Restored Schlott stones at Canadochly
Volunteers are restoring historic Canadochly cemetery in eastern York County
A friend told me about a recent article by Lower Windsor Township resident Gene Schenck in the Columbia/Hellam/Wrightsville Merchandiser. It detailed how four local men, Jim Anspach of Columbia, Gene Smeltzer of Lower Windsor Township, Bill Dehoff of Windsor and Bruce Herbst of East Prospect have been working for some time resetting fallen and broken stones in the oldest part of Canadochly Cemetery, the part just east of Canadochly Road along the East Prospect Road.
The four men are current members of Canadochly Lutheran Church, whose present building is nearby. Canadochly, like almost all the York County churches formed in the 18th century started out as a Union church shared by both German Reformed and Lutheran congregations. The Canadochly congregations were granted land by the Penn family in 1753, meeting in a school house until the first church was built of log in 1763. They continued as a Union church until 1907, when the Reformed congregation built a new building.
I immediately found the article “Four Good Men With Shovels” online. I was very excited since I have many ancestors at Canadochly, and the article mentioned that the restorers had started with the older stones near the East Prospect Road. I knew that one of my Revolutionary War ancestors, Johan Adam Schlott (later Sloat) is buried in that area and that his stone had been leaning precariously. I visited the cemetery the day after the read the article, and was ecstatic to see that the gravestone of Adam Schlott was now standing tall, as was the adjoining stone of his wife, Catharina (Holder) Schlott.
As I strolled around, taking photos of many old stones, I saw that these four men and their shovels have made progress, but they still have more work cut out for them. Some of the remaining stones are broken, and many are only partially legible after centuries of weathering. (Fortunately, the York County History Center cemetery survey from the 1930s can be of help matching a partially legible stone with the inscription copied nearly 100 years ago.)
By now there are thousands of us descended from these early settlers; we all owe a debt of gratitude to these four men and other volunteers that have taken on similar projects in other old burial grounds. Whether they are our particular ancestors or not, all of these people who have gone before us have shaped our history, so it is really gratifying when present day citizens honor their memory by restoring and maintaining their resting places. Thank you!