Evangelical Burial Ground at southwest corner of Eastern Boulevard and Stone Ridge Road in Springettsbury Township, York Co., PA. Known burials here between 1830 and 1926. (2019 Google Streetview annotated by S.H. Smith, 2021)
Why a Graveyard is along Eastern Boulevard at Stone Ridge Road
Research into the often-asked question: “Why is a Graveyard along Eastern Boulevard at Stone Ridge Road?” revealed a surprise. It was generally known, that the graveyard accepted burials from churches, which stood directly across Stone Ridge Road. However the burial ground origins go back further; to at least 1830 when a Revolutionary War Veteran established the graveyard as a family burial plot, at that site, on his farm.
A clue, provided during the September 2021 Yorkshire History Walk, directed me to an excellent source about the churches, which stood directly across Stone Ridge Road from the Burial Ground. In 1992, Doris L. Emenheiser compiled and published a history of the “Yorkshire United Methodist Church 1879-1992.”
A Methodist Episcopal Church, dating back to at least 1849, initially stood opposite the Graveyard until it burned to the ground on October 20, 1878. After which the Evangelical Association purchased that church lot on the east side of Stone Ridge Road; where the Stony Brook Evangelical Church was built in 1879. Mahlon Haines approached that congregation in 1925 about moving their church into the Yorkshire development. That move occurring in 1926, after the second church, of that congregation, is built along First Avenue in Yorkshire; with a name change to Yorkshire Evangelical Church.
Inscriptions of 24 Gravestones were recorded November 17, 1932
A 1930s project by the York County Historical Society recorded all gravestone inscriptions in York County. On November 17, 1932, Alice E. Starner and Henry J. Young recorded the inscriptions of all remaining gravestones within the burial ground along Stone Ridge Road. They recorded information from 24 gravestones and named the graveyard: Evangelical Burial Ground, located on Hoke’s farm in Springettsbury Township. However, a deed search shows the church never owned the graveyard.
Today 13 gravestones still stand, with pieces of about 5 gravestones on a pile. For Memorial Day of every year, American Flags are placed next to four of the standing gravestones: one Revolutionary War Veteran, two War of 1812 Veterans and one Civil War Veteran.
A hedge surrounded the burial ground for many years, and up to about 7-years ago a suspected descendant of one of the burials trimmed the hedges and mowed the grass. The following shows that excellent upkeep via a 2013 Google Streetview.
Evidently the person maintaining the burial ground could no longer do it; and apparently could not recruit somebody to take over the task. The hedges grew out of control in a few years and became a line of sight safety hazard for the traffic at that intersection. Springettsbury Township removed the hedges and now trims the grass within the graveyard.
Doris L. Emenheiser’s history of the “Yorkshire United Methodist Church 1879-1992” contained the following photo of the Stony Brook Evangelical Church; which was located directly across Stone Ridge Road from the Burial Ground. The wooden church was built in 1879 and was vacated in 1926.
Doris Emenheiser noted, “One door opened to an aisle which ran down the center of the church. Men and women sat on separate sides of the aisle. A pot-bellied stove supplied heat. Light was provided by a kerosene lamp on the pulpit, a chandelier lamp over the center aisle and two kerosene lamps on the side wall. The benches were wooden.”
The next two 2021 eastward looking photos are annotated, to point out the locations of the 13 gravestones which still stand within the Evangelical Burial Ground. Also pointed out are the names likely associated with pieces of the 5 gravestones on a pile just south of the Norris Holtzinger gravestone.
The first photo focuses on the cluster of gravestones, nearest to Stone Ridge Road, in the eastern section of the graveyard. These 8 still standing gravestones are for:
• Adam Bahn [born Oct. 16, 1817; died Nov. 29, 1888]
• Elmira Hoffaker [born Apr. 12, 1852; died May 12, 1853] & Albert Hoffaker [born Sep. 2, 1850; died Sep. 16, 1850] – both are children of John C. & Susannah Hoffaker
• Sarah Ann Shindler [born Mar. 29, 1824; died Jul. 26, 1860]; the wife of Jonathan Shindler and their infant daughter [who died in 1858]
• Norris O. Holtzinger [born Sep. 3, 1862; died May 5, 1864]; son of Amos H. & Mary Ann Holtzinger
• Hannah Fried [born Dec. 6, 1825; died Mar. 1, 1915]; wife of John Fried
• John Fried [born Jul. 3, 1817; died May 21, 1894] Civil War Veteran; the gravestone is further inscribed: “Erected by Susq and York Boro Turnpike Co. to a Faithful Employee”
The names likely associated with pieces of the 5 gravestones on a pile just south of the Norris Holtzinger gravestone are:
• Elizabeth Fried [born Jan. 2, 1858; died Mar. 28, 1864]; daughter of John & Hannah Fried
• Annie Bahn [born Sep. 16, 1798; died Mar. 8, 1880]; wife of Adam Bahn
• Lydia Ann Caslow [born Dec. 1, 1844; died May 12, 1850]; daughter of Peter & Eliza Ann Caslow
• Ruben Seichrist [born Feb. 13, 1862; died Aug. 20, 1862]; son of William & Eliza Seichrist
• Anna Landis [born Jul. 6, 1757; died Oct. 10, 1837]; wife of Samuel Landis
The next photo focuses on the 5 still standing gravestones scattered around the western section of the graveyard. These 5 still standing gravestones are for:
• Martha Graham [born Oct. 5, 1790; died Jun. 30, 1858]; gravestone resting against that of her husband William Graham
• William Graham [born Nov. 10, 1781; died Apr. 24, 1842]; War of 1812 Veteran
• Sarah Holtzinger [born Mar. 14, 1809; died May 12, 1848]; wife of Jacob Holtzinger
• Not Readable, except for year beginning 179-; War of 1812 Veteran
• Samuel Landis [born Dec. 22, 1754; died Sep. 6, 1833]; Revolutionary War Veteran
The burials in this western section of the graveyard generally occurred before the churches were established on the other side of Stone Ridge Road; i.e. when this burial ground strictly functioned as a family cemetery for the farm owner and neighbors. After the churches, were built, the burials occur closer to Stone Ridge Road; with the graveyard continuing to function as a family cemetery for the farm owner and neighbors; but now also including their neighbor, the church.
There are 6 remaining gravestones, not yet noted; which were recorded by Alice E. Starner and Henry J. Young during November 17, 1932. These gravestones may have fallen at some point in the past and become overgrown by sod. These six gravestones include:
• Adam Baish [born Apr. 17, 1845; died Jun. 4, 1917]
• Sarah Baish [born Jan. 19, 1849; died Mar. 29, 1926]; wife of Adam Baish and daughter of John & Hannah Fried
• Mildred Baish [born & died Nov. 16, 1921; lived 12-hours]; daughter of Grover C. & Mildred Baish
• Infant Fried [no dates given]
• Lavina Green [born Nov. 18, 1853; died Dec. 29, 1857]; daughter of Amos & Sarah Green
• Magdalena Keeney [born Mar. 28, 1804; died May 17, 1830]; wife of Samuel Keeney and believed to be the daughter of Samuel & Anna Landis
The veterans’ markers appear to be switched between Samuel Landis and the neighboring Not Readable gravestone. The following photo shows the Revolutionary War marker; which is presently in back of the Not Readable gravestone.
The following photo shows the present back of the Samuel Landis gravestone; with the incorrect War of 1812 Veterans’ marker.
The following is the York County Veterans’ Grave Registration Record for Samuel Landis; which was created in1936 by Abend. He estimated birth as 1755; a close approximation, since Samuel was actually born Dec. 22, 1754 and died Sept. 6, 1833. Samuel’s service in the Revolutionary War, as Pvt. 3rd Class in Capt. Peter Imswiller’s Company is as recorded in the Pennsylvania Archives, 5th Series, Volume #3, page 573.
The following photo shows the front of the Samuel Landis gravestone. Quoting the inscription: “SACRED to the Memory of SAMUEL LANDIS, he departed this life September 6th 1833, aged 78 years, 8 months, & 15 days.”
Earliest Burials and locating the Samuel Landis Farm
The earliest burials in the graveyard occurred in 1830, 1833 and 1837; which were Magdalena Keeney (believed to be the daughter of Samuel & Anna Landis), Samuel Landis, and Anna Landis, respectively. I wondered if these burials were the origin of a family burial ground on Samuel’s farm.
In a Deed Search for farms owned by Samuel Landis, a match was found in Deed Book 2P, Page 285. On June 8, 1801, Samuel Landis purchases a 59.7-acre farm from Jacob Strickler. One of the Mites & Bounds courses, in the southeast corner of the farm extended 565-feet between two posts on Stone Ridge, with that neighbor listed as David Brubaker. Another course extends 1,650-feet, fronting the Great Road from Lancaster to York Town.
The Mites & Bounds of this farm, per Deed Book 2P, Page 285, place the “Evangelical Burial Ground” burial ground within the Samuel Landis farm. Therefore Revolutionary War Veteran Samuel Landis established the graveyard as a family burial plot, at that site, on his farm.
Click on this LINK for a yorkblog.com Full View of the photos and illustrations in this post.
Links to other posts about small family graveyards in Springettsbury Township:Reading the Headlines: A Quick Index to All YorksPast Posts