Archive for July, 2010

It happens every summer.  Kids out of school, out late at night.  They travel in packs and somebody decides it will be fun to deface a cemetery.  Sometimes they spray paint headstones and mausoleums, other times they simply push over headstones. The worse thing they can do is break and destroy headstones, and that’s what happened to the old Kreider’s Church Cemetery just outside of Manheim, Pennsylvania this weekend.The history of Kreider’s goes back to 1859, being part of the White Oak District of the Dunker Faith.  Today it is part of the Church of the Brethren.  According to an article in the Lancaster paper, the cemetery is probably older than the Meeting House building.  Kreiders (or Kreiters as it was sometimes referred to) was one of four Dunkard Churches in Penn Township, Graybills, Gibbles and Longnecker’s being the other three.    It was built “near Cornelius Kreider’s” and is no longer used as a Church, but is used several times a year for special events.  Just a little background of this historic little Meetinghouse.

Why am I doing a blog on this when I live close to several cemeteries that are vandalized on a regular basis?  Woodward Hill where James Buchanan is buried is perhaps the worse, followed by Lancaster Cemetery, a beautiful, old, historic spot in the center of the city.  Why?  Because I have an ancestor buried there and with her, my history.  Because of her, I am.When we first located Elizabeth Niess’ grave it was laying face down next to her daughter, Mary Ann’s grave.  We uprighted it and leaned it against her daughter’s stone.  We’d visit both of the ladies since their stones leaned against each other.

One day we went to visit our ladies and discovered the Church had cemented Elizabeth’s stone back on her own base. Elizabeth was back where she belonged! She was home again and we were tickled. Now we could still visit each lady, but spend time with them one at a time. . .  That is until today.

Sunday morning as I opened the paper I saw the article about vandalism of Kreider’s Church Cemetery, the same cemetery where Elizabeth Niess is buried. I had to get out there and see if her headstone was involved in the destruction.
When we got there, not only was Elizabeth’s stone flat on the ground, so was Mary Ann’s.  They were fortunate, though since others were smashed and broken.  There were over 90 stones pushed off bases, broken or otherwise vandalized.  Entire rows were pushed over and then rows were skipped.  Large stones that would appear impossible to move must have had a crew involved in pushing them over!  One of the first Elders of the White Oak Congregation had a very large stone pushed over onto an older stone, breaking it in several pieces. This very large headstone is relatively new and must have been installed with considerable expense on the part of either the congregation or descendants of Elder Garlach.It’s a senseless act, destroying something sacred and meaningful to another person. The stone that Garlach’s large one broke was obviously in place for a number of years.  It had outlasted many people’s lifes, and it took just one thoughtless act to destroy it.  Sad, isn’t it?This is the worst one I saw.  They really had to work to to break this off of it’s base.  One person could not have done this alone. Do you ever wonder if the perpetrator(s) ever mature enough to regret their actions?  I always wonder . . .

While I was there at least 3 to 4 cars pulled up with people looking for the headstones of their loved ones, grandmother’s, aunts, etc.  I’m sure they kept coming all day long.

~after all 90 stones for 90 people create a lot of descendants!


  • A. Hunter Rineer, Jr., Churches and Cemeteries of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, A Complete Guide; Lancaster County Historical Society, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, 1993, pages 345, 346.
  • Franklin Ellis, Samuel Evans, History of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, with Biographical Sketches of Many of the Pioneers and Prominent Men.; Everts & Peck, 1883, pages 342, 1004.
  • Photos, personal collection of author

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I am cleaning out, organizing and going thru boxes of many things I’ve collected over the years. Auctions have always been a favorite pastime and I love buying boxes full of paper ~ things people save and their kids put to auction when they inherit them.
I am going thru just such a box and whomever had it saved old newspapers. Entire copies of old newspapers, some dating back to 1915. I love going through the and reading accounts of local doings.
In going thru the issue of Monday January 13 1919, I came across the following and thought it might be of interest and help to somebody.

Page 9, column 4:
East Petersburg Mennonite Cemeter Burial Record.

The following are the burials which took place at the East Petersburg Mennonite Cemetery during the year 1918, recorded by A.L. Hershey, from January 1 to April 1, and by Harry Hostetter from April 1 to January 1, 1919:

  • January 9 – Alice R. Vogel, of Fruitville, aged 28 years, 5 months and 21 days.
  • February 2 – Annie M. Hess, of Oreville, aged 73 years, 7 months and 26 days.
  • February 11-Benjamin H. Kreider, of Mountville, aged 50 years, 3 months and 9 days.
  • February 17-Fianna Baseler, of East Petersburg, aged 82 years, 4 months and 28 days.
  • March 2- Elizabeth Hottenstein Diffenderer, of Cincinnati, Ohio, aged 45 years, 1 month and 27 days.
  • March 6-Mary S. Koser, of Sporting Hill, aged 69 years, 5 months and 3 days.
  • March 14-Aldus H. Kauffman, of near Neffsville, aged 9 months and 8 days.
  • March 28-Samuel Swarr, of Kissel Hill, aged sixty-seven years.
  • April 26-Barbara Ellen Knight, of near East Petersburg, aged 65 years.
  • May 17-Scott A. Kiehl, of Lancaster, aged two weeks.
  • June 28-Martha M. Hershey, of East Petersburg, aged fifty years.
  • July 5-Peter S. Grabill, of near East Petersburg, aged 58 years.
  • July 18-Amanda Miller, of East Petersburg, aged 72 years.
  • August 17-Henry M. Landis, of near Lititz, aged seventy-eight years.
  • September 14-Mary Leakway, of Bamford, aged 5 months
  • October 4-Helen Virginia Breneman, of Lancaster Junction, one year, two months and six days.
  • October 13-Susanna Snavely, of Fairland, 65 years, 2 months and 7 days.
  • October 14-Elsie C. Swarr, of East Petersburg, aged twenty-nine years.
  • October 17-Ralph H. Gochnauer, of East Petersburg, aged 35 years, 11 months and 15 days.
  • October 17-Elizabeth E. Lang, of Harrisburg, aged 54 years.
  • October 19-Leslie H. Fulmer, of East Petersburg, aged 18 years.
  • October 22-Barbara Hershey, of near Neffsville, aged 21 years.
  • October 23-Daniel M. Eitnier, of Columbia aged 24 years.
  • December 4-John Decker, of Neffsville, stillborn child.
  • December 17-Lizzie Dussiger, of near East Petersburg, aged 53 years, 7 months and 29 days.
  • December 23-Carrie Long, of near Landisville, aged 30 years.

I found it interesting that they spelled the age in some instances, but in most of the entries, they were numerals.

Hopefully this will be of help to somebody!

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