Posts Tagged ‘Harrisburg Cemetery’

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. . . .

Read Full Post »

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!

Read Full Post »


The Vaugh Stack, as I call it, caught my eye in the Harrisburg Cemetery during my recent visit. The simplicity of it in an area that had crypts, ornate and ostentatious headstones, either made a statement or was especially designed to be unique.

  • The largest stone of the bottom is for Robert Vaugh, who I’m assuming was the head of the family. He was born in 1824 and died 1908.
  • Above his is his wife’s stone. Mary Mastin Vaugh was born in 1827 and died in 1897.
  • The next stone up would be Catharine who I think was born in 1884 (it’s hard to read) and died in 1912, 
  • and the top stone simply lists, John, Maggie and Walt.

Unique? I think so, and that is why it’s. . .

Linda’s Headstone of the Week for Week #32

Read Full Post »

Nothing makes Memorial Day more meaningful than spending it in a cemetery.  And no cemetery is as awesome as Harrisburg Cemetery on Memorial Day . . . in our humble opinion!

We started our 2009 Memorial Day Rounds in Marietta Cemetery paying homage to the my Leader ancestors and headed north to Harrisburg.  We never made it to another cemetery since we spent a good portion of the day in this cemetery, slowly driving (Jim) and photographing (Linda).  We had brought our lunch and even had our picnic in the cemetery!


The Caretaker’s Cottage is the first site that greets you as you enter the Cemetery.  It was the office when we first started visiting the Cemetery, but is now a residence again.  It has unique architectural elements and if you look closely at the eaves you’ll see some of them.

HBGGARI have written about the Civil War Veterans site in another blog, but I still can’t help being impressed with the fact that those who fought each other at one time are now resting together in eternity.  Brothers in death.

BeidlemanThe colors of green and gray  make an awesome backdrop for our American red, white and blue flag.  I love the simplicity of the Beidleman site.

IMG_0200This is perhaps, my favorite picture of the day.  It was peaceful, serene and interrupted only by the chirping of birds and the leaves rustling under my feet.  I turned around and took the next picture, with the same peaceful, serene feel.


The next picture is one that just captured my interest.  The cross must have sat atop the base at one time, but is now prone.  It is beautiful just the way it is, in my opinion and I had to capture it for my collection.


Hidden away on the western edge of Cemetery, I found this quiet, reflective spot.  It once overlooked the city of Harrisburg, but now trees hide the neighboring area from view.  I never knew this site existed until Sunday, and wish my ancestors had done something like this!

BoydIf you look closely at the wall, you’ll see memorials for each member of the Boyd family, daughter and son-in-law’s included.  Each one has their full name, the full name of their parents, dates of birth and death.  Most of them tell where they were born!  How’s that for a complete genealogy?


John Boyd was only 21 and this memorial tells where he was wounded and lists exactly where he was buried at sea.  Each of the memorials have the exact same script and are the same size.  It is a beautiful site (and sight!)

IMG_0239John White Geary, forever memorialized in this bronze statue erected by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  There is a bronze plaque on each side chronicling his achievements in life, First mayor of San Francisco, Governor of Kansas, Governor of Pennsylvania and Lt. Colonel in the Mexican War and promoted to Major General in the Civil War.  This is also hidden away.  

PierceContinuing on our western perimeter route, this bench was at the s/w corner of the cemetery.  According to the inscription:

Underneath are the Everlasting Arms

Edward R. Pierce, 1860-1926

Isabel C. Pierce, 1866-1917

Ralph H. Pierce, 1892-1911


Directly across from the Pierce bench is this crypt for the William Rife family.  I caught a glimpse of some color through the door and had to go over to see what it was.  I was not disappointed!  

IMG_0256The interior is completely marble with the stained glass window being the only color.  There appear to be four burial vaults in this crypt.  It is beautiful and impressive.


The reason we went to the cemetery was to honor Ephraim H. Niess, my great-great-grandfather.  He served in CO. E, 122nd RGT, Pa VOL.  Each year when we go I photograph the flag placed at his grave.  This year he was skipped.  I was so disappointed.  I did let him know we did not forget, however.  I appreciate what each and every one of my ancestors did so I can have the life I have today.  I honor them all!

I have many more pictures, but decided to keep some of them for a later date.  This has always been our favorite cemetery and Sunday just cemented the fact!

Honor a hero in your life for Memorial Day 2009!



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 »