace.  We sincerely hope he may recover. . . “

On February 11th, news of his death was printed in the same paper:

DEATH OF CAPT. JOHN H. DYSART. — We announced last week the extreme illness, from an attack of typhoid fever, of Capt. John H. Dysart, at the Military Hospital in Louisville.  On Saturday afternoon the sad intelligence reached this city, by telegraph, of his death that morning.  Capt. D. commanded Company C of Col. Hambright’s Regiment, and was considered one of the finest company officers in the Regiment.  He organized the Union Guards, now commanded by Capt. Barton, and was Third Lieutenant in that crack corps, the Lancaster Fencibles at its organization.  He was higly esteemed by all who knew him for his manly qualities and generous disposition, and his death will be extremely regretted by a large circle of friends and acquaintances in this city.  We understand his remains will be brought home for interment in a day or two and alll the military companies in the city will take part in the funeral obsequies.”

I now had my answer.  This man never saw battle, but was very well prepared had he lived that long.  That sabre had been used only in drill.

Rest in Peace, Captain John H. Dysart.

  • Ellis, Franklin, and Samuel Evans. History of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia: Everts and Peck, 1883, 111-117.
  • “Exaggerated Reports,” The Lancaster Intelligencer, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, February 4, 1862, page 2, column 4
  • “Death of Capt. John H. Dysart,” The Lancaster Intelligencer, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, February 11, 1862, page 2, column 4.

Linda’s Headstone of the Week, Week #5

Read Full Post »

Today I visited my favorite cemetery ~ Harrisburg Cemetery, within view of the State Capitol.  Old, old, old Harrisburg Cemetery.  . . . and today I noticed something I had never noticed before.

I first had to stop by my great-grandparents site.  They rest with five of their children who did not live to see adulthood.  At the base of their headstone are the headstones of my great-grandmothers’ parents, brother and grandmother.  Their stones were blanketed in a beautiful display of fall colors.  I pulled some back to take this picture.  . . . .and NO, the Smiths are not mine, simply “neighbors” of my family.

img_00313From there I decided to take a ride around the perimeter of the cemetery to see my favorite spot clothed in nature’s beauty, and did something I had never done before.  

I have driven past the area where the Civil War veterans are buried so many times I can’t count them.  Today I decided to stop and photograph them.  While I was taking pictures, I noticed that most of the headstones had flags, but a handful had roses.  Wondering why, I read the headstones and almost fell over.  Those with roses belonged to men with the insignia of “CSA” on their headstones!  Confederates intermingled with Union soldiers in Pennsylvania!  I got goosebumps!  The inclusiveness of the cemetery!  The consideration of our citizens to remember them as well as “our own” on Veterans day overwhelms me!  

I was almost brought to tears.


The view from the driveway is in the picture below.  It was a wonderful sight.  Brothers after all!  We are all Americans and after all is said and done, we love each other even unto death.


On the west side of the cemetery was the most awesome sight of all.  A shaded site with leaves still falling, resting in the bushes and on top of stones.  I would be remiss not to take a picture of this site!


Just a bit down from this site, was a very private site sitting on top of a little hill, surrounded by bushes and seemingly sequestered all by it’s lonesome.  Maybe they wanted their privacy in their vault.  It just impressed me as a lonely spot in a beautiful cemetery.


If you are ever in the Harrisburg area and need your “cemetery fix” be sure to visit this cemetery.  It is historic, takes up a city block and one of the most beautiful, serene spots you’ll ever visit.   


It is truly a cemetery for “All Men” as evidenced by the Civil War Veteran’s Site.

Read Full Post »

Week #4’s headstone is found in Maytown in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.  It is one headstone in memory of ten people. 


The Inscription tells the story:


This was found at Maytown Union Cemetery, adjacent to St. John’s Lutheran Church.  This stone impressed me with the caring of yet another congregation in Lancaster County.

Linda’s Headstone of the Week, Week #3

Read Full Post »

Newcastle, Delaware is one of my favorite places to go.  It is about 1 1/2 hour drive from Lancaster and we travel to go to Church on occasion, to have brunch or just to walk around the town and take in the beauty of old, old Newcastle.

Immanuel Church in Winter with Graveyard visible over the wall

Immanuel Church in Winter with Graveyard visible over the wall

A friend introduced us to Immanuel Episcopal Church on the Green, and we’ve gone at various times with him.  This is a historic and beautiful Church completely surrounded by a very old, well kept graveyard.  We’ve been there in every season except Autumn. . . . until yesterday!  . . . and Newcastle was ablaze in color yesterday!  The scene below is the street in front of the Church and Graveyard.

One of the more unique features of the Graveyard is the Receiving Vault where the bodies were put in the winter until the ground was thawed enough to dig a grave.

Vault in Graveyard

Receiving Vault at Immanuel Episcopal Graveyard, Newcastle, Delaware

An old and unique gravesite is that of Mary Reynolds.  The Inscription on the top of the stone reads:

Here Lyeth Interred the Body of
Who departed this life on the 9th
Day of December 1777 Aged 53
Years 7 Months and 7 Days

Gravesite of

Gravesite of Mrs. Mary Reynolds

This Burial Vault appears to belong to the JANVIER Family, although there are other names on the front of it, as well.  Looks like the Family that prays together, stays together, even into eternity.

Janvier Family Burial Vault

Janvier Family Burial Vault

Catharine Ramsey seemed to be revered for her virtuous lifestyle when she died in 1766 at 76 years old, as seen on her headstone below.

. . . and Mary Eves had a very simple headstone marking her passing in 1768.

Mary Eves Headstone

Mary Eves' Headstone

As you enter the Churchyard, this sign is posted on the front wall, telling the age of the Congregation.  It is one of the oldest Episcopal Congregations in America.  For more information on it’s history, check out the Church’s link above.

We have now seen this Church and Graveyard in every season.  Each season is our favorite when we are there.  We will be back in the Winter since Christmas is beautiful in this area.

Read Full Post »

My pick for headstone of the week is found in Lancaster Cemetery in the heart of the city.  This is one of my favorite cemeteries, and a relaxing, peaceful place to visit.  My Headstone of the Week is also, not a headstone, but a row of grave markers for an entire family.

On a recent visit I found this row of grave markers for the BEITZEL family and had never seen any like it before.  The row of four stands for eternity, a little crooked here and there, but remains never-the-less.


Beitzell Family, Lancaster Cemetery

Beitzell Family, Lancaster Cemetery

Among the granite and marble headstones these lonely iron markers remain after 100 years!  Buried there, from left to right are:

Daniel H. Beitzel, 1870 to 1896 (SON)
George W. Beitzel, 1866 to 1905 (SON)
George W. Beitzel, 1827 to 1913 (HUSBAND) 
Margaret R. Beitzel, 1846 to 1926 (MOTHER)

I love the unusual and simple.  This family has gravemarkers like none other in this cemetery.


Linda’s Headstone of the Week, Week #3


Read Full Post »