More on York’s Prospect Hill Cemetery
Photo courtesy of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The following text is taken from the governmental website and offers a glimpse into the history of this section of the cemetery.
The local Reformed Church of York, Pennsylvania, chartered Prospect Hill Cemetery in 1849. The first burial in the cemetery took place two years later. Soon after, burials in other local cemeteries began to be re-interred in Prospect Hill, including the remains of Phillip Livingston, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Many prominent local citizens have come to rest in Prospect Hill, and today there are more than 90,000 interments in the 327-acre cemetery.
Prospect Hill Soldiers’ Lot is located in section A, lot 689, of the parent cemetery. The exact date of the establishment of the soldiers’ lot is unknown, but records indicate that the first burials occurred as early as 1862, and were most likely soldiers who died at the local hospital. Originally located on the west slope of Prospect Hill, the soldiers’ lot was later moved to a more favorable location on the eastern slope. There are 161 known and two unknown graves in the soldiers’ lot, all without headstones. Alternatively, the names are inscribed on two continuous circular curbs enclosing a central soldiers’ monument, with breaks only for the path.
In the years following the Civil War, the citizens of York commissioned sculptor Martin Milmore to create a monument for the soldiers’ lot. A local firm, Brashears & Son, provided the stone base. Erected in 1874, the 15-foot bronze figure of a soldier honors Union troops who died in the York area. The sculpture stands atop a square granite base surrounded by four cannons.
For more thoughts (and some excellent photos from November 2008) on the historic Prospect Hill Cemetery, please see Antietam park ranger John Hoptak‘s blog entry on the 48th Pennsylvania.
The cemetery’s own website can be found at link. Soldiers’ Circle is one of the early sections of the cemetery. 162 Civil War Veterans are buried in this section. Most of those who are buried in this part of the cemetery died while being hospitalized in the Civil War Hospital established in York in 1862. Soldiers’ Circle is a federally-owned site given to America after the Civil War.
An excellent walking tour guide may be obtained on-line from the York County Heritage Trust’s museum bookstore at link.