Posts Tagged ‘Woodward Hill Cemetery’

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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9:30 AM comes pretty early on any Monday morning, but for some reason it didn’t seem that early on this particular day.  This was the day a lot of people have been anticipating.   This was the day the Cpl McEvoy was finally going to have a stone to mark his final resting place!

Jim and I arrived at Woodward Hill Cemetery about 9:15 and found that people were assembling.  Chairs were set up for the family in front of the gravesite, chairs for the dignitaries next to the gravesite, State Troopers were lining up, Bagpipers were assembling and cameras were being focused by a TV station and the State Trooper Organization.  It was busyness with family greeting one another, State Troopers introducing themselves to the family and final details were being ironed out.  Before we knew it, the ceremony began with the State Troopers marching in from the right.  What an impressive site!IMG_0009
There were two different Honor Guards, one from the Lancaster City Police and the other from the Pennsylvania State Troopers. The one pictured below is from Lancaster.IMG_0013
. . . and the State Trooper’s Department Ceremonial Unit Members which did the Presentation of Colors.IMG_0017After the National Anthem was sung and Invocation was given, Trooper Kelly A. Osborne-Filson (yes, this is Trooper Kelly I’ve referred to in all the posts) read Cpl McEvoy’s biography.  Seated behind Kelly is Chaplain Grover G. DeVault, Pennsylvania State Police Chaplain and Lancaster City Police Chief, Keith Sadler.IMG_0022Captain Brenda M. Bernot, Commanding Officer of Troop J spoke of Cpl McEvoy’s sacrifice and presented the new headstone along with Terry McEvoy, grandson of the deceased McEvoy.   Mr. McEvoy then placed the Memorial Wreath, which was provided by the Pennsylvania State Police Academy Civic Association,  next to the new headstone.  The headstone was donated by Haldy/Keener Memorials, a division of Gingrich Memorials.IMG_0023 Members of Pennsylvania State Police Troop J made up the Firing Detail which fired 3 rounds (see the smoke??) and Trooper Louis P. Gober of Troop M played Taps. IMG_0032The amazing Chester County Emerald Society Pipe Band gave a simply amazing rendition of, what else but, Amazing Grace!  There really is nothing like a bugle playing Taps and a group of bagpies playing Amazing Grace to make goosebumps pop up at a Funeral or a Memorial Service.  This one had both!

Appreciating the music is a granddaughter of Cpl.  McEvoy.

IMG_0045 The service closed with a benediction and closing remarks by Lt. William P. White. He led the Troopers (and anyone else who desired to) in the “Call of Honor,” the Pennsylvania State Trooper’s creed, motto or whatever the term they use for the . . .

Call of Honor

I am a Pennsylvania State Trooper; a soldier of the law.  To me
is entrusted the honor of the force. I must serve honestly, faithfully,
and if need be, lay down my life as others have done before me,
rather than swerve from the of duty  It is my duty to obey the law
and to enforce it without any consideration of class, color, creed,
or condition. It is also my duty to be of service to anyone who may
be in danger or distress, and at all times so conduct myself that the
Honor of the Force may be upheld.

After the service, photo opportunties  were taken advantage of!  The first and most important?  Why it is the family and Kelly around the new stone!  Kelly is the one in the State Trooper uniform (as if you the reader couldn’t figure that one out!)

The girl behind the headstone in the black dress and white sweater is the great-granddaughter of Cpl. McEvoy.  Hallie Romanowski, is wearing her grandmother’s dress (Cpl. McEvoy’s daughter, Martha) and brought Martha’s scrapbook.  That scrapbook was full of wonderful family information.  Martha even kept a copy of the original report of the accident that took McEvoy’s life.

I’d love to put names with the faces, but all I know are Hallie’s, Terry McEvoy on the far left, and his sister, Vicky , in the black, next to Hallie.IMG_0057

A wonderful photo op would be the next photo. Terry McEvoy and the flag that had been presented to him is in the middle behind his grandfather’s new headstone. He is surrounded by the Ceremonial Unit Members. Isn’t this a great photo??IMG_0059

This chapter would not be complete with a picture of Trooper Kelly standing next to the headstone that would not be there today if it were not for her!  Corporal Ben F. McEvoy will now be remembered through the ages, thanks to one Pennsylvania State Trooper who just would not give up!  It was her sheer determination that brought us all together at Woodward Hill Cemetery on that overcast Monday morning in September.IMG_0047

The morning ended with what else but food and socialization at the Troop J, Lancaster Headquarters.  The Pennsylvania State Police really know how to honor their own, and in doing so has shown a family that their ancestor was just as important to others as he was to them!  It was a great morning and a beautiful ceremony.  This was a fitting end to the final chapter in honoring

Cpl. Ben F. McEvoy, Pennsylvania State Trooper.


The blogs dealing with this story from the very beginning can be accessed at the following links:


Thank you for following the story.  It’s been a pleasure being the “storyteller!”

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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 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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Searching for State Trooper Ben F. McEvoy’s headstone has become a mission and I’ve never been one to shy away from a challenge!

On Friday, Trooper Kelly came into the Historical Society and Marianne had a stack of information for her.  We had located the obituaries for his family, including his two children, the newspaper article about his accident and various census records.  We kept looking for various things when she was there and decided we’d go the the cemetery the next day.  Kelly wasn’t able to, but Marianne was game.

On Saturday we went back to the Cemetery, sans Trooper Kelly, to look for that elusive headstone.  Jim had his slim iron bar and he and Marianne probed a foot apart for the entire site.  Three different times we thought we had found something and started shoveling.  They were all false alarms. 


With the second dig we encountered pieces of what appeared to be a broken headstone and a rusty metal hinge of some sort, and at one point we actually dug down about 3 feet, but were afraid to go further because we just weren’t sure exactly what we’d find. . . . .  The picture shows Jim, shovel in hand, Marianne next to the prober and replacing the dirt, making sure the clumps of sod are covering our dig.  We left the site exactly as we found it ~ well, maybe a little better!  The model A is in the background.  

Why go in the Model A?  Well, it is the same era of the one that hit Cpl. McEvoy and Jim thought it would be cool to drive it!  Evidently others thought the same thing, since we got a lot of honks, waves and thumbs up!  

Final results of Saturday’s venture?  Zip!  No flat headstone, nothing that would even suggest another headstone was in the site.  

Back to the drawing board!

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Each year on Memorial Day the Pennsylvania State Troopers place 2 flags on the graves of all their fallen brethren.  For at least the past 20 years, and perhaps longer, one grave has been missed.  The final resting place of Corporal Ben F. McEvoy has never been located.  There was paperwork indicating that they probably knew where it was, but nothing to indicate that they had ever found the exact site.

The story begins in 1923 with the death of Ben F. McEvoy, a Pennsylvania State Trooper who died in the line of duty.  He was the first Trooper who died from a vehicular accident and was from Lancaster.  According to the information in the State Trooper Archives, he had a wife, Mrs. Ben F. McEvoy, and a son, no names, nothing else.

Fast forward to Thursday, 21 May 2009, when the Community Services Officer from the Lancaster Barracks went to the Historical Society to try to find where exactly Cpl. McEvoy is buried.  The biography said Woodward Cemetery, and she rightfully assumed Woodward Hills Cemetery, but where?  It is a HUGE cemetery, after all!  Marianne looked it up on the database, but the Trooper is not listed.  There was another McEvoy, Margaret to be exact, buried in Section N, lot 74, however.  Perhaps Margaret was his wife and he was buried with her.  Armed with the information and a map of the cemetery, Trooper Kelly left.

Friday is my volunteer day and when I arrived, Marianne gave me the information, knowing Woodward Hill Cemetery was my second home.  I told her I’d be delighted to try to find the headstone for Trooper Kelly.

Cemetery kit, map and information in hand, Jim and I took off for the Cemetery on Saturday to see what we could find.  As we entered the cemetery we saw a mother and daughter, flags in hand walking on one of the lanes.  We stopped and I asked if I could help them find something.  She explained she was looking for a site in Section N and couldn’t find the headstone.  I asked for the name and she said “Mc Evoy!”  I had just met Trooper Kelly . . . and she knew that my name was Linda!  The four of us took off on our mission to find Corporal Mc Evoy’s final resting spot.  We walked up and down the area where Margaret Mc Evoy is supposed to be buried.  No Mc Evoy was there or even close.  No headstone for a Mc Evoy is in that cemetery period!!

Disappointed that we did not find a thing, we talked over our options and decided we needed to find out who was buried in the surrounding area.  I knew we also needed an obituary to verify that the burial was in the Woodward Hill Cemetery.  I told Trooper Kelly I would go to the Historical Society and see what I could find, after all, I’ve never been opposed to doing a little research!  


  • I pulled up the database for Woodward Hill Cemetery and Kevin showed me how to organize it by Section Number.  Finding Section “N”, we went down to #74 and saw that it was registered to “Benjamin F. Kiehl” with completely different dates than “Ben F. Mc Evoy” but it had the notation PA State Trooper.  Confusing to say the least.
  • Kevin suggested that I look at marriage license information to see if Mc Evoy married a Kiehl.  I took that film out of the drawer.
  • I wanted to look at the obituary first, since I was sure there would be a good one ~ after all he had died in the line of duty.
  • Bingo!  There was a picture, a long obituary, the names of his family and even their address.  It was a gold mine of information.  
  • I then went to the Classified section where it lists funeral information.  There was the information we were looking for.  Burial in Woodward Hill, mother was MARGARET MC EVOY and funeral would take place from the home of his grandmother, MARY KIEHL.  He was buried in his grandparents plot!  I did not have to look at marriage licenses!




 The found information necessitated a return trip to the cemetery to verify the information.  I drove right to the site, and indeed the monument there was the KIEHL monument.  The only stone there was for Benjamin F. Kiehl, and I’m assuming this is Ben F. McEvoy’s namesake.  Since I had Trooper Kelly’s card, I gave her a call to let her know what I had found.  She was as excited as I was and asked me if I could wait and she would head right over.  I wasn’t going to miss this, so of course, I waited!!  


When they pulled up, I had my paperwork ready and handed it to Trooper Kelly.  She was thrilled to see a picture of this Trooper and explained that the State Trooper Archives didn’t even have a picture of him!  I told her those were her’s for their files and asked if I could take pictures of them placing their flags at the Kiehl monument and do a blog on this . . . 




 CORPORAL BEN F. MC EVOY is honored as one of the State Police’s fallen.

It is our honor, Corporal Ben F. McEvoy, to honor YOU this Memorial Day!  Thank you for your service to the citizens of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania!


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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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