Posts Tagged ‘Auxer’

It’s our tradition. Every year we take a trip or two and visit relatives for Memorial Day. Well, actually we don’t visit live relatives, we visit my ancestors, take them flowers, pull a few weeds and take another picture of their headstones, as though the information changed since the last time we visited. It never changes, the information, that is, but the headstone, that’s another story!

We started on Saturday and drove north to Harrisburg to visit my great-great-grandparents in their home in Harrisburg Cemetery. There was a change in their headstone, but it wasn’t drastic. This was the headstone as I photographed it in 2009.2009

. . . and this is the way it appeared on Saturday, a little worse for the wear, but very readable and looking like it will last for quite a while.


Abraham Auxer, Catharine’s younger brother is another story. The stone was easily readable in 2009, not so Saturday.

On Saturday I was hardpressed to even find the stone, and when I did and cleared away the debris, I couldn’t remember if it was Abraham’s or his father (my great-great-great-grandfather!) Philip’s headstone.


I’m going to have to go thru a few photos and see if I can find the ones I took in the 1990’s to see what those were like. I know the ones laying flat were covered with debris so they were probably protected.

Perhaps we shouldn’t clean them up every year. What do you do? Clean them or leave them protected by the debris? It would be interesting to know what to do. . . .

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My headstone of the week this week belongs to “The Perfect Son-in Law,” Philip Kleiss Auxer. Philip is one of my 3rd great grandfathers, and one that I have a lot of respect for. Philip Kleiss Auxer was born in Elizabethtown, Lancaster County to Michael Auxer, Jr. and his wife, Catharine Kleiss Auxer on 6 April 1810. He was named after Catharine’s father who had died 10 years previously.  Philip died in Harrisburg, Dauphin County 75 years later on 27 January 1886 and is buried in Harrisburg Cemetery.

It’s the life between the dates that’s important, and Philip was important to a lot of people, mainly his wife, daughters, and mother in law. Mother in law?? Yup! and of course you’re going to find out why!

Before Philip had reached his 7th birthday, his mother was a widow with 5 children under 10 years of age. His father’s friend (and I use the term loosely) Philip Albert, was appointed guardian for the children and before the year had passed he had married his “friend’s” widow.

Michael had few specific wishes in his will. One of them in particular was mentioned in his obituary that appeared in The Church Advocate, a publication of the Church of God.

From Michael Auxer’s Will: Item, it is my will that my beloved wife, Catharine, shall keep my four children in her care, viz: Amelia Auxer, Philip Kleis Auxer, William Auxer and Adam Auxer, and provide for them, until each of them may have received education sufficient for them, and then direct my three sons to such trades as they may choose to learn . . . “

From “The Church Advocate”: . . . Losing his father at an early day, he was placed among strangers where he was trained to a life of honesty and industry. . .”

Philip Albert went on to to sell the various properties left by Michael to his widow to care for her children and it is unknown where the money went. What is known is the fact that the two youngest sons, William and Adam, were schooled as “Poor Children” and the County took the responsibility of paying for their education since their mother was no longer able to.

Philip was established as a wagonmaker by 1840, married with a young family in the Stackstown area of Lancaster County. By 1850 the family had sold their property and moved to Harrisburg with his wife, 2 daughters, a son and a granddaughter. Within 10 years his mother-in-law, Susannah Bischof Leader Kaylor, joined the family.

Susannah had married after the death of her first husband Samuel Leader. The marriage to George Kaylor did not work out and Susannah (the Woman’s Libber of her time!) had a prenup in place and sued George for divorce. Philip was her representative as her “Next Best Friend,” in the divorce, a common practice in 1854. With her monthly alimony and her sole and separate property firmly in place, she joined the Auxer family in Harrisburg. The house on Boas Street was full.

In 1873 the couples only son, Abraham, died and Mary followed him to the grave 4 years later. The two girls had left and taken the grand daughter with them. This left just two people living in that big house on Boas Street, Philip and his mother-in law, Susannah . . .Susannah who would live to the ripe old age of 94 years old.   And, just exactly who do you think took care of her in the waning years of her life?

Bingo! her son in law, Philip! This man had to be a candidate for Sainthood! Since I can’t even imagine my husband  in a million years taking care of my mother for 7 years after I leave this earth, I must pick Philip’s headstone in Harrisburg Cemetery as

Linda’s Headstone of the Week for Week #10!

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It’s been a stressful week with real estate doings so I took Thursday off and headed to Woodward Hill Cemetery.  The weather was in the 60’s and a perfect fall day!WoodwardHill TreeThe first thing I noticed was somebody with a weedeater going around the monuments and headstones.  See him at the top of the hill?  Tiny little figure in front of the red tree?  That is something not usually seen there ~ a lone figure working!  Usually there are groups of them, kinda working, talking and not paying attention.  grassThe next thing I noticed was all the grass was cut!  Not just cut in certain areas, but cut throughout the entire Cemetery!  The Cemetery looked clean and groomed with just this one little (or probably BIG) thing!SnyderThe third thing I noticed, and this to me was the most impressive, is that somebody is trying to upright the fallen headstones and place them in the spots they belong in!  The Snyder stones are evidence of this.  I noticed this throughout the Cemetery!  My heart started singing!

I am writing this blog because I have written so many criticizing this Cemetery.  The neglience of the Board and/or staff in maintaining such a historic site in Lancaster has been a thorn in my side.  After all, our 16th President, James Buchanan, is buried there.  Whether you think he was a great President or a mediocre President, he was stilll the President of our Great Nation and his resting place attracts a lot of visitors.

It is time I write a blog praising somebody’s efforts!  Kudos to the responsible party(s)!   I realize you cannot stop vandalism, tipping over headstones and people walking through and throwing their trash as they walk.  This is a fact of life in this particular cemetery.  You can, however, make an effort, such as they are doing, to straighten up the mess.  AuxerMary

The only disappointment of the day, and it was a personal disappointment was Mary Auxer’s headstone.  Remember my blog, “Putting Mary in Her Place,” on our efforts to upright it?  It stayed up for 5 months before temptation got the best of somebody, and it’s tipped over again!  Sad, isn’t it?  I realize the maintenance staff and/or the Board has little control over this sort of thing and it’s going to continue, but never-the-less it is a sad commentary on our society today!

Overall, I was so tickled to see the improvements in Woodward Hill Cemetery!

If I can criticize, I can praise.  I owe Woodward Hill Cemetery this blog!!

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We loaded up our “Cemetery Kit” and headed to Woodward Hill Cemetery this morning.  We were on a mission.  Our mission?  Clean up the Auxer site and look for Dorothy Auxer’s stone that is supposed to be in this site.  Who’s Dorothy Auxer?  That’s what we want to know!


Digging bar in hand, we started stabbing around looking for a buried headstone, hoping to find Dorothy.  We found what we thought was a stone, and Jim started shoveling.  It turned out to be the base of Cecelia Faesig’s headstone.  Making sure that was what it was, we shoveled the dirt off of the one next to it, and sure enough, it was the right size for a base for Frank Faesig’s headstone.

Dig#3Not finding Dorothy’s stone  . . . yet, Jim decided we would replace Mary Auxer’s headstone.  It had been pushed off of it’s base sometime in the last year and when we decided to clean up this site, it included trying to replace the stones in their original place.  Mary’s stone is seen next to the shovel in the above picture, the base next to the head of the shovel and the stone itself behind it.

Mary's Stone #1The above  picture shows Jim “casing out” the job before us.  It was not as easy as it appeared, due to the weight of the stone and the age of the participants in this effort!  All we had to do was upright the stone and set it on the base.  

Mary's Stone #2With the digging bar in hand holding up the headstone, Jim takes a break.  At this point I went looking for some stones and bricks to prop up the headstone as he lifted with the digging bar.

Mary's Stone #3With Mary’s stone sitting on it’s base, the bricks and stones we used to help prop it up are visible in the space it vacated.  As Jim lifted a little more, I stuck another brick under the stone, on top of another brick.  It was a hard job for Linda and a much harder job for Jim!  However at this point our job was almost complete!

Mary's Stone #4With Mary’s stone in it’s rightful place, we have started with our mission!  It’s one step towards straightening up Section E, site 7 at Woodward Hill Cemetery, and I’ll keep blogging about our progress as we continue on our journey.

Mary has been put back in her place.

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My g-g-g-g-grandfather had a brother, John.  I knew a lot about John since he was Justice of the Peace in Marietta, Pennsylvania,Town Treasurer and generally well known.  Census data, City Directory data, newspaper articles abounded.  I did not know when he died or where he was buried.  I had assumed he had died in Marietta . . .  rightfully so.

In the fall of 2005, on a walk through Marietta Cemetery, my husband and I found his wife and two of his children.  Next to them was a headstone, face down in the dirt and once again, we assumed it was John . . . and once again, rightfully so.


Jane’s headstone was broken in half and the top half was leaning against the bottom half.  We went home and my husband got a heavy duty digging bar to lift the headstone and I got a bucket and rags to clean it.  We had our work cut out for us.  The next picture is what the headstone looked like right after it was put back on it’s pedestal.  That’s my shadow and Jim’s arm.


The next picture shows the headstone as it is beginning to dry and how easy it was to read it when the mud was still damp.

. . . . and this shows the headstone before it’s bath. It is now standding tall and waiting to be read by the next person looking for John Auxer!

And then we put Jane’s together so we could take a picture of it. Notice how the headstone has aged in two different ways. The bottom of it must have been covered for quite awhile.

We must go visit the Auxer site again. I think the spring may yield some awesome colors, just as that fall day did back in 2005!

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