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Archive for February, 2009

This is the second part of the blog I started in honor of Pennsylvania’s only President.  This will cover the funeral procession to Woodward Hill Cemetery and his burial.  Part one covered his death and services in his home, Wheatland, in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

James Buchanan's beloved Wheatland Estate

Front of James Buchanan's beloved Wheatland Estate

Although James Buchanan had expressly requested no “pomp or parade,” it happened anyway.  He was well loved in Lancaster, and people turned out to pay their final respects.  In addition to people from his county, delegations from other cities, organizations and government lined the streets and joined the procession from his Wheatland to Woodward Hill Cemetery.  After all, he had been President, and respect of the position and the man was due.  

Throngs appeared early on the day of his funeral, to pay their final respects.  His coffin was in the entrance hall of Wheatland and mourners entered via the front door, formed lines on either side of  his coffin, and exited by the back door.  The entrance hall was “draped in mourning.”

Rear of Wheatland today.  Back door where mourners exited after viewing his casket

Rear of Wheatland today. Back door where mourners exited after viewing his casket

The funeral parade covered a distance of approximately 2 1/2 miles.  Wheatland is on Marietta Avenue, then called Marietta Turnpike.  I can find no exact route recorded, but must assume the procession went from Wheatland, south on Marietta to West King Street.  Since a newspaper account states that some members of the Humane Fire Company sprinkled the street from “the extreme end of West King street to Centre Square, a distance of three-quarters of a mile,” I’ll assume the funeral procession turned east on West King Street and that was the route taken into the heart of the city.  Centre Square is just that.  The intersection of King and Queen Street is the heart of Lancaster.  From Centre Square, one can assume that the procession turned south on Queen Street right to Woodward Hill Cemetery. 

Supposed Route of James Buchanan's Funeral Procession

Supposed Route of James Buchanan's Funeral Procession

The newspaper account estimates “not less than twenty thousand people were either in the procession or looking on at the mournful pageant as it passed through the streets.”   According to an account in The Lancaster Intelligencer on June 10, 1868, there were delegations from Philadelphia, New York, Harrisburg, York and  the City Council  of Baltimore.  The paper went on to say “Many distinguished Pennsylvanians from different parts of the State were present in line, either in carriages or on foot.

Also “Lancaster No. 27; Monterey, No. 242; and Hebel, No. 599, Lodges of I.O. of O.F.  These societies combined paraded 175 men. . .” The City Cornet Band was in the parade as well as the Order of Free and Accepted Masons “. . . they paraded 200 men. . “  and then followed the procession of carriages.  The paper listed who was in each of the 125 carriages that were in the procession and “. . . they began to move a few moments before 5 o’clock, and the head of it had entered the city before the last of it began to move from position.  It extended over a distance of  nearly two miles and at the lowest estimate there were not less than 4,000 people in the line. “

According to the Masonic organization, “. . .One of the largest funeral processions of any President who died out of office followed the remains to Woodward Hill, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where four thousand people witnessed the impressive Masonic burial service.”

The sidewalks along the route were packed with thousands of people and when the procession arrived at the Cemetery, throngs lined the paths there, having staked out spots early in the day.  Churchbells rang until they reached the Cemetery and funeral trumpets were heard leading the procession.

“When the large procession arrived, to the thud of muffled drums and the long plaintive peal of the trumpets, those persons who constituted the advance body, . .  firemen, beneficial associations, etc., formed in line on either side of the turnpike while the Masons, lawyers and the numerous carriages and guests filed through them.  It was a scene of solemn and yet imposing interest, the music stirring the foliage and silencing the birds among the trees . . . until at last the hearse moving among them all, brought the President of the United States to his last palace, where he shall be laid away . . .”

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James Buchanan’s monument is not the original one that was created per his specifications in 1868.  It was replaced in 1960 and the  replaclement closely resembles the original.  This was a man truly respected and beloved by his community and it appears, all that knew him.  The fact that he is rated as “Worst President” this country has ever seen, seems hard to believe when you see names of those that attended his funeral, and read tributes that were printed on the ocassion of his death.

Rest in Peace, 15th President.  You were loved.


  • Sally Smith Cahalan, At Home With James Buchanan; Science Press, Ephrata, Pennsylvania, 1989, pages 98, 101, 102.
  • H.G. Smith and Co., The Lancaster Intelligencer; June 10, 1868, published Lancaster, Pennsylvania, page 1.
  • George Ticknor  Curtis, Life of James Buchanan: Fifteenth President of the United States; Harper & brothers, New York,1883, page 686.
  • Philip Roth, Masonry in the Formation of Our Government, 1761-1799; Kessinger Publishing, Montana, 1995, page 130.
  • Photographs personal property of author
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Klopps Cemetery, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania

Klopps Cemetery, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania

This cemetery has to have some of the most beautiful monuments and headstones that I have ever seen!  This one caught my eye from the car and I practically ran to see it!  It is probably one of the most beautifully carved ones I have ever seen.  Check out the folds in the girl’s skirt and in those ferns!  If you are ever in the area, I would highly recommend a visit to this very old and unique cemetery.  

It was about 20 degrees and I walked this entire cemetery, freezing, but could not pull myself away to get into the warm car!  I must go back in the springtime and really enjoy the beauty here.  Expect to see more pictures from this cemetery on my blog.

Linda’s headstone of the week; week #19

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Since today is Presidents’ Day, I decided to take this opportunity to do a blog on Lancaster, Pennsylvania’s own President.  This will be the first in a series of blogs on the subject of James Buchanan, his death, his funeral, his burial and his gravesite.  I will try to post the first blog this week and the blog on his burial and gravesite next week ~ we’ll see if I succeed.  This blog will cover his death, viewing and funeral services at his home, Wheatland.

James Buchanan, 15th President of the United States

James Buchanan, 15th President of the United States

 

James Buchanan, the 15th President of the United States, was the only President elected from Pennsylvania and the only Bachelor President.  He had one love in his life, and after Ann Coleman’s death, he never married.  That is another story.  During his time in the White House, his niece Harriet Lane was considered the Hostess and/or First Lady at formal affairs.  Buchanan was succeeded by Abraham Lincoln who became one of the better Presidents; Buchanan is considered to be at the bottom of the list by many historians.  Lancaster, however, is proud of him.  He had his home here and was active in many circles here, both before and after his Presidency.  

An article in the “Lancaster Intelligencer” on 10 June 1868 tells of a visit by his attorney, H.B.  Swarr, esq. to Buchanan’s “sick chamber” shortly before his death.  According to Swarr’s account:

“. . . He admonished that his earthly life was drawing near its end and that he had requested my presence with the view of communicating to me as a friend, and as one of his Executors, in a few matters relative to his funeral.  He directed his remains to be placed in the lots he had purchased for that purpose in the “Woodward Hill Cemetery’ without any pomp or parade and that the religious services of the occasion should be performed by his friend and neighbor, the Rev. John W, Nevin.”

When Swarr asked him if the Masonic and other Societies wanted to participate, could they do so? Buchanan replied:

“Certainly, if it is their pleasure, and they are not moved to it by solicitation.  I have a high regard for the Masonic Order, although for years not a working member, and the Mayor and Councils of Lancaster, have, in my lifetime, manifested kindly regards for me.”

He also requested his lots at Woodward Hill be “placed in good order”  and wanted a “simple, but substantial oblong tomb,  erected, the cap-stone to be the finest and most durable marble. . .”  The inscription to read:

HERE REST THE REMAINS OF
JAMES BUCHANAN
15th President of the United States.
Born in Franklin county, Pennsylvania, April 23d, 1791
Died at his residence at Wheatland, Lan
caster County, Pennsylvania,
on —-.

and then said “with the day of death, now so near.”

The same article went on to say that during the conversation he said:

My dear friend, I have no fear of the future.  Posterity will do me justice.  I have always felt, and still feel lthat I discharged every public duty imposed upon me conscientiously, I have no regret for any public act of my life, and history will vindicate my memory from every unjust aspersion.”

At his side during his last days, were family and close friends. His brother, Rev. Buchanan and nieces, Henrietta Buchanan (daughter of Rev. Buchanan) and Harriet Lane Johnston, along with Dr. Nevin who was chosen to preach at his funeral. According to a letter written by his niece Henrietta:

“His last hours were free from pain and his mind clear when he died . . . His affairs were all arranged with exactness, so as to cause as little confusion as possible after his death. He chose the exact spot for his final resting place, saying, either expressing a desire or as predicting a fact, that he would lie alone. Having carefully arrange all of his plans, he waited with faith and hope, for the final change which would open to him the real and satisfying life. When the dreaded messenger came, those that loved him knew that rest had come to him at last, and that ‘his faith had changed to glad fruition.'”

James Buchanan was 77 years old on June 1, 1868 when he died from Rheumatic Gout at his beloved “Wheatland”  in Lancaster.  After his death, his home, Wheatland, was the venue for the viewing of his body and the start of the “Funeral Parade.”  His viewing was in a hall in the residence with the coffin

. . . a metallic case, finished to represent rosewood with silver mountings, lined with white satin and adorned with lace and bullion trimmings, and in place of ordinary handles, a silver rod extended along the upper edge, and by this it was carried.”

 

The funeral services began at 4PM at Wheatland, with Rev. Dr. J.W. Nevin, President of Franklin and Marshall College.  It was Buchanan’s request that Rev. Nevin perform the religious services.  Rev. Nevin took his place at the head of the coffin and began the service with the German Reformed services, which was followed by the 9th Psalm and an “appropriate prayer.”    The newspaper goes on to say:

“After concluding the initial services, Dr. Nevin delivered a lengthy but very thoughtful and impressive funeral discourse.”


Part One, Death, Funeral and Burial of James Buchanan, 15th President 

 

  • Sally Smith Cahalan, At Home with James Buchanan; Science Press, Ephrata, Pennsylvania, 1989, pages 19, 20, 21 and 50.
  • H.G. Smith and Co., The Lancaster Intelligencer; June 10, 1868, published Lancaster, Pennsylvania, page 1.
  • “Mr. Swarr’s Interview,” The Lancaster Intelligencer, 10 June 1868, page 3.
  • George Ticknor Curtis, Life of James Buchanan: Fifteenth President of the United States; Harper & brothers, 1883, pages 664 and 665.


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Headstone of Percy Augustus Pellowe

Headstone of Percy Augustus Pellowe

I have chosen this as my headstone of the week because I have absolutely no idea who he is!  I believe he is buried in England because of the inscription which reads:

IN LOVING MEMORY OF

My Dearly Beloved Husband

PERCY AUGUSTUS PELLOWE

Late (undecipherable) of H.M.S. Goliath

who passed away 17 Sept 1915

aged 36 years

Eternal Father Strong to Save

Whose Arm Dost Bind the Restless Wave

R.I.P.

This picuture was in a box of pictures saved by my great-grandfather.  Along with it were about 30 other pictures of the Pellowe family.  I have absolutely no idea who they are or where why he had them.  

I have tried to find Percy Augustus Pellowe and come up with just one entry on the 1881 census when he was age one, living in the household of Nicholas Pellowe in The Civil Parish of Falmouth, Penryn, Cornwall ~ and I find no Pellowe connected with the Ship HMS Goliath , which was sunk in May of 1915, 4 months before Percy died!  

I am posting this in the hope somebody will recognize the name and let me know who they are or how they connect to the Niess family in Washington DC!

Linda’s Headstone of the week; Week #18

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Lititz, Pennsylvania is a small, historical town north of Lancaster.  It’s history is rooted in the Lancaster as a town founded, settled and exclusively a Moravian town.  To live in Lititz you had to belong to the Moravian Church up until the mid 1800’s.   Visits to the quaint shops, spring fed park and historical attractions provide  both tourists and residents alike with an experience unmatched anywhere in Lancaster County.

The Ice Monument

The Ice Monument

This weekend was not an exception.  The “Fire and Ice” display of carved Ice Sculptures brought hundreds to town on Friday and Saturday.  Ice Sculptures lined the sidewalks. Each sculpture was sponsored by a different merchant and/or organization. This one was sponsored by Weaver Memorials and was beginning to melt on Saturday evening, which is why I named it

the monument that isn’t!

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I live in Lancaster County, but I cross the Susquehanna River occasionally to visit ancestors in York County.  I start in York City, work my way west to Chambersburg, up to Shippensburg and continue in a circle back across the river into Harrisburg and wind my way home either down thru the river towns or a little inland.  It doesn’t matter; I have people buried all over this area!

About a year and a half ago on one of our autumn rides, we stopped by Prospect Hill Cemetery in the City of York to visit kin.  The most awesome sight greeted us and overwhelmed us.  It was a clear day with beautiful blue skies, just the right backdrop for literally thousands of red, white and blue American flags planted on the hillside at the entrance of the Cemetery.

 

Prospect Hill Cemetery, York, Pennsylvania

Prospect Hill Cemetery, York, Pennsylvania

There were so many flags, you simply could not get them into one picture, unless you had a wide angle lens, which my cheap (cheap in comparison with some of the big boys!) little digital camera doesn’t!  I had to take three different pictures to cover the scope of the display.  What you see above is the center of the display with the Cemetery Office at the top of the hill.

 

Prospect Hill Cemetery, York, Pennsylvania

Prospect Hill Cemetery, York, Pennsylvania

The above photo is looking to the left, the bottom, looking to the right.

 

Prospect Hill Cemetery, York, Pennsylvania

Prospect Hill Cemetery, York, Pennsylvania

Now, according to their website, there are over 5,000 flags, representing deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan.  They are taken down in the fall and replaced in the spring.  I stopped in the office while I was there and the woman who recorded the deaths told me each time she received a new name it brought tears to her eyes.  

If you are ever in the mid-state Pennsylvania area in spring, summer or fall, make it a point to stop by this cemetery.  You will be overwhelmed.  I was.

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johnbrown1

This headstone reads:
IN MEMORY
OF
JOHN BROWN
SERGEANT COMP. C 184TH PA VOLUNTEERS
MAY 12 1864
SON OF JOHN AND CATHERINE BROWN
—–
HE GAVE HIS LIFE FOR HIS COUNTRY
HIS GRAVE IS UNKNOWN
HIS RECORD IS WITH GOD

 

This week’s “Headstone of the Week” is in the St. John’s Lutheran Cemetery in Maytown, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.  The simplicity of this marker struck me in a cemetery full of carved headstones and beautiful markers.  

Linda’s Headstone of the Week; Week #17

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