Erie County (PA) Genealogy
Harbor Creek Cemeteries - General Info
Written and Contributed by Beth Simmons
The oldest cemetery in the township is an Indian Burial Ground somewhere along Slade Road near the railroad tracks. It is understood that its location has purposely been kept secret. I have been told that this burial ground would rival the one that was discovered in the gravel beach ridge in North East at the State Line intersection.
The earliest marked graves in Harbor Creek Township (1811) are in the Hoag Cemetery, on the west side of Depot Road (Route 531), about ¼ mile north of the intersection of Clark Road with Depot Road. The Boy Scouts have refurbished this cemetery under the auspices of Dennis Cass whose ancestors are buried in the Hoag Cemetery. This burial ground includes the Prindles and the Backus families and many other early "Greenfield" settlers. The present list comes from a very detailed examination done by Dennis Cass which will be posted in the near future.
The Gospel Hill graveyard opened in 1823 because of the deaths of two youngsters "drowning in the creek". The graves of these youngsters have not been located, but were probably black children of the neighborhood. In 1832, Ann Rees, wife of Thomas Rees, the township founder and owner of the piece of property, officially deeded the land for the cemetery to the township along with a piece of ground for the neighborhood school house. The cemetery sits atop of Gospel Hill on the west side of Station Road. Documentation and preservation of the cemetery has been a major project of the Harbor Creek Township Historical Society formed in 1994. The latest official reading was done in 1996, following two early readings, one in the 1920s when the cemetery trustees were reappointed by the county, through the action of Frank Bliley, and the Hutzelman reading done in the 1960s. The burials at Gospel Hill are the Rees and the Bonnells, along with the black laborers who lived around Gospel Hill.
The Wesleyville Methodist Church Cemetery on Center Street was opened behind the original church in 1828 when Wesleyville was still in Harbor Creek township. The Boro of Wesleyville has taken on the commitment to refurbish and restore the cemetery. Most of the Chambers, the Saltsmans, the Shattucks, and other imminent Harbor Creek business owners in the Wesleyville area are buried there.
The Clark cemetery behind Shirley and Carl Andersons on Clark Road was the private graveyard of the Clark family. The earliest burial there was 1843. That cemetery is in sorry condition, but the Andersons have diligently tried to care for it. Shirley Anderson tells about it in her vignette "The Clark Road Settlement," a publication of the Harbor Creek Historical Society.
The old Harbor Creek Presbyterian Church cemetery was on land donated by Judah Colt in 1832 for the original church location. The Harbor Creek Post Office occupies that site now. Before the building of the post office, the pastor of the Presbyterian Church "faced the hardest job of his career", tracing the records of the burials, finding the next of kin, and transplanting the settlers bodies in the South Harbor Creek Methodist yard. At the time of the sale of the property, the graveyard was almost unrecognizable. Few stones remained and most of the sites had sunken over collapsed caskets. A list compiled at the time of relocation will be posted here in the near future.
The South Harbor Creek Methodist Church Cemetery on Davison Road behind the site of the original church is still active today. Many of the Cass family, most of the Walker family, the McGills, families of the South Harbor Creek neighborhood and western Greenfield are buried there. It is in the best condition of any of the cemeteries in the township.
There is an old graveyard along Moorheadville Road, near an old church presently used as a house, north of Dewey Road. I have no records of that cemetery. Most of the eastern residents of the township were buried at Oak Hill in North East or, if they were Catholics, in the St. Gregorys Cemetery along Buffalo Road, just past the Harbor Creek township line.
Two modern cemeteries lie on either side of Hannon Road, just north of Markwood Drive. On one side of the road is the Jewish cemetery, Jacob Cemetery, called the Chesed Shelmas or Ohel Jacob Cemetery. On the other side of the road is the Russian Orthodox, Eaoun Bohoslov sometimes called the St John the Devine or Russian or Bokoslov Cemetery.. The records of these cemeteries have been kept by their respective churches in Erie.
I would be happy to communicate with anyone concerning updated information on any burial locations within Harbor Creek Township (including Wesleyville). Please contact me (Beth Simmons).
[Change History: Page posted 12/5/2001; contact email changed and minor page editing done 10/4/03.]
This page was last updated on Saturday, October 4, 2003 .
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