Churches & Cemeteries

Churches

St. Molaisse Church, Kilglass, County Sligo, Ireland
This church served the pastoral needs of many Irish Catholic families that emigrated from Sligo to Sullivan County in the 19th century.
Photo Taken About 1972 Before the Church was Destroyed by Fire
Contributed by Charles Devanney

Update: Beginning in 2009, Bob Sweeney and Lynn Franklin, his wife, began to transcribe, post and photograph the markers and grounds at cemeteries in neighboring counties where the families interred there have obvious connections to the early families in Sullivan County. The initial selections included:

Lungerville Cemetery, Lycoming County
Franklin Bethel ("Stone Heap") Cemetery, Lycoming County
St. Gabriel's Episcopal Cemetery, Columbia County.

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Churches were an essential link in the lives of the people of north central Pennsylvania from the earliest days. In frontier conditions of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, and even up until the 1850s in the more outlying towns, the community coalesced around the construction of a church and the creation of a congregation. There were times early on, in the absence of a preacher or priest, that local families would meet monthly or as often as practicable in their homes to read the Bible, pray or provide "Sunday School" for the children. This behavior was true of Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox or whatever religion a group of people happened to belong to. We even have records of a rabbi coming all the way from Scranton to say prayers for a deceased Jew. Probably the most comprehensive of the histories of religion in the area is Adona R. Sick's History of the Churches of Sullivan County. But there are many anecdotes and personal recollections of church memberships and congregations.

One story is told by the Kelly and Cullen families that Bishop John Neumann came to the Campbellville-Overton area to bless the construction of Sts. Phillip and James Church. Mary Leahy ("Lahe"), who later married Daniel Kelly, the great-grandfather of Bob Sweeney, our Sullivan County Genealogical Web Page administrator, walked barefoot four miles to accompany the famous prelate to the church site on Sugar Ridge. You can read the entire story at The Bishop Neumann Shrine in Sugar Ridge, written by Sister Mary Laurena Cullen, I.H.M. in 1976. The shrine to Father Neumann at the Catholic Basilica in Philadelphia is pictured below.


Five Who Became Nuns
Granddaughters of Daniel and Mary (Leahy) Kelly *
L to r: Pauline (Sister M. Mercia) Sweeney, Teresa (Sister M. Teresa Joseph) Sammons, Genevieve (Sister M. Jude) Sammons, Josephine (Sister M. Bernardo) Sweeney, and Loretta (Sister M. Joseph Loretta) Sweeney
Late 1940s or Early 1950s
Likely Location: Towanda, Bradford County, PA
Photo Courtesy of Sheila (Sweeney) McKendree

* Editor's Note: The Sweeney and Sammons sisters had a first cousin, Mary Ethel Sick, a daughter of William and Catherine (Kelly) Sick, who also became a nun. Please see William Sick and Catherine Kelly: An Irish-German Family of Sullivan County, for a photo and commentary.

The Catholic communities were dispersed across northeastern Pennsylvania; several of these were under the supervision of St. Basil the Great Church in Dushore, Sullivan County, PA. You can read about two of these so-called "missionary churches" at Catholic Churches of Susquehanna County. Still other settlers were known to have driven sixty or seventy miles by coach or on horseback to attend church. There are still partial surviving records of the early religious activities in what would become Sullivan County in 1847. For example, here is the History of St. Basil's Church by the Reverend Francis E. Tourshcer, OSA, published in 1938. Among other fascinating pieces of information, it gives us excerpts from the original records of Bishop Patrick Kenrick of Philadelphia, Bishop (later Saint) John Neumann (1811-1860), and Father Xavier Kaier as they traveled about the wilds of northern Pennsylvania to administer to the religious needs of the early Catholic settlers. The history also contains lists of priests and nuns, stories of the founding of the parish, and much more.


St. John Nepomucene Neumann Memorial
Saints Peter and Paul Basilica
Logan Circle, Philadelphia, PA
October 20, 2012
Considered the "patron saint" of Pennsylvania by Roman Catholics
Photos contributed by Lynn Franklin

Yet one more source of information about the foundations of religion in Pennsylvania can be found in a 1911 tract entitled Historic Easton, which provides an extensive discussion of the early Lutheran settlers in that area. Many of these settlers came from New Jersey, bringing their German religious traditons with them. Such names as Raub, Hess, Reeser, Fraunfelder, Klein, Keyser, Ritter and Opp, among many others, are then later found in the histories, church records and stories of Sullivan County and its surrounding territory. We will provide other sources as they become available.

One story concerns The Vocation of Sister Joseph. Born as Carolyn Thall, one of 12 children, of whom she was the second in age. Carolyn was born at Towanda, PA on April 24, 1844. In 1862, she became the first North American postulant (member) of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus, a religious organization for nuns founded in England. Eventually, she was posted to Waseca in remote Minnesota, where she and her fellow missionary nuns helped establish the first organized religious community in that area.

Various German or German-speaking groups were also common throughout colonial Pennsylvania. For example, the Moravians were an old Protestant religious affiliation founded in Europe in 1457. One of their North American provinces ended up being located in Bethlehem, PA. In 1765, David Zeisberger and John Woolman established a Moravian Mission called Friedenshutten to bring Christianity to the Delaware Indians living in southeastern Bradford County. These Indians called the area M'chwihilusing, anglicized to Wyalusing. The mission was closed when the Indians relocated to Lock Haven at the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War. In 1871, the Moravian Historical Society erected a memorial stone at this location in honor of the original Friedenshutten settlers.


Friedenshutten Historical Marker
Erected 1871
Wyalusing, PA
Photo contributed by Carol Brotzman

In May 2005, eBay posted for auction an old 1910 postcard with a picture of the same Moravian memorial stone on the front and a handwritten historical note on the back, authored by "Levi Rawling Stalford", as best we can make out the name. Here are scans of the front and back of the card:


Friedenshutten Historical Marker
Erected 1871
Wyalusing, PA
An Old Postcard 1912
Note: The card address box reads: "Pen to Miss Joane (?) Igo, Colorado Springs"
From an eBay Auction Held in May 2005

The text reads:

This monument stands upon my father's farm and was placed there by the Moravians to mark the site of an Indian village. There were 113 wigwams and 100 huts. The Moravians came as missionaries to Christianize the Indians. Father Stice (?) holds the deed signed by the old Indian chief and his squaw. First it was bought and given as a wedding present to one of my forefathers and the bride and groom made their wedding trip on horseback from Philadelphia nearly 200 miles. The original farm was 500 acres.

Levi Rawling Stalford

The Methodist community was also conspicuous in northern Pennsylvania from the late 1700s onwards. The church was formally organized in 1784 in the Wyoming Valley, east of Sullivan County. Thereafter, the entity which governed the formal proceedings of the Methodist churches in early Pennsylvania was the Wyoming Conference. Its History was written in 1904 by Amasa Franklin Chaffee and it is still the historical gold standard for the early history of Methodism in Pennsylvania.

The nineteenth century also saw the birth of evangelical, reform and messianic religious movements, such as the Mormons and Christian Scientists. These groups often formed in the remote parts of Pennsylvania and New York State, where only a generation or so before there had been a wilderness peopled with dangerous animals and hostile Native Americans. Much like the Pilgrims who came to Massachusetts in the early seventeeth century, "frontier" farmers imagined themselves being tested in the "wilderness" by the Devil and his agents. For city folks, too, the romatic version of the wilderness seemed to hold out a more pure or less tainted environment where those awaiting the coming of the Messiah or a better, more religious existence could escape the temptations of urban life. An excellent history of this whole idea can be found in Wilderness and the American Mind, by Roderick Nash (Yale University Press, 1968). Here, we introduce you to Sullivan County's own experiment in messianic religious movements--the peculiar assembly created by Peter Armstrong at Celestia near Eagles Mere at the time of the Civil War. D. Wayne Bender's history is entitled From Wilderness to Wilderness: Celestia.

Yet another institution ubiquitous in the Sullivan County area was "Sunday school", where children learned the legends, principles, beliefs and ideals of their particular religious strain. This type of activity was most common among the various Protestant sects and only really became a possibility once the "wilderness" had been tamed. Here is what Carol Brotzman, for many years the church historian for the Beaver Meadows church has to say about the function of Sunday school. It likely represents much of the sentiment of those 19th century churchgoers who established Sunday schools throughout the area.

When I first came to the community to live in 1973. I was greeted and asked to attend church. Do we do that now? The congregation of about six to eight parishioners were meeting in the homes that winter, the congregation was small but determined to save their precious church. The children were being educated in other Sunday schools of the neighborhood as Sunday school was a hit and miss thing here then. No real dedicated Sunday school.
As my children grew up, I wanted them to attend Sunday school. They started in Silvara just like everyone else's, but a very wise old Reverend Van Stone says, "If you want your church to grow, you educate them in your own church so they come back here". So Donna Bennett and Charlotte Fassett did just that, not knowing that Beverly and Carol Brotzman would show up to help and stay! Stay I did, until 2005.
When I look back over all the years of minutes I have recorded, Sunday school was the most important part of a church. You can have all the officers you want, but with no Sunday school, you have no future. The minutes always recorded how many were in Sunday school and who was in charge. We have had 100 registered in Sunday school, imagine that, and conventions for Sunday school were held here. After Joey Clapper Carter was retired, no one came to Sunday school the next Sunday! Not one came, that sends me a message of something great about that lady. Ruth Culver, Helen Clapper and Jenella Ryan did their best, but not one had the gist of pulling a Sunday school together like her.
The records show when Joey was teaching from 1894 to the 1940's, the church was alive, new stained glass windows, new pews, new everything was being installed to make this a beautiful full fledged church, while in the mean time other churches were falling apart and closing like East Herrick and Lime Hill. Not Beaver Meadows, we had a Sunday school and great leaders over the years like Marcus and Susie Bond Pickett, Wavie Bennett Culver and Joey Clapper Carter just to mention a few. There were singing schools and ice cream socials. Lots of fun filled activities for everyone to enjoy. The church and the children made the community come alive.
The records will show that Beaver Meadows came alive again after 1978 when a revived and an alive Sunday school was formed and took a good hold within a year. That precious Ladies Aide gave them money to get started with. Those wonderful women helping the community children. There were 50 children in Bible school in 1979 and 1980. We always had in the 15 to 20 children numbers in attendance for regular Sunday school and the church grew. Where there are children, there are parents! Ruth Culver said it best when she attended the first Christmas program and the church was packed, "You will do it again won't you please". We did for many years to come.
A church is just a building, a place for faithful worshippers to come and share great times, learn and share. When you get older and you look back at church events, the children are always first on your mind with some sort of event. Again, the children are what makes the church a fun filled place in most everyone's mind.

So, religion was an essential element in the lifeblood of rural Sullivan, Bradford and other northern Pennsylvania counties. Therefore, this section of our page is devoted to the churches and cemeteries that came to represent the spiritual aspirations of our ancestors. Pictures of several churches are presented on this page, and several others are displayed on the many cemetery page links when there is an association between the cemetery and a specific church. Occasionally, we will feature the individual history of a church where we have one. You can also find the precise location of many of the Sullivan County cemeteries on Kevin Martin's Cemetery Maps of Sullivan County.

INDEX OF CHURCHES

St. Basil's, Dushore
St. John's Lutheran, Wilmot
St. Francis of Assisi, Mildred
Cherry Grove Church, Davidson
Sacred Heart of Jesus, Laporte
Peace Church, Cherry
Sts. Phillip and James, Overton
Old Zion Lutheran (Thrashers), Dushore
Shepherd of the Hills (Trinity), Mildred
St. Matthews of Pike, Stevensville, Bradford County
Elkland Camp Meeting Church, Elkland
United Methodist Church, Forksville
Wheelerville Mennonite Church, Wheelerville
St. Paul's UMC, Dushore
Redeemer United Church of Christ, Dushore
Millview Wesleyan, Millview
Lincoln Falls Wesleyan, Lincoln Falls
Laporte United Methodist Church, Laporte
Episcopal Church, Laporte
Eaglesmere Community Church, Eaglesmere
Warburton Hills Church, Forks
St. Paul's United Church of Christ, Overton
St. Peter's United Church of Christ, Hugo's Corners, Elkland
Zion Lutheran Church
United Methodist Church, Estella
Federated Church, Eaglesmere
Rock Run Church, Muncy Valley
Fundamental Bible Church, Dushore
Ellenton Church
St. Francis of Assisi, Eaglesmere
St. John in the Wilderness, Eaglesmere
St. Paul's Methodist, Overton
Mehoopany Baptist Church, Mehoopany, Wyoming County

St. Basil's in Dushore

St. Basil's Roman Catholic Church, Dushore, PA, constructed in the 1850's. stone tower under construction about 1920; can anyone name the builders? Picture provided by Ray and Linda McDonald of Cherry Mills, PA

St. Basil's Construction (Picture #1)

The Cemetery, St. Basil's, where many of the ancestors of the great Irish and some of the German families of Dushore are buried, looking south from the top of the cemetery toward German Street. There are listings of all but perhaps the oldest graves below in the Cemeteries section of this page.


St. Basil's Cemetery in Dushore
From an old Postcard
Photo contributed by Carol Brotzman

St. John Lutheran in Wilmot

St. John Lutheran Church, Wilmot, PA, built in the 1850's, about 9 miles from Dushore and actually just over the line into Bradford County, PA, but many of the Sullivan County German immigrant families and their spouses are buried here, looking south from the church cemetery across the road. At the bottom of this page is a picture of a handmade ceramic representation of the church. The cemetery is transcribed below.

St. Francis of Assisi Church in Mildred


Built in 1896, St. Francis of Assisi Church burned to the ground April 12,1957, Friday before Holy Week. Fire broke out at 10:20 PM and the rectory was also destroyed. Father Luke Hally kept the broken bell until he died in 1970. On another occasion, the bell was sold by mistake. A junk dealer hauled it away, but James Christini, John Evangelisti and Charles Burke brought it back the next day. On July 4, 1983, Stanley Bohensky Sr. arranged with Ernest Menold to take the bell to repair it and to make its support. We are grateful to them for their efforts and for the memories.-- the Parishioners of St.Francis of Assisi.

Here also is the article on the 1957 fire published in the local newspaper at that time:

The Sullivan Review
April 18, 1957

ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI CHURCH AND RECTORY AT MILDRED
DESTROYED BY FIRE

The St. Francis of Assisi Church and rectory in Mildred were destroyed by fire Friday night, after 10 o’clock. People who gathered earlier for Lenten devotions were not aware of attending the last service in a church, which had served their community for over 60 years. A short time afterward the building was discovered to be a mass of flames in the altar area by the Rev. Luke F. Hally, pastor. In minutes the rectory, too, was afire.

Firemen answered Rev. Hally’s call and were soon on the scene putting into use all the equipment of the Ber-Mil Fire Company. Other fireman responded to calls made to Lopez, Laporte, Towanda and Dushore. The Town's supply of water proved inadequate. Booster tanks were used and a large tank truck hauled water from the shoe factory. Firefighters could mainly confine the flames to the two buildings and keep others in the area wet enough to resist the shower of sparks fanned in their direction by a brisk wend. In little more than an hour both the church and rectory and all contents were in fiery ruins and the toil and care of generations destroyed.

The church had been dedicated on August 2, 1896 by the Rt. Rev. Michael J. Hoban, coadjutor Bishop of Scranton, with an estimated crowd of 400 arriving in Bernice by excursion trains and many carriages, to attend the service. The rector was the Rev. J. A. Enright.

The church was of gothic style, 100 feet long by 50 feet in width. To the top of the cross on the spire it was 107 feet. In the belfry was a 2000-pound McShane bell. The large stained glass window above the entrance had been a donation of Father Enright. Ten other windows also were donated with all glass being imported from Munich, Germany. All statuary was imported from Parisian art galleries. The pews were of solid quartered oak. The altar had been built in Buffalo and was considered an exceptionally beautiful work of art.

The parochial residence stood at the left of the church, a two story building 37 by 41 feet finished throughout in oak.

Both the church and rectory had undergone some redecoration in the last few years.

It is impossible to state the amount of loss suffered by the Mildred-Bernice community.

For the present all services are being held in the Turnpike school.

There are two pictures of the church provided below, one from before the fire and one after. There is some evidence that the picture of the old church was originally taken or at least issued on August 5, 1909. However, the exact origin of this picture is still under investigation.

Cherry Grove Church in Davidson Township
(1 Picture)

The tiny old village of Nordmont sits on the north bank of Muncy Creek, south of Laporte. As Linda Ross describes it, Cherry Grove Church is not IN the town of Nordmont itself (that is, the little cluster of buildings -- store, church, hotel, & a few houses). You take the road across the bridge over the creek by the general store, going South. The road goes up a steep mountain and at the crest of that mountain is the Cherry Grove Church and Cemetery. The church is actually in Davidson Township, at State Route 2003 on Cherry Road. At one time, there was a covered bridge over the creek, but that structure no longer stands.

The history of the church is eloquently summarized by Chris Kelley:

The Little and Speary families were first settled in the Davidson and Shrewsbury Townships. The Speary Family of Nordmont was actually responsible for the building of Cherry Grove Church. For many years, the citizens of Elk Lick settlement and the citizens of Nordmont held church services in private homes, because they did not have a church to go to. When the Elk Lick school was built, the services moved there or when the weather permitted, they were held in a nearby grove of cherry trees. The congregation hoped some day to build a church on this property. On December 28, 1858, they went one step closer to this dream when John Boston deeded one acre of land for five dollars and sixty-eight cents to a group of men who were to be trustees chosen by the citizens of Elk Lick. They were John Heddleson, Miles Speary, Samuel Speary, John A. Heddleson, and Edward Pennington. This land was assigned to be used as a cemetery and place for a church.

For thirty-two years, the property was used as a cemetery and the people continued to plan the construction of a church. Money was very tight in this community, with most of the people working the land for a living. A man named Christopher Speary, the son of one of the original trustees, Miles Speary, saw this and in his will set aside the sum of three hundred dollars to be used for the construction of the church.

It was 1890 before Irving Brundage began construction on the church. Monroe Speary and John Andres, as well as many other men, helped from the Elk Lick settlement. The timber to build the church was donated by the Boston family from land they owned on North Mountain and was sawed into boards at Mr.Brundage's sawmill. The money that was left to the church by Christopher Speary was enough to pay for building the church because the lumber and labor were donated.

It took two years for the construction of the church to be finished because the men could only work during the time they could spare from their regular work. When the church was built, special chairs were ordered that had a design of cherry trees and fruit on them, and these chairs were used until 1989 when some of them were stolen. The rest of the chairs were sold then and the money was used to buy new plain chairs that had little value so that the church could be left unlocked.

In the late 1800's, when the population in the area was high because of industry, there was a sizeable congregation, but, in 1918, regular church services were discontinued due to declining attendance. The few members left went to what is now The St. Pauls's United Methodist Church. In 1921, the Cherry Grove Cemetery Association was formed and incorporated and it was decided that this group would provide the upkeep on the church.

Over the years, the church has continued to be used for funerals and other special services, such as weddings. Each year the Memorial Day services are held there as well as Easter Sunrise services. Each year for Memorial Day, a red geranium is placed on each grave. Efforts have been made to keep the original beauty inside the church. The walls are covered from floor to ceiling with old-fashioned dark brown wainscoting. The ceiling is very high. Wood stoves heat the church. There is no electricity in the church so there are kerosene lamps along the walls to provide light. At Christmas time, there is a large tree that reaches to the ceiling and candles light the church for the services.

Copyright (c) Chris Kelley SCHSI00-6/6

There is a listing of surnames buried at Cherry Grove in the Cemetery section further down this page. Also, Ruth Speary has posted several pictures of the church on her site at Cherry Grove Pictures 2002.

Here is a picture, taken in 1985 just before Memorial Day, courtesy of Linda Ross.

Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in LaPorte

Located on a side street in the Sullivan County seat, Laporte, this is perhpas the least known of the Roman Catholic churches in the area. According to Bart Cavanaugh, there is a cemetery with the Church grounds. The cemetery contains several graves, including those of Gallagher and Hassen family members. There is a complete listing below in the Cemeteries section of this Page. Picture from before the turn of the 20th century.

  • Sacred Heart of Jesus Church (Picture #2)

  • Church of the Sacred Heart
    Woods Next to the Church and Cemetery
    Laporte, Sullivan County, PA
    October 2005
    Photo by Deb Wilson

Peace Church in Cherry
(1 Picture)

The oldest church in the area, Peace Church was founded in 1825. It was used jointly by German and Irish Catholics and German Lutherans until the Catholics built their own facilities. The attached cemetery, posted below in the Cemeteries section, contains the graves of many of the oldest families and first settlers of the County. Picture taken at dusk on July 27, 2000 by Lynn Franklin.

Sts. Phillip and James Church in Overton, Bradford County

This church is the original Catholic church in the area and served the pastoral needs of families from northern Sullivan county, along the border of Bradford county. It was blessed by Saint John Neumann in 1854 and its associated cemetery (see below) holds the remains of its member families--Leahy, Flynn, Conmey, Sweeney, Frawley, Byron and so on. The church is just at the top of Burke Road and sits barely over the county line in Overton township. Traditionally called the "Sugar Run" church, it is now open only a few times per year for ceremonial masses. Picture taken by Burke Campbell.


    Sts. Phillip and James Church

Zion Lutheran Church in Dushore, PA


Plaque Commemorating Founding of Zion Lutheran Church
Dushore PA 11851
Photo contributed by Frank Thrasher
The plaque reads:The Original Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church
Erected in 1851 on this ground consecrated as a cemetery in 1829 by George (Drescher) Thrasher (1774-1846) and donated by his descendants
This plaque was erected by Oscar F. Thrasher in memory of his forefathers whose devout Christian lives made this church and cemetery possible
1951

The preaching point which became Zion congregation was established by Pastor Carl Ludwig Erle in his own home about two miles east of Dushore. What year the congregation was organized cannot be determined from the records. The cornerstone of the first church building was laid in 1851 on the land which George Thrasher had consecrated for a burial ground in 1829. See the picture above. In that year, he had buried his son, Joseph, in a field on his farm. In the years that followed, other members of the Thrasher family were buried there, also members of neighboring families. Because of this, Zion Cemetery next to the church is still called Thrasher Cemetery by many people. In 1851, Ransom Thrasher, grandson of George, owned the farm on which Thrasher Cemetery was located. When a site was needed to build a church, he gave the cemetery for that purpose. (Adapted from the 100th year anniversary bulletin issued by the church on June 10, 1951.)

Shepherd of the Hills

There actually came to be three churches in the area whose affiliation was with the Evangelicial Lutheran Church in America: Zion Lutheran in Dushore, Shepherd of the Hills Trinity Lutheran in Mildred, and St. John's in Wilmot. This copy of a 1988 historical pamphlet, Come Share the Spirit tells the history of the Lutheran Church in these three communities.


Shepherd of the Hills
Trinity Lutheran Church
Mildred, PA
November 2004
Photo by Mike Krause

St. Matthews of Pike

Yet another church whose history is connected with Sullivan County is St. Matthews of Pike in Stevensville, Bradford County, PA. Carol Brotzman, the previously mentioned church historian for the Beaver Meadows Church, has written a book about St. Matthews. It turns out that the preacher in the old days was a circuit rider between Bethlehem and Stevensville, PA, so he passed through Sullivan County on the way, baptizing in homes and serving as a human "bridge" between the two areas. Among others, members of the large Hunsinger family prevalent in Sullivan and other nearby counties were baptized there.

Elkland Camp Meeting Church in Elkland

Located in Elkland Township, Sullivan County, this church has been part of the Millview Wesleyan ministerium for many years.


Elk Camp Meeting Church

Picture taken in August 2002 by Mike Krause

St. John in the Wilderness Church in Eagles Mere

Located in Eagles Mere, Sullivan County, this church now provides services as a summer chapel from Memorial Day thorugh Labor Day. It was originally constructed in 1894 by A. C. Little of Picture Rocks, PA, from a design by the prominent New York architect A. B. Jones.


St. John in the Wilderness Episcopal Church

Jones Avenue, Eagles Mere, PA
1908
Courtesy of Scott Tilden
Source: An Old Postcard Publsished by D. Kehrer & Sons
Postmakreed July 1911
Auctioned in eBay in December 2012

St. Paul United Methodist Church of Christ Church in Overton

Located in Overton Township, Bradford County, along the Sullivan County line, this church has served residents on both sides of the county border for decades. The Methodist persuasion goes back to at least 1823 in the area, and the first church was built in 1873.


An Invitation to Services
Methodist Church, Overton PA 1923
Annual evangelistic services and movements were common in the small towns of Sullivan and Bradford Counties throughout the late 19th and early to mid-20th centuries. These spiritual renewals were enhanced by the strong presence of the Temperance Movement in rural Pennsylvania.
Photo from the collection of Ellen Crawford Shefler
Courtesy of Carol Brotzman

Mehoopany Baptist Church

Wyoming County, to the northeast of Sullivan County, was a source of emigration into Sullivan and Bradford Counties. With the emigrants came their culture and religious beliefs. Below, we present several Wyoming County cemeteries where the grave markers tell us of the local families who would later move west with the retreat of the Pennsylvania wilderness. We are fortunate in having on hand a brief history ofthe Mehoopany Baptist Church in Mehoopany, PA, thanks to the historical interest of Sandra Miner. Here is a picture of the church and a link to its history and other pictures of that community.


Two Churches in Mehoopany
The Mehoopany Presbyterian Church [left] was built in 1867; the Mehoopany Baptist Church [right] in 1891. In 1967, the local Baptist congregation bought the vacant Presbyterian church, converted it to their persuasion and torn the old Baptist facility down.

Source: An Old Postcard
Reproduced in Wyoming County, Post Card History Series by Sean and Johanna S Billings, 2004

You can learn more at A Short History of MBC.

 

To view pictures of the other churches listed in the Index above, go to Churches of Sullivan County and Nearby, a collection, most of which consists of beautiful color photos taken by Mike and Debbie Krause of Dushore, PA.

 

Cemeteries

Many of the old cemteries of Sullivan County and nearby areas have fallen into disrepair or disregard over the decades. They can be difficult to find, and even hard to recognize if you are standing right on top of them. For this reason, Mike Krause, about whom you will read more below, and Bernie Kotalik have calculated the exact locations of 49 of these old cemeteries. Using a GPS system or something like that, any reasonably dedicated "cemetery hunter" can pinpoint where a cemetery is and then use local road maps to find a way there. We are grateful to Mike and Bernie for creating these Cemetery Coordinates.

CEMETERY INDEX

Barclay Cemetery, Barclay
Madison/Mattison Cemetery, Tuscarora
Sturdevant Cemetery, Tuscarora
Quinby Cemetery, Tuscarora
Ruger (Learn Farm), Tuscarora
Taylor Cemetery, Tuscarora
Silvara Cemetery, Tuscarora
Quicks Bend, Wilmot
Cogswell, Tuscarora
Reed Cemetery, North Rome
Waterman, Stevens Township
Fowler Hill, Rush Township, Susquehanna County
Bolles, Auburn Township, Susquehanna County
St. Basil's, Dushore
St. Basil's--Old Graveyard, Dushore
Sts. Phillip and James, Overton
St. Francis of Assisi, Mildred
Presbyterian, Bernice
Shepherd Hills, Mildred
Sacred Heart, Laporte
St. Francis Cummiskey, Wilmot
Peace Cemetery, Cherry
Colley Cemetery, Colley
Old Zion (Thrashers), Dushore
St. Vladimir's, Lopez
Fairview (Bahr Hill), Dushore
Pioneer Cemetery, Overton
St. Paul's United Church of Christ, Overton
St. Francis Xavier, Overton
Greenwood Cemetery, Elkland
Warburton Hill, Forks
Sts. Peter and Paul Byzantine Catholic, Lopez
Bellasylva Cemetery, Dutch Mountain, Colley
Millview, Sullivan County
Eagles Mere, Eagles Mere
Hillsgrove, Hillsgrove
Norconk, Wilmot
St. John's Lutheran, Wilmot
Mountain Ash, Laporte
Methodist, Overton
Picture Rocks, Lycoming County
Pleasant Hill, Hughesville, Lycoming County
Fairmount, Forksville
Hillcrest, Sonestown
Old Friends, Shunk
Porter Cemetery, Shunk
Brown Cemetery, Shunk
New Friends, Elkland
Ayers, Wheelerville
West Hill, Shunk
McGovern Cemetery, Overton
Hoppestown Cemetery, Plunkett
Cherry Grove, Nordmont
Laddsburg, Albany
Elwell, Wilmot
Kellogg, South Branch
Cahill, Overton
Bethel, Elkland
German Cemetery, Elkland
New Era, Terry
Hillcrest, New Albany
Wyalusing Community
Cadwallader, Dushore
Jackson (Little Germany), Cherry
Ellis Cemetery, Lopez
Junk Cemetery, Dutch Mountain
Rock Burying Ground, Dutch Mountain
Irish Cemetery, Ringer Hill, Cherry
Bryan Cemetery, Sullivan County
Webster, Elkland
Bird Cemetery, Forks
Old Molyneux, Forks
Ricketts, Colley
Mullan-Pardoe-Grange, Elkland
Gleockler Burial Site, Elkland
King Burial Site, Elkland
Strawbridge, Davidson
Muncy Valley Burying Ground, Muncy Valley
Mount Vernon Cemetery, Shrewsbury
Old Sonestown Cemetery
Lopez Evangelical, Lopez
Taylor Burying Ground, Shrewsbury
Taylor Cemetery, Tivoli, Lycoming County
Ellenton Cemetery, Ellenton, Lycoming County
Estella Cemetery, Estella
Bear Mountain, Elkland
St. Anthony's, Stowell, Wyoming County
Vaughn Cemetery, Mehoopany, Wyoming County
Vose Cemetery, Washington, Wyoming County
Rural Rest, Keiserville, Wyoming County
Forkston Cemetery, Wyoming County
Lovelton Cemetery, Wyoming County
Trinity Cemetery, Black Creek, Luzerne County
Kocher Cemetery, Lake Township, Luzerne County
Franklin Bethel Cemetery, Franklin Township, Lycoming County
Lungerville Cemetery, Lungerville, Lycoming County
St. Gabriel's Episcopal Cemetery, Sugarloaf Township, Columbia County
Luzerne County Cemetery Postings
Catholic Cemeteries, Buffalo, NY

People who have never visited or tried to find old rural cemeteries have little concept of the conditions facing a dedicated "cemetery hunter". In this section, you will meet more than one who has braved thick brush, trying climbs, backbreaking clearing and lifting, and puzzling efforts to make sense of eroded, misspelled information chiseled into stone up to 200 years old and perhaps written in OLD German!! After surmounting these odds to find and trascribe what is left, the would-be historian may find a situation such as that described by Carol Brotzman of Tuscarora Township, Bradford County, PA. This is Carol's own recollection about the Barclay, PA cemetery:

At that time, Barclay Mountain, on the edge of Bradford and Sullivan County, was a mining community. I have been to the small cemetery there and they dug the coal out right around the bodies. It is divided, Catholics on one side and Protestants on the other. You have to walk in on your own, as it is closed to the public except on Game Commission tour days. That's when I got to see it. It is maybe one acre plus. Over grown with only the Catholics with headstones.

Joyce M. Tice, who administers the marvelous Tri-Counties genealogy site for Bradford and Tioga Counties, PA and Chemung County, NY, has posted the actual tomb transcriptions for Barclay Cemetery. The material was originally collected by Todd Babcock in 1993. Barclay is now part of Franklin Township, having been absorbed as the mining industry dried up and its population declined.


Barclay Cemetery
Bradford County, PA
November 16, 2003
Photo by Mike Krause

Thanks to Carol Brotzman, we can also explain what some of the peculiar numbering and lettering of rural highways and roads actually mean. For example, a "T" in front of a route number means it is a township route. "L.R." in front of a highway number means it is a legislative route; they start out on the eastern edges of a county and increase by number as you go west. You will encounter this numbering below and we thought you would appreciate this bit of trivia.

So let's meet some of the folks who transcribe cemeteries. A good one to start with is Carol Brotzman herself. She is writing a book on the history of Tuscarora Township, north and east of Sullivan County. In her book, she reviews her research at two cemeteries located directly in the town of Tuscarora: Madison/Mattison and Sturdevant Cemeteries.. She also transcribed the Quinby Cemetery in Tuscarora for our site.

Carol has also transcribed the Ruger Cemetery (also called the Learn Farm Cemetery) and the small Taylor Cemetery, both in Spring Hill, Tuscarora Township. The Taylor Cemetery has one grave, that of Sarah Bolles Black. This gravesite connects up with the Bennett family found in history of Sullivan County. In Carol's words:

SARAH BOLLES BLACK
1841 - 1874 (February 1874, age 32 years)

Family records show she was married to John H. Black (March 20, 1842 - November 28, 1921). He was the son of Davis D. and Sarah (Marsh) Black. John is buried in the nearby Spring Hill Cemetery. Davis D. was the son of Joseph and Alice (Wells) Black.

This leads us back to Nancy (Black) Bennett. Her husband Ferris Bennett was a founding member of the Tuscarora Rush Religious Compact. Nancy was a sister to Davis D. Black. Their son, Samuel Bennett (1823-1867) died in a logging accident in Laporte, Sullivan County, PA. His widow, Adelia Melvina Maxfield, returned to Tuscarora and remarried to John Clapper on January 29, 1871.

Most of the local families in the Tuscarora area seem to lead back to common ancestry, and the Wells family was also a prominent family from the Wyalusing area.

Carol also personally transcribed the old Silvara Cemetery in Tuscarora Township and arranged for her daughter, Mary Ellen Brotzman, to take some lovely pictures for us. They are reproduced both here and with the cemetery posting.


Silvara Cemetery
Tuscarora Township, PA
July 6, 2002
Photo by Mary Ellen Brotzman

In late 2001, Carol put us in touch with Alice Matson of Wyalusing, PA. Alice gave us a partial listing of another Bradford County cemetery with ancestral connections to Sullivan County. This is the Quicks Bend Cemetery in Wilmot, PA, just north of the Sullivan County line. This was a generous contribution of information from Alice, for which we are very appreciative. You can also access an updated The Complete Quicks Bend Cemetery listing, which includes additional name identifications. Carol also collaborated with her colleague Nicole Parker to bring us the Cogswell Cemetery in Tuscarora Township, as well as a picture of the Reverend Bela Cogswell and a copy of the old cemetery deed. In November 2006, she also provided a transcription and photos for the Reed Cemetery in North Rome, as well as the Waterman Cemetery in Stevens Township, both in Bradford County.

Carol Brotzman has also contributed a map of Central and Eastern Bradford County, and adjoining areas, so that you can locate the towns where many of the cemeteries listed here are located. The map and Carol's commentary can be examined at Bradford County Map. In 2006, she also transcribed and sent to us the listings and several beautiful related photos for the Fowler Hill Cemetery in nearby Rush Township, Susquehanna County, PA, and also for the Bolles Cemetery in Auburn Township in the same county. The latter is also variously known as the Beech Grove, Whipple, or Fuller cemetery.

Next we turn to Sullivan County directly. In early June, 2000, Sharon Dore contacted me to let me know that she had obtained access to a list of over 900 interments at St. Basil's Cemetery. Upon further investigation, I learned that she received this information through the enormous generosity of P. Dean Homer, an officer of the Cemetery Association at St. Basil's and also the scion of one of the oldest and historically most famous funerary families in Dushore. It is with the deepest gratitude to Dean and to St. Basil's that we are able to re- produce that list here at St. Basil's Cemetery This listing is a major contribution to the genealogical history of Sullivan County. Let's give the Homer family proper credit and recognition here, as I quote directly from Dean Homer:

Our firm was begun and built by Philip Tubach, his son Philip Tubach, his grandson, Arthur Leo Tubach, his daughter and my mom Regina Tubach Homer, and me. My son Jeff is going to San Francisco this fall (2000) to mortuary school, and Jeff is therefore our hope so far to carry on the tradition. This listing is from the Cemetery at St. Basil's, where I keep the records. There are other graves not listed as they are below the road to the convent ( now gone). Those old graves are in sections AA & AAA. Father Carr and I updated the maps in the 1980's and saw no need at the time to create a map for the older sections. There is a list of those at the rectory, and when I have time I will try to incorporated those names into the master which we keep. As an officer of the Cemetery Association, I pay all bills and collect all monies due. My forefathers had the insight and ability to create a trust fund, from which we fund all perpertual care monies 100%, and we have to live off the income. So these are all the graves that are currently mapped.

Remarks of P. Dean Homer to Bob Sweeney, June 8, 2000

The story of the cemetery at St. Basil's does not end here, however. Mike and Debbie Krause, whom you will meet further along in this story, completed a truly epic undertaking in November and December of 2001. They walked, recorded and transcribed the legible stones in the Old Graveyard at the Church. These are the very sections referred to by Dean Homer as "those old graves....in sections AA & AAA". You can look at this initial posting at St. Basil's Cemetery Old Graveyard. Where would we be without our local historians and practicing genealogists?

In 1997, John D. Frawley posted a listing of the graves at the Sts. Phillip and James Church at Sugar Run in Overton, PA. This cemetery contains the graves of some of the oldest Catholic families in the border area from Campbellvill and Forks in Sullivan county to Overton and New Albany in Bradford county. You can examine the listing at Sts. Phillip and James Cemetery. In August 2002, we updated this listing with additional information provided by the Sullivan County Historical Society.

For several years, our web site has been supported and assisted by an enthusiastic group of local cemetery researchers in the Dushore area: Mike and Debbie Krause, Bart Cavanaugh, Bettyann Sick Goodyear, Patty Kisner, Tina Pastusic, Deb Wilson and others. In late Lay, 2000, members of this local team completed a transcription of the headstones at the cemetery at St. Francis of Assisi in Mildred, PA. That listing is available here as St. Francis of Assisi Cemetery.

In early June, 2000, we also completed a transcription of the headstones at the Presbyterian Cemetery in Bernice, PA. That listing is available here as Presbyterian Cemetery.

Yet again, in June, 2000, our local team also completed transcriptions of the headstones at the Shepherd Hills Lutheran Trinity Chapel Cemetery in Mildred, PA, and the Sacred Heart Cemetery in Laporte, PA. The listings can be accessed at Shepherd Hills Cemetery and at Sacred Heart Cemetery. Next, in August, 2000, local transcribers prepared a listing of the stones at St. Francis of Assisi Cummisky Cemetery in Wilmot, PA, technically located in Bradford County but always functionally part of the Sullivan County society and economy. This listing can be accessed at St. Francis Cummisky Cemetery. These transcriptions were valuable aides to the genealogical history of Sullivan County, which have periodically been updated and supplemented by new information and pictures from other interested readers.

In late July, 2000, my wife and I attended the first McDonald-Sweeney Reunion in Forksville, PA. On the eve of the Reunion, we were given a tour of old homesteads and the Peace Cemetery by Bettyann Sick Goodyear of Dushore. At the time, I asked Bettyann if she knew if the stones had ever been transcribed in this, perhaps the oldest, churchyard cemetery in the county. Less than ten days after leaving Sullivan County, Bettyann e-mailed me the entire posting. It is once more with sincere gratitude that we are able to reproduce that list here at Peace Cemetery This listing is a very important contribution to the genealogical history of Sullivan County. We are also indebted to the technical expertise of Richard Wereley, my cousin and the Technical Advisor to the Sullivan County Genealogical Project, for undertaking the formatting and graphic display of these cemetery listings.

In April 2001, we also received a transcription of the Colley Cemetery in Colley, PA, for which we are very appreciative. Then, our local team transcribed the historic Old Zion Lutheran Cemetery in Dushore, PA. This very old cemetery, also known as Thrashers Cemetery, contains the remains of many of the original settler families, particularly of German stock. Our local group of cemetery researchers also transcribed for us the cemetery associated with St. Vladimir's Orthodox Church in Lopez, PA. These recordings were current as of July 2001 and reflected all English language names and those Russian names that could be identified. In September 2002, Mike and Debbie Krause (see more below) provided translations of the Russian names in this cemetery.

Our group also managed to get to the Fairview Cemetery on Bahr Hill in Dushore, which is one of the oldest local cemeteries and contains many of the graves of the earliest German and other Protestant families.

Most recently, our local group transcribed the stones at the following cemeteries: Pioneer Cemetery in Overton, PA; St. Paul's United Church of Christ in Overton; St. Francis Xavier Roman Catholic Church in Overton; Greenwood Cemetery in Elkland, PA; Warburton Hill Cemetery in Forks Township; Sts. Peter and Paul Byzantine Catholic Cemetery in Lopez, PA; Bellasylva Cemetery on Dutch Mountain, Colley, PA; and the Millview Cemetery off Route 87 between Dushore and Mildred. They also transcribed the famous old Eagles Mere Cemetery, where many of the original settler families, such as Theophilus and Mary Polhemus Little and their children, are buried. They have also transcribed Fairmount Cemetery in Forksville and the Hillcrest Cemetery just west of Sonestown on Cemetery Street. In July 2002, they also transcribed the famous old Hillsgrove Cemetery in the Sullivan County community of the same name. In April and May 2003, they transcribed the Norconk Cemetery and St. John's Lutheran Cemetery, both in Wilmot, PA. In October 2003, our group gave us Mountain Ash Cemetery in Laporte, PA, and Methodist Cemetery in Overton, PA. In November 2003, they transcribed the Picture Rocks Cemetery in Lycoming County, just below Muncy Valley, where many Sullivan County folks lie at rest. Our local cemetery group is truly a prodigious team of "cemetery hunters", and our site is most grateful for their initial transcriptions.

Update: In November 2010, assisted by Nancy Little Spencer, our team began to create an online listing and photographic record of the large Pleasant Hill Cemetery in Hughesville. The project was completed in 2014.

Elaine Frey of Canton, PA is another voluntary contributor with a sense of historical preservation. She can be reached at Elaine Frey. We began a dialogue on another Web site and she offered to provide various remote cemetery listings to our site. In her own words:

Sullivan County will always be home. The Old Friends cemetery is in Shunk, Fox Township, Sullivan County. It is located east of Shunk, across Route 154 from the Shunk United Methodist Church. There is also a Williams Cemetery supposed to be right there with the Old Friends and the Brown Cemetery. There were a lot of Williams in it. I should have explained to you about the Old Friends Cemetery. At some point, in the past, someone took all the stones off the land and plowed the ground up. When they smoothed it out and went to put the stones back, they couldn't remember where they went, so tried to do the best they could. My mother also told me that there are some stones or markers left in the woods that are there because they could not be placed or else all of the cemetery was not reclaimed. I don't know which. It is a sad situation.

The list is posted at The Old Friends Cemetery.

Elaine has also explored the Porter Cemetery in the same area. To quote her:

The Porter Cemetery is 1.8 miles northwest of Shunk. North of L.R. 56031, it is on the Moody farm. There are approximately 14 fieldstones visible. One of these has the number 19 on it. Another one lying in the woods has the number 17 on it. The main stone is that of JOHN WILCOX, Born 1756, Died 1860. PVT NY Militia - Rev. War. Another field stone with marker says - "War of 1812 U.S. Veteran". Yet another stone says "veteran 1812 - 1814" There is a "P. K." stone with "In Memory of Philip Kilmer" On the left side of that stone is another marked "B.K." On the right side is a stone labeled: "Bertha Daughter of ?? K?mer". I could not read the rest. I don't know why this is called the Porter Cemetery. It's another example of what time does to destroy history. Probably lots of people are buried there, but nothing to tell us how many, or who. Due to John Wilcox being there, it is now kept up. The Wilcox family can probably be thanked for this.


Porter Cemetery
Moody Farm Near Shunk, PA
January 10, 2003
Photo Taken by Mike and Debbie Krause

The Brown Cemetery is a third location that has been explored and listed by Elaine Frey. It is located east of Shunk across Route 154 from the Shunk United Methodist Church. The cemetery lies across T418 and east of the Old Friends Cemetery. Here is the listing: The Brown Cemetery.

Yet another important old graveyard transcribed by Elaine Frey is the New Friends Cemetery in Elkland Township. Here it is at: New Friends Cemetery . Surnames of the interred include Battin, McCarty, Pardoe and others.

In September 2000, Elaine Frey also found the Ayers Cemetery ...just .6 miles north of Wheelerville Church, west of Route 154, behind "Miside" cabin. There are actually only two tombstones in this cemetery:

Ayers, Earl E. 1893 1969
Ayers, Arthur I could not read the birth and death dates.
There are also at least nine fieldstones with nothing on them. Says Elaine: Small, but quite nice. Someone keeps it mowed, possibly the folks from the cabin, I can't be sure though. I never knew the cemetery was there, until I got a list of the cemeteries in Sullivan County from the Historical Society.

 


Ayers Cemetery
Wheelerville, PA
November 16, 2002
Photo Taken by Mike and Debbie Krause

Then, in December 2000, Elaine sent me a complete as possible transcription of the West Hill cemetery, just west of Shunk on Local Route 56031. The transcription can be viewed at West Hill Cemetery .

Many of the earliest families to settle in Sullivan County lived in and around the old town of Campbellville. The Campbell, Sweeney, Conmey, Bahl, O'Brien, Leahy and Kelly families, to name a few, lived in this area and northward toward Overton, PA, just over the line in Bradford County. When family memebers died, they were often buried at the old McGovern Cemetery in Overton, In July 2001, Elaine visited and transcribed the stones at this old cemetery, using road directions from Linda Karge McDonald of Dushore, PA. Let's listen to Linda's directions and then look at the cemetery listing prepared by Elaine.

The McGovern Cemetery is outside of Overton. Coming from Dushore to Overton, go through Overton. You will pass a little cemetery up in the field on the right. I don't know the name of it. You will come to a road on your left in a curve. It is a dirt road. There is a house and barn on the left, and the road will drop off the hard road. Go down the hill, for about 1/2 mile or less. There is a small piece of ground that has about 10 tombstones. There were more, but someone removed the stones as they fell down or whatever.

You can read Elaine's transcription of the stones at the McGovern Cemetery.

One of the more unusual stories to come our way since we started these listings has to do with an old weed-infested cemetery just over the county line into Lycoming County, west of Hillsgrove. There lies the practically unheard of community of Hoppestown, PA, named apparently for the original settlers, the Hoppes family. You can learn more information about the Hoppes family at The Descendants of George Klees, Sr. The story begins with a message we received from Mallory Allison at Mallory Allison. The search for the cemetery and the description of the route and location also provide a rich profile of the tendrils of history that extend into nearly any corner and coversation about where our families lived a century or two ago! In Mallory's words:

I am looking for information on CHARLES L. BABCOCK. He was born March 1867 in Saladasburg, Lycoming County, but was supposedly baptised around 1906 in Campton, Sullivan County. He may have had several children out of wedlock with a MARY BARNES whose maiden name is HOPPES. She and her father, DANIEL HOPPES, are living with Charles in 1910. We were able to locate a cemetery on a wooded knoll in Sullivan County and it is called Hoppestown Cemetery. There are several Hoppes buried there but the information is difficult to read as the cemetery is very overgrown and most stones are broken or buried in mud. Several more exchanges with Mallory led to both a partial cemetery listing of the Hoppestown Cemetery and driving directions. Here is the actual dialogue that took place between Mallory and me on how to get there:
From Beech Flats, in Canton, take Route 154 through Shunk to Eagles Mere (World's End) to the state small game farms. That appears to be Highway 85 from Williamsport. Then take a right across the bridge and take an immediate right. It's up the hill about 18 miles. What I can tell you is that it took a local biker we happened to run into at the little general store to lead us to the side of the road where he pointed up and said "Through the creek, up the embankment, on the knoll is where I found some headstones 20 years ago as a kid and tried to stand them all up". The cemetery is located on private property, I do know that. Our directions included: go through Plunkett to "Brownie's trailer" and it is across from that. Well, when we got to the general store, we asked a homeowner across the street if he knew where "Brownie's" trailer was. He told us that "Brownie" had died years ago and that was when the biker rode in and the homeowner asked him about the cemetery. We did make the hike up the embankment. Here is an alternative route provided by Chuck Babcock via Mallory:
We decided to make another trip to the cemetery. This time we approached it from Highway 87 through Barbours. You cross over the bridge and head up the hill towards Plunketts Creek. The cemetery is on the farm owned currently by Mr. and Mrs. Mann. We videotaped it and I took several photos of what we did find. We spoke with the current owners of the property where the cemetery is. Mrs. Mann believes the farm was originally owned by the DUNLAPS, which would seem to coincide with most of the headstnnes we were able to read in the cemetery. One of the sons of MICHAEL HOPPES, HENRY, married MARY ELIZABETH DUNLAP. We also asked her if she knew anything about "Hoppestown" itself. She laughed and said that even the highway patrol doesn't recognize the name. Herself and her immediate neighbors still call the general area by the name though. The road she lives on is Hoppestown Road! She said that the store owner down the road (who also sold her the Dunlap farm) has a book on the town of Proctor and that Hoppestown might be mentioned in it. We are going to go back when the store is open and ask her if we might have a look at the book or get the title and publisher to see if I can locate a copy of it. I went to the map function on www.yahoo.com and found Hoppestown and the surrounding area. Hoppestown, as Mallory pointed out, is about four miles from Barbours. If you look at the top of this page, you will find an old postcard picture of the bridge over the Loyalsock Creek at Barbours. Note that the road is unpaved and the hillside behind the bridge has been cut of its timber. Anyway, you get there by going north from Barbours to Proctor, then east, basically paralleling Plunketts Creek. The map I looked at says that is State Road 1005 coming from the west. While the folks there may laugh about no one actually calling the area Hoppestown any more, it still shows up on the map about 2/3 of a mile inside Lycoming County. On a dead line, it is about four miles west of Hillsgrove and also west of the town of Plunkett, which IS in Sullivan County and is not the same as Plunketts Creek, the stream in Lycoming county.

This listing from Mallory sets a new standard for persistence in preserving the history of our County.

Bridge at Barbours enroute to Hoppestown Cemetery

If you want to read more about the adventures of Mallory Allison and Chuck Babcock in hunting for all old cemeteries, go to Cemetery Hunting in the Muncy Area.

In July 2000, I received from and thanks to Linda Ross a listing of the surnames of those buried at Cherry Grove Cemetery near Nordmont. You can review the list at The Cherry Grove Cemetery Index. Then, in August 2001, our local cemetery research group actually transcribed the graves. You can find the posting at The Cherry Grove Cemetery. Yet another source of information about Cherry Grove is Allen E. Tilley's Cherry Grove Chapel: 1892-1992.

In August 2001, Carol Brotzman was kind enough to introduce Phil Herman to our Sullivan County Genelaogical Web Project. Phil has become a prodigious cemetery transcriber. His efforts include several of the older cemeteries in towns along the Sullivan-Bradford County line. Through his generosity, we include here: Laddsburg Cemetery in Albany Township, Elwell Cemetery in Hollenback (Wilmot), Kellogg Cemetery in South Branch (Monroe Township), Cahill Cemetery in Overton, PA, all in Bradford County, and also Bethel Cemetery in Elkland, Sullivan County. In October 2001, Phil also contributed the cemetery postings for German Cemetery near Hugo's Corners in Elkland, PA. In July 2002, Phil gave us the posting for New Era Cemetery in Rienzi, Terry Township, and, in September 2002 he gave us Hillcrest Cemetery in New Albany, both located in Bradford County. In July 2006, Phil provided a transcription of the important old Wyalusing Borough Cemetery in the Bradford County community of that name. Once again, these are towns where the ancestors of Sullivan County frequently came from, went to, lived, married and worked. They were part of the social and economic fabric of the life of Sullivan county from the earliest days even up to the present. You can reach Phil Herman at this link for further information or questions.

In August 2001, our site received a thoughtful message from Mike Krause, who lives in Dushore, concerning a small cemetery near his home. It turns out that the Cadwallader Cemetery holds the remains of some of the oldest families in Sullivan County--Fairchild, Mosier, Wilcox and others. He then went out and transcribed the old and hard-to-find Jackson Cemetery a few days later. In this cemetery, we find the mortal remains of Samuel Jackson and family, one of the earliest settlers of Cherry Township, and others. The cemetery is also called "The Little Germany Cemetery" due to its German occupants. For example, Marie Brasington, a Baumgartner Family historian, has been looking for her Baumgartner ancestors there for years, so far with no avail, perhaps due to the erosion of the tombstone engravings. Mike and his wife, Debbie, also found and transcribed two small but historical cemeteries, Ellis Cemetery outside of Lopez and Junk Cemetery on Dutch Mountain, in early September 2001. The Krauses also describe their location and transcription of both the Junk Cemetery and another Dutch Mountain area plot called the Rock Burying Ground in the following message:

The "Junk" cemetery appears to be a "family plot" of the Junk family of Colley township. I found Thomas and Ellen in the 1850 census, as well as their son, William. They were listed as farmers in that census.

The "Rock Burying Ground", on the other hand, contains only the one grave of Samuel Daddow. It gets it name from a large rock approximately twenty feet long and five feet high that is right next to the grave stone. Established in 1856, this burial plot lies 1.3 miles north of the intersection of a "Private" dirt road and S.R. 1002, just north of McCarroll's Corner on the "old Santee Hunting Club road", also called the "lower road". It is about 70 yds off the east side of the road, near a hedge row and large rock formation. The one grave has the following information:

Samuel Daddow
Aged 52 y, 8m, 19d
Born: Dec. 24, 1803
Died: Sept. 13, 1856
"Born in England"
"For I know that my Redeemer cometh and That he shall stand at the final day upon the Earth And though after my skin worms destroy this body Yet in my flesh shall I see God"
A foot stone reads: "SD"


Rock Burying Ground
Dutch Mountain, PA
October 26, 2001
Photo Taken by Mike and Debbie Krause

Mike and Debbie also went cemetery hunting on Ringer Hill between Laporte and Cherry Mills. This remote area is variously called Hubtown, the Irish Commons or the German Commons. Let's listen to Mike's explanation:

I went out this morning to find the cemetery at the old Irish settlement, "The Commons", on Ringer Hill, Cherry Township. When I arrived at the approximate location, I asked a local landowner if they knew of the cemetery. They pointed me to the location, but told me that there were no stones with any names on them anymore. They had heard that someone had taken or stolen them from the site. I did find several field stones turned on their edge in the ground, and one stone with the date "1848" chiseled at the top of the stone. There was one other stone with a date chiseled on the top, but I was unable to read it. Recently, I was reading an article in a small booklet I found in the Sullivan County Library in Dushore, entitled, "Pioneering with Sullvan County Pioneers" ("many authors", printed 9/1/1953 by the Endicott Printing Company). There is a section called, "Here Rest Our Dead." It describes many cemeteries and a little history to go along with them. This article states that the Irish Commons burial ground was that of the Hunsinger family.

This is a very interesting remark because it has been rumored for years that the old Hunsinger cemetery was in this area, but the stones were stripped to make floor tiles for a local house. If any of our readers knows of an earlier transcription of this site or knows who might be buried there, please let us know and we will post that information. We have also heard from John Hochberg, via Ray and Linda McKarge McDonald, that two names of folks buried there were Faust and Smith. We await further input.


Irish Commons Cemetery
Ringer Hill, Sullivan County, PA
October 26, 2001
Photo Taken by Mike and Debbie Krause

Later in September, Mike and Debbie found and transcribed the remote Bryan Cemetery. Let's hear Mike tell us about his efforts to record this remote plot:

I was out in the beautiful fall air today and transcribed the small Bryan cemetery near Forksville. This was my most challenging to find cemetery thus far. Road names/numbers and property owners have changed over the last fifteen years since Wilson Ferguson listed local cemeteries.

To reach the Bryan cemetery, I had to walk through a path along a cornfield and pass through a wooded campsite before reaching the banks of the Loyalsock. After walking upstream about three hundred yards, I saw the raised wooded plateau across the creek where I hoped to find the cemetery. My next challenge was to find a shallow portion of the creek to get across to the west bank. I had brought knee high boots, but they weren't quite high enough! I took on a little water. After climbing up the bank, I was pleasantly surprised to find the cemetery nestled under the shade of large hardwood trees. The cemetery was surrounded by a four-foot stone wall with an open "gateway" at one end. The dimension is about twenty feet by thirty feet and contains only two printed stones. There are also 6-8 gravesites marked only with field stones turned on their edges. I eventually will have some pictures to send.

In addition to their many graveyard transcriptions, Mike has also become our site's "cemetery photographer extraordinaire"!! He is responsible for literally dozens of the superb color photographs of the cemeteries and burying grounds found on this site. Mike and Debbie also provided the Russian language translations, with the help of the Reverend Michael Thier, for the Cyrillic inscriptions in the graveyard at St. Vladimir's Russian Orthodox Church in Lopez, PA. Mike and Debbie are no ordinary cemetery hunters!

The Krauses subsequently found and transcribed the Webster Cemetery in Elkland; the Bird Cemetery and Old Molyneux Cemetery in Forks; Ricketts Cemetery in Colley; and the Mullan-Pardoe-Grange Cemetery also in Elkland. All these old cemeteries are located in Sullivan County, PA.

On October 11, 2001, our site received the following message from Mike:

Debbie and I were out today, found and transcribed two more cemeteries. They were the "Gleockler" Burial site on the Bogart property in Elkland Township. There was only one stone that read "Margaret Gleockler 1834-1910 and Anthony Gleockler 1826-1900" on the same stone.


Gleockler Burial Site
The Bogart Farm, Elkland, PA
November 7, 2001
Photo Taken by Mike and Debbie Krause

The other cemetery in Elkland was the "King" Burial site. This is on the Reibson farm. There was only one readable stone carved into a native field stone that read "Wm. King, Died Feb. 8th AD 1852, Aged 78 yrs, 0?m, And 2 d". It was a little difficult to read. There may have been other unmarked field stones there also, but the area was very overgrown with weeds and brush.


Grave Marker of William King
King Family Burial Ground
Elkland, Sullivan County, PA
November 4, 2001
Photo Taken by Mike and Debbie Krause

Here are two other small cemeteries, from the southern end of the county, that Mike and Debbie transcribed on October 22, 2001:

STRAWBRIDGE CEMETERY, founded in the 1870s, lies east of Rte 220, just north of the Lycoming/Sullivan County line. It's on the very top of a hill/mountain in Davidson Township, Sullivan County. There is only one marked stone in the lot, which reads:

Strawbridge, Thomas Aged 79 y, 14 d (died) January 28, 1879

This is the largest stone in the cemetery. There are also between 20 and 25 graves marked only by field stones turned on their edges.


Grave Marker of Thomas Strawbridge
Strawbridge Cemetery
Davidson Township, Sullivan County, PA
November 4, 2001
Photo Taken by Mike and Debbie Krause

The other location is the MUNCY VALLEY BURYING GROUND on a hillside east of the site of the old Muncy Valley Methodist Church, built in 1884, that is, east of Cemetery St., Muncy Valley, PA. There are three marked graves:

Remsnyder, Elizabeth Aged 74y, 10m, 10d Jan. 11, 1899 "Wife of S. Remsnyder"

Remsnyder, Charles H. Oct. 1, 1881 aged 15y, 8m, 14d July 14, 1897 "not dead, but sleeping"

Remsnyder, Harry B. Mar. 1, 1880 aged 17y, 4m, 8d July 9, 1897 "not dead, but sleeping"

There are a few other graves but none marked with any stones. Mike was able to find a reference in "Pioneering with Sullivan County Pioneers", the same source he used for looking up the Irish commons burial ground. It states that the two Remsnyder boys were brothers that "died of diptheria during an epidemic in Muncy Valley at the time." It also stated that "Two years later, their grandmother died and, obeying her last request, she was buried with the boys." This would be Elizabeth Remsnyder. The tombstones for the boys are amde of marble, while that for Elizabeth was made of marble. In July 2008, Ray and Linda McDonald graciously photographed this old cemetery and the Remsnyder markers for our site. Their photos of the grave markers are linked above. They also noted that common local folklore referred to 1897 as the year of the "black plague", in this case referring to diphtheria. You can click on Muncy Valley Burying Ground for another view of the cemetery itself.


Muncy Valley Burial Ground
Muncy Valley, Sullivan County, PA
November 4, 2001
Photo Taken by Mike and Debbie Krause

As indicated earlier on this page, Mike and Debbie are also directly responsible for the transcription of stones at the Old Graveyard at St. Basil's Church in Dushore, one of the most important contributions of this kind to the ongoing effort to recreate and preserve the history of our Sullivan County community. Mike tells us they will also be looking around for other plots, small and large, to bring to our attention, for which we are very grateful. In fact, in February 2002, Mike found and transcribed the old Mount Vernon Cemetery in Shrewsbury, which contains graves of the Bennett family and other early pioneers. Then, in June 2002, Mike completed a transcription of the historically significant Old Sonestown Cemetery; in early August 2002, Mike transcribed Lopez Evangelical Cemetery in Lopez, PA. Yet again, on September 9, 2002, Mike sent us the following message:

Debbie and I were out this hot, sunny afternoon in Shrewsbury Township and found the elusive "Taylor Burying Ground". I say elusive, because it sits high on a wooded mountainside. It is located in the southwest corner of the county. The cemetery is approximately 50 by 50 feet in size and is surrounded by a four foot stone wall. There is only one readable stone in the cemetery, that of Robert Taylor. The stone reads:

Robert Taylor, born April 28, 1778, died March 12, 1838, Aged 60 years

There are about 20 other graves in the cemetery, but they are only marked with native field stones placed on edge in the ground.


Taylor Burying Ground
Shrewsbury, PA
September 2002
Photo Taken by Mike and Debbie Krause

In early August 2004, Gary Buck, an executive at the Lycoming County Genealogical Society (LCGS) in Williamsport, PA, contacted us with information from prior research at another Taylor burial location, the Taylor Cemetery at Tivoli, Lycoming County, PA. The transcription of the graves at this location was carried out by the LCGS. You can see this cemetery listing at The Taylor Cemetery. According to Charles Kehler, a famly historian for the Bird, Bennett, Little and Taylor families:

The "Taylor Cemetery" in Shrewsbury, Sullivan County is located on the original homestead and contains the remains of Robert Taylor, Sr with a legible gravestone, and also a few other unidentified graves with just fieldstones. The "Taylor Cemetery" in Tivoli, Lycoming County has several of his children's families and his wife, Elizabeth. Why the family chose to bury her there instead of next to her husband I do not know.

In early 2003, Mike and Debbie also sent us pictures of the Ellenton Church and nearby Cemetery. These structures are located about five miles west of Shunk, PA, on Route 1015 in Lycoming County, just over the county line. The cemetery is about half a mile from the Ellenton Church. They also located the separate "old cemetery" near this location. Many Sullivan County "residents" rest in the main Ellenton Cemetery. There are three visible remaining stones in the "old" Ellenton cemetery. A query posted on the Sullivan County Web Page Message Board indicated the cemetery was located "behind the old store". It is actually located just inside the edge of a wooded area or old fence row of a field. Here is what Mike and Debbie were able to transcribe from the three visible stones.

Hotchkiss, Nancy Aged 43y, 9m, 3d March 13, 1874 "wife of Thomas Hotchkiss"

Rumsey, Glenn Note: Rest is unreadable

W--?, Grant A. Note: Rest is unreadable but must have been a child because the stone has a small carved lamb on top.


Ellenton Cemetery
Ellenton, PA
March 2003


Old Ellenton Cemetery
Ellenton, PA
May 2003

In May, 2010, Pat Gobea transcribed a listing of Ellenton Cemetery, which was provided to our site by Nancy Spencer. We are very grateful for their contribution.

Frank May is another cemetery hunter who has contributed significantly to preserving the record of Sullivan county graveyard listings. He maintains two online sites, one each for Estella Cemetery near the old town of Estella and for Bear Mountain Cemetery near Elkland, PA. Frank also preserves the history of Sullivan and Tioga counties in Pennsylvania and Broome county, NY at his Tri-County Site. Following are pictures of the two cemeteries taken by Mike and Debbie Krause.


Estella Cemetery
Across from The DarWay Nursing Home on Rte 154
Estella, PA
October 2002
Photo Taken by Mike and Debbie Krause


Bear Mountain Cemetery
Near Elkland, PA
October 26, 2001
Photo Taken by Mike and Debbie Krause

Wyoming County lies just to the east and northeast of Sullivan County. Over the years, countless families have migrated back and forth between these counties and other nearby counties as well. For example, the Irish Settlement in Stowell, PA was the source of many of the Irish families who married or moved into Sullivan County after 1830. The Catholic church there, St. Anthony's, was part of the time under the direction of St. Basil's Church in Dushore. In December 2001, our local cemetery team transcribed the graves at the cemetery there for this site. You can view this site at St. Anthony's Cemetery.

In the interests of further historical continuity, we have pursued cemetery listings in nearby counties where Sullivan County families had roots or connections. For example, in January 2002, Sandra Miner of Meshoppen, PA, who is a cemetery secretary in Wyoming County, PA, was introduced to our site by Carol Brotzman. Sandra subsequently contributed several cemetery listings to our page, including the Lovelton Cemetery in nearby Lovelton, PA Vaughn Cemetery in Mehoopany, PA; the Vose Cemetery in Washington Township; and Rural Rest Cemetery in Keiserville. She also created the initial listing, which was later upgraded by Thomas Bliss and Paulette Conrad in 2012, for the Forkston Cemetery in the town of Forkston, Wyoming County, PA.

Another county with much history relevant to Sullivan County is Columbia County to the south. In April 2005, while researching the Hess Family Bible, Bob Sweeney devoted a fair amount of time to cemetery listings in Columbia County. A great many of the old families that ended up living in our county originally lived in Columbia or other counties to the south, and came through Columbia Coutny over time into our area.

Luzerne County is another county next door to Sullivan County where ancestral roots are found throughout the local history. Of particular interest are two cemeteries where the widepsread Hunsinger family is represented: Trinity Cemetery in Mountain Grove, Black Creek Township, and Kocher Cemetery in Lake Township. A comprehensive listing of Luzerne County Cemeteries is also accessible.

Mike Connors lives around Buffalo, NY. He has investigated the Buffalo area Catholic cemeteries to find the grave stones of his ancestors and those of other folks who originally came from Sullivan County. One of those tombstones is pictured below, the family marker of his great-grandparents and a great uncle: William T. Dempsey (11/27/1869-09/29/1936), Mary E. (McGeever) Dempsey (10/27/1872-10/16/1936) and Joseph Dempsey (1899-05/05/1937). William was born at Bernice, PA, the son of Humphrey and Catherine (Driscoll) Dempsey, while Mary was born at Carbon Run (Bradford County), PA, the daughter of Patrick McGeever and Mary Ann Waples, William and Mary both died at home about two weeks apart at 346 Fargo Avenue in Buffalo. Their marker is at Mt. Olivet Roman Catholic Cemetery in North Tonawanda, Erie County, NY, east of Buffalo. William and Mary had nine children, six daughters and three sons. Their daughter, Cecelia Dempsey, was Mike Connors' grandmother; she married John J.Connors, Jr. In turn, John and Cecilia had two sons, John William and Lawrence J. Connors, Mike's father and uncle, respectively. The photograph of the Dempsey headstone was taken by Mike on June 20, 2000.

Mike has also been through the Holy Cross Roman Catholic Cemetery in Lackawanna, NY, opened in the 1850s and known in those days as the "Irish Cemetery". For example, Martin "Red" McDonald, born on October 26, 1897 in Cherry Mills, Sullivan County, PA to Michael McDonald and Annie (Sweeney) McDonald. died October 20, 1966, is buried there (section: H-H, lot: #569). The tombstone of Martin McDonald and others, and pictures of the Holy Cross and Mount Olivet Cemeteries, can be viewed at Catholic Cemeteries in Buffalo, NY. Mike can be reached at mconnors219@juno.com.

Tombstones

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St. Francis Xavier Church
Overton, PA 2002
Contributed by Mike Krause


Nordmont Church 1929 (St. Paul's)


Evangelical Church, Lopez, PA 1911


Peace Church 2000, Cherry, PA


St. Peters United Church of Christ
Hugo's Corners
Elkland, PA 2002
Contributed by Mike Krause


St. Pauls United Church of Christ
Overton, PA 2002
Contributed by Mike Krause


Warburton Hill Church
Forks, PA 2002
Contributed by Mike Krause


United Methodist Church
Forksville, PA 2002
Contributed by Mike Krause


United Methodist Church
Estella, PA 2002
Contributed by Mike Krause


Methodist Episcopal Church
Mehoopany, PA
Early Twentieth Century
Photo of Postcard
Auctioned on eBay
in November 2005

Text authored by Bob Sweeney and several contributors.
Photos by Lynn Franklin (St. Basil's, St. John Lutheran, Peace Church, grave stones); Christine Hampton (St. Francis of Assisi); Charles Devanney (St. Molaisse); Linda Ross (Cherry Grove and the Nordmont Church); Cindy Coppock (Barbours Bridge); Pat DeHart (Evangelical Church); Burke Campbell (Sts. Philip and James); Don Collins (Sacred Heart): Mike and Debbie Krause (several churches and cemeteries); and Mike Connors (Buffalo, NY area cemeteries).


St. John's Lutheran Church
Wilmot, PA
Handmade by Kay Miller Ceramics of Mehoopany, PA
Photo contributed by Carol Brotzman Who Bought This Item for Five Cents in 2004

Copyright © 1999-2001 Robert E. Sweeney and individual Contributors. All Rights Reserved. Prior written permission is required from Robert E. Sweeney and individual Contributors before this material can be printed or otherwise copied, displayed or distributed in any form. This is a FREE genealogy site sponsored through PAGenWeb and can be reached directly at ~Sullivan County Genealogy Project (http://www.rootsweb.com/~pasulliv)

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