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Erie County (PA) Genealogy

Springfield Cemetery Charter

Contributed by Evelyn Baker

The information below was researched by and provided by Evelyn Baker. Please contact her directly with comments or questions.


Truth Office Publishers, Albion, Pa.


Passed April 5, 1849


Section 1 Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in General Assembly met, and is hereby enacted by authority of the same. That hereafter it shall not be lawful to open any street, land or public road through any burial ground or cemetery within this Commonwealth any laws heretofore passed to the contrary notwithstanding: Provided, that this section shall not extend to the City and County of Philadelphia.

PENAL CODE - 47th Section, passed March 31, 1860

Any person who shall wilfully and maliciously destroy, mutilate, deface, injure or remove any tomb, monument, grave stone, or other ediface, placed in any cemetery or graveyard, appropriated to and used for the interment of human beings in this Commonwealth; or shall wilfully and maliciously injure, destroy or remove any fence, railing, or other work for the protection or ornament of place of interment, or shall wilfully open any tomb, vault, or grave within the same, and clandestinely remove any body or remains therefrom; or maliciously destroy any tree or shrubbery growing in such cemetery or graveyard, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and on conviction of either of said offences, be sentenced to undergo an imprisonment not exceeding 1 year, or to pay a fine not exceeding $100, either or both, at the discretion of the court.


Among the rolls and records of the Court of Common Pleas of Erie County, Pennsylvania, the following appears on file in said Court, to wit :


Filed December 23, 1863

To the Honorable Judges of the Court of Common Pleas of the County of Erie:

The petition of the subscribers, inhabitants of the Township of Springfield, in said county respectfully showeth that your petitioners have associated themselves together in a company for the purpose of purchasing and laying of a certain lot of land in said township for purpose of a cemetery. Your petitioners therefore humbly pray the Court to grant a Charter to said company, with the provisions contained in the Constitution, herewith transmitted. And your petitioners will pray, etc.

Springfield, December 19th, 1863


At a meeting of the citizens of Springfield, held in the Presbyterian Church, December 10, 1863, for the purpose of organizing a company and adopting a constitution for a cemetery to be called The Springfield Cemetery. Wm. HOLLIDAY was chairman, I. NEWTON MILLER was elected Secretary.

After the object of the meeting was stated by the chair, on motion, Wm. HOLLIDAY, Wm. CROSS, and HENRY TELLER were appointed a committee to purchase land for a cemetery. On motion, proceed to elect officers, WILLIAM HOLLIDAY was elected President; I. NEWTON MILLER, Secretary; T. WEBSTER, Treasurer; and William CROSS, HENRY TELLER, SAMUEL HOLLIDAY, SAMUEL BRINDLE, and JOSEPH STRONG, Managers.

On motion Resolved: That the officers shall hold office one year from the 2cnd Monday in January, 1864.

On motion, the following Constitutions was adopted:

Section 1. That: WILLIAM HOLLIDAY, T. J. DeVORE, SAMUEL HOLLIDAY, WILLIAM CROSS, J. L. MORRIS, I. NEWTON MILLER, GEORGE R. HALL, J. M. STRONG, SAMUEL BRINDLE, J. ROBERT HALL, T. S. COWLES, GEORGE BRINDLE, JOHN HOLLIDAY, S. W. WARNER, GEORGE HEDDEN, M. W. ROBISON, S. F. WARNER, SAMUEL REA, PERRY DeVORE, L. BELNAP, HENRY TELLER, WILLIAM DOTY, A. HALL, HENRY DIXON, TOWNSEND WEBSTER, with such other persons as they may associate with, and their successors, be created a body politic and corporate, in law, by the name, style, and title of the Springfield Cemetery, and by that name shall have perpetual succession and be able to sue and be sued in any Court of Law or Equity, and may have and use a common seal, and the same at their pleasure, alter and renew, and shall have the power to own, hold and enjoy to them and their successors, any real or pesonal estate which they may purchase or obtain by devise, gift, grant, or bequest for such Cemetery: Provided, that the whole quantity of real estate to be held by them as a corporation, shall not exceed fifty ( 50 ) acres.

Section 2 That the affairs of said corporation shall be conducted by the President and 5 managers, who shall be elected by a majority vote, as hereinafter specified, of the members of the corporation present on the 2cd Monday of January, every year, and in case no election shall be held at the time of the aforesaid, the officers of the preceding year shall continue in office until an election be held. The president and managers shall fill all vacancies that occur in their own body, by selecting a shareholder to supply any such vacancy occuring by resignation, removal, death, or otherwise, and shall have power to lay out and ornament the ground purchased for the said cemetery, to erect such buildings thereon as may be necessary for the enjoyment of the same; to lay out, sell, and dispose of burial lots; to appoint all necessary officers and fix their several duties and compensation, and make such by-laws, rules and regulations as they may deem proper for conducting the affairs of the corporation, for the government of lot holders and visitors to the cemetery, and for the transfer of lots and the evidence thereof.

Section 3 That every lot conveyed in said cemetery shall be held by the proprietor for the purpose of sepulture alone and transferable for that purpose alone, and shall not be subject to attachment or execution.

Section 4 That a certificate, under seal of the corporation, of the ownership of any lot shall in all respects, have the same effect as any conveyance from the said corporation of such lots would have if executed, acknowleged, and recorded as conveyances of real estate are required to be by law.

Section 5 That at all elections held under this Charter, each member of the corporation shall be entitled to 1 vote for every share of ten ( $10.00 ) which he, she, or they may own.

Section 6 That no street, land, or alley, road, or canal, of any sort shall ever be opened through that part of the property of the corporation so to be exclusively appropriated to the purpose of a cemetery: Provided nothing herein contained shall authorize said corporation to obstruct any public road or street, lane, or alley, now actually opened and used as such.






Court of Common Pleas of Erie County Pa.

In the matter of the Application for the Incorporation of A Cemetery in Springfield Township.


December 23, 1863 - This instrument in writing exhibited and presented to the Court of Common Pleas, and the Court having perused and examined the same and being satisfied that the articles and conditions therein set forth and contained appear to be lawful and not injurious to the community; direct that this writing be filed in the office of the Prothonotary of this Court, that notice be inserted in one newspaper printed in the County of Erie for at least 3 weeks, setting forth that this application has been made to this Court to grant a Charter of Incorporation, Agreeably to the Act of the General Assembly in such case made and provided. And to be heard the 2cnd Monday of March A. D. 1864.

Per Curiam.

Erie County, ss.

I, GEO. W. COLTON, Prothonotary of the Court of Common Pleas, in and the aforesaid County, do certify that the above is a correct copy of order of the Court in the above stated application.

Witness my hand and the seal of the Common Pleas Court aforesaid this 2cnd day of January, A. D. 1864.

Revenue Stamp 5 cents .... GEO. W. COLTON, Prothonotary

Erie County ss.

C. G. GRIFFEY, one of the publishers of "The Girard Union", deposeth and saith that he published the above document in said Girard Union for 3 consecutive weeks or three ( 3 ) insertions in the months of January, and February, A. D. 1864.

Sworn and Subscribed before me March 21, 1864 .. C. G. GRIFFEY


And now to wit: March 21st, 1864

I GEO. COLTON Prothonotary of the Court of Common Pleas in and for the said County of Erie DO HEREBY CERTIFY that the foregoing is a correct copy of the original paper, and all the proceedings had in the above stated petition, order and decree of incorporation of the said Springfield Cemetery as full and entered as the same appears on file in the said Common Pleas Court.

Witness my hand and the seal of said Common Pleas Court at Erie this 28th day of April A. D. 1864.


Erie County ss.

Recorded in the Recorder's Office, Erie County, Pa., in Deed Book No. 18, Page 371 etc:

Witness my hand and official seal at Erie April 29, A. D. 1864.

SAMUEL REA, Jr. Recorder


Section 1 The officers of the corporation shall be a President, Secretary, Treasurer, and 5 managers.

Section 2 The President shall preside at all meetings of the Board of Managers and shall call meetings of the Board whenever he may deem it necessary, or when requested to do so by any 2 members of the Board. In his absence the Board may fill a vacancy pro tem.

Section 3 The Secretary shall keep a full and accurate record of proceedings of the Board of Managers, and shall also keep a correct plan of lots in the Cemetery, adding thereto all additions as made from time to time. He shall also keep a correct register of all lots sold, showing the section, number, price, name of purchaser, and date of deed, and at each annual meeting of the corporation, ( oftener if required by the board ) he shall furnish a schedule of lots, showing the number unsold at last report; number added during the year past; the number sold and the number then unsold, with all the details as shown by said register. He shall have the custody of all aforesaid records, plans, and registers, as also title deed of the property, the seal of the corporation and all other books and papers except the account book of the Treasurer. He shall on application, issue permits to the Superintendent for interments on receipt of the proper charges therefore, which moneys he shall pay to the Treasurer, as often as once a month, and shall keep a careful register of all said interments, a schedule of which he shall embrace, in his annual report to the Board, showing the amount of receipts there fore, and he shall give notice of all meetings of the Board and cause to be published all meetings of the corporation, according to the provisions of the Charter and By-Laws, and shall give bond with one ( 1 ) or more securities in such sum as the Board may require, conditioned for the faithful performance of his duties.

Section 4 The Treasurer shall receive and be held responsible for all moneys and securities and evidences of debt which shall come into his hands, of which he shall keep a detailed and accurate account, designating whether arising from the sale of lots, permits, interest, or other sources, in books of the corporation of which he shall have the custody, subject, however, at all times to the inspection of the Board, and pay all claims upon the corporation, but only upon warrant of the President, attested by the Secretary. He shall render to the Board annually (oftener if they require it) a general statement of finances of the corporation, to be exhibited at the annual meeting of cooperators, showing the balance on hand at the last report, the receipts and expenditures during the past year, and the balance then in the treasury and how invested and secured. He shall also give bond with one or more securities in such sum as the Managers shall require, conditioned for the faithful performance of his duties, and for the delivery to his successor, when required all moneys, securities, and evidences of debt of the corporation which shall have come into his hands, and also all books of account, vouchers, and other papers belonging to the corporation.

Section 5 There shall be a Standing Committee of 3, taken from the Board of Managers and appointed by them, to serve 3 months, and until others are appointed. They shall be charged with the general care of the grounds of the Corporation and perform such duties as the Board may from time to time, direct. All avenues and walks shall be located and graded, and lots shall be surveyed and sold under their direction and all improvements by proprietors of lots shall be approved or rejected by them, subject to the superintendence and control of the Board of Managers.

Section 6 The President shall appoint an Auditing Committee of three ( 3 ) lot owners whose duty it shall be to audit the account of the Secretary, Treasurer, and Board of Managers for the current year on or before the second Monday in January in each year.

Section 7 All agents and servants of the corporation not otherwise provided for shall be appointed for periods as may suit the pleasure or convenience of the Board of Managers.

Section 8 That for the purpose of keeping lots in repair and the preservation and removal of any tomb, monument, grave stone, railing, or the improvement of lots, in any way, the Managers shall receive from any lot owner or friend of the same, any sum of money, ( not less than $50.00 fifty dollars) and invest the same in some permanent fund, the interest to be applied to the improvement of such lot lots.

Section 9 The annual meeting of the corporation shall be held the 2cnd Monday in January of each year at 1 p. m. Written or printed notice of place of meeting to be given by the Secretary at least 10 days prior to said annual meeting.

Section 10 Lots bought and not settled for within two years revert back to the cemetery.


1. No lot shall be sold or occupied until satisfactory payment is made for the same.

2. Single graves will be sold in lots set aside for $5 and $10 each, the same to be located by the Secretary. Graves will be furnished to the indigent poor in lots set apart for such purpose without cost.

3. All enclosures of lots must be placed on the lot itself, if a railing, or posts and chains, must not exceed 3 feet in height, the gates of which must swing into the lots. If hedging, must be placed at least 1 foot in from line of lot and kept trimmed to twenty inches in height. Except hedges now located shall not exceed three feet in height. Stone curbing shall not exceed ten inches in height. Any other than the above mentioned kinds of enclosures will not be allowed.

4. If any monument, vault, tomb, effigy, railing, or any structure whatever, or an inscription be placed in or upon any lot which shall be determined by 4 managers for the time being to be offensive or improper, the managers shall have the right, and it shall be their duty to enter upon such lot and remove the improper object or objects, PROVIDED HOWEVER, that if said structure or improvement shall have been made with the consent of the Board of Managers for the time being the same shall not hereafter be removed except with consent of the owner thereof.

5. In the erection of monuments, vaults, tombs, railings, or other structures, all persons are prohibited from trespassing on public or private grounds. A place will be designated by the Superintendent for the deposit of the stones, brick, or other material which shall not remain longer on the ground than is actually necessary for their construction and which shall be conveyed to, and the rubbish consequent thereon removed from the ground upon hand barrows or vehicles with broad wheels.

6. If any tree or shrub, situated in any lot shall, by means of roots, branches or otherwise, become detrimental, a danger, or inconvenient to the adjacent lots, walks or avenues, the managers shall have the right and it shall be their duty to enter said lot and remove said tree or shrub, or such part or parts thereof as may be detrimental, dangerous or inconvenient.

7. It shall be the duty of the proprietor of each lot to place, and keep in repair, permanent land marks of the boundaries of their respective lots. Corners may be of cut stone, set 15 inches in the ground.


The cooperators suggest to the proprietors of lots that the raising of a mound of earth over a grave detracts from the appearance of the ground without utility, and when such mounds are numerous, produce a general bad effect. It is suggested as an improvement on these embankments, that a four inch wall be built entirely around the coffin and a stone slab be laid over it with such inscription as may be desired and then packing the earth above, leaving the ground at its natural level, and when taste accords, to cultivate flowers over the hallowed spot.


All persons may have access to the public walks, avenues and grounds, From sunrise to sunset on all days, by observing the following rules.

1. No riding or driving will be allowed faster than a walk.

2. No picnics or other assemblages for purposes of pleasure, shall be held on the cemetery grounds.

3. No horse may be left in the grounds unfastened.

4. No money shall be demanded by any attendant of the gate or grounds from visitors.

5. No children will be admitted unless attended by some person who will be responsible for their conduct.

6. All persons are prohibited from plucking any flowers, either cultivated, or wild, breaking or injuring any tree, shrub, or plant, or entering any individual's enclosure, without leave of the owner.

7. All persons are prohibited from writing upon, defacing, or injuring in any manner, any monument, head-stone, railing or other structure, in or belonging to the Cemetery.

8. All persons disturbing the quiet and good order of the place by noise, other improper conduct, or who shall violate any of the foregoing rules will be compelled instantly to leave the grounds.

9. All persons visiting the Cemetery shall be required to give their names, when called for by the Superintendent.

It is of the utmost importance that there should be a strict observance of all the proprieties due the place, whether within these regulations or not, as no impropriety will be permitted to pass unnoticed.


1. There shall be a Superintendent who shall have the general direction and control of the premises, under the supervision and direction of the Managers and Standing Committee.

2. He shall see that "Regulations for Proprietors of Lots" "Interments" and "Visitors" are properly observed.

3. He shall have charge of the property, tools and implements of the corporation, which may be on the premises.

4. He shall be in attendance at Interments and cause all graves to be properly prepared, opened and closed.

5. He shall keep an accurate "time book" which shall set forth the name and wages of each workman employed, the time each workman makes daily, and the kind of labor at which he is employed.

6. He shall make a monthly report to the manager or standing committee stating the amount of work done, and its condition, the receipts and disbursements, and also an estimate for the coming month, when required to do so.

J. C. HUGHES, President

M. L. MORRELL, Secretary

J. C. SHERMAN, Treasurer



J. M. HALL "



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