Your Final Resting Place Might Not Be Final
Over the years quite a few cemeteries in York County have been built over, paved over or plowed over. Sometimes the inhabitants have been moved to another cemetery, sometimes not. There have been various laws passed over the years in Pennsylvania regarding burial grounds, but, unfortunately, in my opinion, if the owner of the land wants to remove the cemetery and goes through the proper legal channels it could still be approved by the court.
Click here for a link to the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission page on cemetery laws.
While looking through the Erb family file at the York County Heritage Trust I came across an inquiry from an Erb from another area wondering what had happened to an Erb Burial Ground in Springettsbury Township.
The writer quoted a newspaper clipping that he had been sent about the Daughters of our Lady of Mercy petitioning the court to remove the remains buried at the Erb Burial Grounds so that they could build a convalescent home.
The petition listed 44 names of persons buried there. That information was probably gleaned from the cemetery census done by the Historical Society of York County in the 1930s, which also lists 44 names for the Erb Burial Ground. There could have been more people than that buried there, because the list shows burials as early as the 1840s. If all the graves were not well marked with tombstones that were still readable in the 1930s, they could not have been included in the historical society record.
The plot in question is described as being bound by Russell Street, Washington Road, and the Susquehanna Expressway [Route 83]. That pretty much depicts the site of Misericordia Convalescent Home today.
I asked Lila Fourhman-Shaull, Director of Library and Archives at York County Heritage Trust, who has been researching York County cemeteries for years, if her records show where the Erbs and others interred there, including those with the last names of Emig, Wightman, Horn, Kendig, Landis, Langram, Landes, Morrison, Camaway, Gable and Wise, got to. She has them now a few miles away at Mount Rose Cemetery, buried in a common grave or two with a marker listing all the names. It is not known what happened to the original tombstones, which I also think is a shame.
Click here for a post on an earlier cemetery removal.