Posts Tagged ‘Lancaster Pennsylvania’

Yes, we did. We visited three different United States Presidents’ Grave sites for Christmas, 2011!  First stop was to our 16th President, James Buchanan’s grave in Woodward Hill Cemetery, right here in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
Woodward Hill was once a beautiful cemetery, but as the city grew, the area it is in became surrounded by “less than desirable” housing and the cemetery fell into disrepair. We were disappointed that there wasn’t even a Christmas Wreath honoring this former President. His home is decorated beautifully, his final resting place isn’t. (To be fair, James Buchanan’s home is maintained by a completely different organization than the cemetery is, and they aren’t responsible for what happens in the cemetery!)The second President we visited was our 27th President, William Howard Taft. He was so admired by Theodore Roosevelt that he had been “hand picked” to be his successor as President, and it’s easy to see why since he wasn’t only our President, but he was also, United States Secretary of War, Governor of the Philippines and Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court.

. . . and of course if you’re visiting Presidents and you’re visiting Arlington National Cemetery, you must visit the Eternal Flame and JFK’s Memorial. Since we had not been there for years, we stopped by to pay our respect to our 35th President and his family.This was probably one of the most popular sites in the cemetery, with people ignoring “Authorized Vehicles Only” signs to drive right to it. They also ignored this sign, and any others they could find.The site for this President sits right under the Arlington House, former residence of Robert E. Lee. The Kennedy site sits land managed by the Army, which at the time of Kennedy’s death, controlled Arlington Cemetery and close to the land the Arlington House sits on, which was controlled by the National Park Service.
This was just part of our Christmas journey to Washington D.C., but a part that will be forever etched in our hearts and mind.

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This is the next to last chapter in the Honoring of Cpl. Ben F. McEvoy.  The dedication ceremony honoring him will be held on Monday, at his supposed gravesite . . . and Marianne, Jim and I have been invited along with his family and members of his Pennsylvania State Trooper family.

A week ago, Jim and I went to the cemetery to verify some information on another project I am working on, and I spotted this!  The cement slab was in place for the grave marker for Cpl. McEvoy!  I cannot believe I did not have my camera with me, but thank goodness, I had my cell phone!

MMS_Resized_PixI went back today with my camera, and it was a good thing I took the picture last week, because the scene had changed.  Everything is in place for the unveiling ceremony next week.  Well, almost everything.  Jim will clean off Cpl. McEvoy’s uncle’s headstone directly behind the “Kiehl” Monument.  See it?  It is covered with grass clippings from many mowings in the past.


We’ll be there Sunday to clean off that headstone and we’ll be there Monday!

. . . there is no way we’d miss that!

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BORN OCT. 25, 1852


DIED JULY 23, 1870

Emma Cornelia’s earthly remains were entombed at Woodward Hill Cemetery one short month after her marriage to B. Frank Saylor, a photographer in Lancaster.   Emma’s father was Rev. Dr. Emanual Greenwald, Pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Lancaster from 1867 until his death in 1885.  He probably performed both the marriage and burial of his daughter.  I find it strange that the stone has his name as “Greenwold” yet every other record shows him as “Greenwald.

Linda’s headstone of the week; Week #45

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My headstone of the week for this week can be found in Lancaster Cemetery directly behind (or in front of, depending on where you are standing!) the monument of John F. Reynolds, the Civil War General who was killed on the first day of the Gettysburg battle.

This headstone reads:

AGE 76 YRS, 10 MOS, 24 DS

Jonathan Foltz was the father of Jonathan Foltz, the Surgeon General of the United States Navy.  According to an article in the NY Times on 12 November 1880*:

“It is of a particular color of stone, representing the trunk of an immense oak, and is so natural in color and design as to deceive persons at first glance into the belief  that it is really the stump of a tree.  Here father and son ~ the one honored and loved in the narrow circle in which he moved, the other distinguished in his country’s service ~ lie side by side.”

The article is right.  I did think it was a tree stump from a distance.  It is massive,  beautiful and stood the test of time.  It is the reason why it is

Linda’s Headstone of the Week; Week #42

*NY Times, Gleanings from the Mails, Lancaster’s Dead.  The Graves of Buchanan, Stevens, Reynolds, and Foltz., published Nov. 12, 1880,  <http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archivefree/&gt;

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My headstone of the week is NOT one of my favorites, rather one that just absolutely disgusts me.  It is my headstone of the week only because I think it should be brought to the attention of anybody interested in cemeteries and especially interested in Woodward Hill Cemetery in the city of Lancaster, Pennsylvania!

HOTWThis spot can be found on the perimeter of the cemetery where it borders Chesapeake Street.  This headstone has been pushed over and is being used as either a table or a bench, I really don’t know since I’ve never seen it in use.  However! I know it is used for illegal activities since those little white things scattered around are packages for syringes.  See the picture below of the one I’ve zoomed in on.

HSOTW39This is an area that is in a secluded, tree covered spot.  It could be a serene burial spot, and probably was at one time.  I cannot read this headstone, since I am just one person and cannot turn this over.  To reach it you must access it through this canopy of trees.  Notice all the other headstones that are knocked over and are otherwise desecrated.

HOTW39One day while reading and recording headstones I saw three young men coming out of that area seemingly rapping a tune or whatever it is they do.  Groundskeepers kept on mowing as if it were nothing unusual.  I have spoken to the City Police and was told it was virtually impossible to catch anybody since they see the cars come and they run through the trees.  I can understand that since I know the landscape there.  There must be some solution, but I just don’t know what it is!

This is a real shame and disgrace and the reason it is

Linda’s Headstone of the Week; Week #39!

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Today was “Victorian Day” in the Lancaster Cemetery.  It is their annual fund raiser, with walking tours, Civil War re-enactors, Ladies of the Patriot Daughters of Lancaster and even “meeting” Mayor Sanderson who served the city from 1859 – 1869. 


 Our tour guide knew the Cemetery intimately.  His father had been the caretaker and he spent his childhood playing among the headstones.  We learned the first burial was on June 1, 1848 and was a child, Alice Louisa. In the picture above, Mr. Smoker is telling us about Second Lieut. Cornelius Van Camp who was shot through the heart with an arrow while leading a charge near Wichita in October of 1858.

drummerboyOne of our first stops was at the gravesite of George Brientnall, “the Drummer Boy of Shiloh.”  While at the gravesite, we were read the poem about “The Drummer Boy of Shiloh” by our Tour Guide and then continued on to the gravesite of the first Revolutionary War patriot buried here.

RevWarVetMichael Kline (4 Aug 1744 – 21 Aug 1828) and five other members of his family are buried in this site.  He was a Revolutionary War veteran.


We learned the story of Elliot Eskridge Lane’s death.  Elliot was a nephew of President James Buchanan and had been the victim of food poisoning at the Inauguration dinner for his uncle.  He died days later! 

LongWe stopped and paid homage to the Longs.  Henry G. Long and his wife Catharine, donated the land that Long’s Park sits on today.  It is a large, beautiful park and utilized year around by various organizations and families.  Events are held there on an almost weekly basis!

KanekoI had often wondered why George Kinzo Kaneko was buried in the same area as Franklin and Marshall College dignitaries.  Today we found out why.  He was a student from Japan when he met his untimely death here.  Japan, as a gesture for the kindness shown to Mr. Kaneko, sent Ginko trees to both Lancaster Cemetery and to Franklin and Marshall College.  The College ended up giving the trees to the Cemetery and today they are scattered throughout the cemetery.  They are beautiful.

ladyWe walked to and stopped at one of the most beautiful sites in the cemetery.  Rumor has it that she has been seen walking in the cemetery.  Our guide assured us that in all his years at this cemetery, he has never seen her walk!  He did explain what the pillar next to her symbolized.  It appears to be broken and it symbolizes a life cut short.  If you will notice, Elliot Lane, above, has the same pillar for his headstone.


. . . and finally we got to meet Mayor Sanderson.  He told us about his various business ventures and how he became Mayor of our fair city.  If we were warm on this 85 degree day, I can only imagine how warm he must have been in his suit and top hat!


Esther Parker was James Buchanan’s housekeeper and is also buried in this cemetery.  No tour would be complete without seeing her headstone, as she was an integral part of the Buchanan’s househould.  

The $5 we each spent for our tour was well worth it!  We learned a lot about the “residents” in this piece of ground and would definitely recommend this to anybody next year.  

We’ll go the 8th Annual Victorian Days at Lancaster Cemetery in 2010, will you?


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On April 18th I posted a blog, 500 by Memorial Day, with my challenge to myself. I was going to photograph and post 500 memorials and pictures from headstones at Woodward Hill Cemetery to Find a Grave by Memorial Day.  Did I succeed?  

Yes I did!!!

I posted 605 memorials and a total of 850 pictures to Find-A-Grave since April 20th, the day I wrote down the count!  Since I can’t find the count I began with on April 18th, I’m using the April 20th date and I accomplished my goal plus!  I’m not stopping now I’m on a roll!

This is not only helping Find-a-Grave, but it is helping Lancaster’s Historical Society as well, because I’ve taken one extra step.  As I post the headstone, I compare the information on it against the database at the Historical Society to make sure everything agrees.  When it does not, the database is changed to reflect the correction. This is a time consuming task, but in the long run everybody benefits.

Now I’m challenging YOU! What are you doing towards preserving our past for the future generations??

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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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I’m sorry, but these remind me of Flying Saucers!   I found these in my “Cemetery of the Hour,” Woodward Hill in Lancaster.  I’ve been concentrating on this cemetery recently and have found some very interesting things ~ these among them!

The Peiper family all seem to like the Flying Saucer Shape.  On the top of each of these saucers are their names and dates.  The smallest one is unreadable.  I have highlighted the one on the left since it is the easiest to read.  
PeiperElizForry The saucer, oops grave marker, reads:

Elizabeth A. Forry Peiper
Born May 2, 1836
Died October 24, 1914.

Linda’s Headstone of the Week; Week #29

(The Flying Saucers!)

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My headstone this week is not just one headstone, but a graveyard for headstones, of sorts!

As many of you know, I’ve been spending time photographing and recording all data from headstones that are readable and accessible in Woodward Hill Cemetery in the city of Lancaster.  It is in deplorable condition ~ except for the area immediately surrounding our 16th President, James Buchanan’s grave, and that is beautiful!


The above picture was taken last Saturday on our visit there to photograph another 100 or so headstones.  We were dirty, dusty and grimy after cleaning dirt and debris off of headstones at the bottom of the hill.  We pulled weeds and moved potato chip bags and empty cans just to read headstones.  Then we came across this!  


At the edge of the cemetery, overlooking Cheaspeake Street, is this little secret.  Soon it will be covered by growth and nobody will see it until the winter when the green dies away and all of those headstones are once again exposed!  It appears that they were all pushed over the side of the hill, doesn’t it?  Where are the caskets?  Why are they all in a pile?  And the Becks ~ are they actually buried there, or is their headstone pushed there, too?  Who is responsible for this?  Is this perpetual care?

Anybody looking for their ancestor’s missing headstone?  Might try climbing down this hill ~ it’s right at the edge of section F.

Linda’s Headstones of the Week; Week #28

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