My Favorite Cemetery

Since I love cemeteries, I thought I’d try to narrow it down to my favorite cemetery.  I visit so many,so often, you’d think I have a favorite.  Well, I do!

Entrance to Donegal Presbyterian Church

Entrance to Donegal Presbyterian Church


I love the peacefulness and stillness I feel when I visit the cemetery at Donegal Presbyterian Church in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.  It is in the country, surrounded by an old stonewall.  The old Church is right across the drive and down the hill are the Donegal Springs with a bench to sit and comptemplate whatever it is you wish to contemplate!

Donegal Springs, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania

Donegal Springs, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania


Is this my favorite cemetery?  No, but it is one of my favorites!

Lancaster City has many, many old cemeteries, all beautifully maintained, for the most part.  Two blocks away from my home is the old Shreiner Cemetery where the great Abolitionist, Thaddeaus Stevens is buried.  Today the cemetery is right on the edge of a major thoroughfare thru the city, and in the middle of a wonderful old neighborhood.  It is surrounded by an iron fence, and mowed and weeded regularly.

James Buchanan's gravesite, Woodward Hill Cemetery, Lancaster, PA


The final resting place for Jacob Auxer and his family is in horrible shape.  I have removed weeds, trash and dirt from this site.  I cannot sit the stones upright, but I have filled in gopher holes that have undermined headstones.  Perpetual care?  hmmm-m-m-m-m-m-m-m

Auxer site, bottom of the hill, Woodward Hill Cemetery

Auxer site, bottom of the hill, Woodward Hill Cemetery


Is this my favorite cemetery?  Once again, no, but high on the list.  High on the list because it gives me something to maintain.  Someplace that makes me feel that I am indeed honoring my family ~ however distant it maybe ~ and somewhat of a cause.

Harrisburg Cemetery, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania

Harrisburg Cemetery, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania


No, my favorite cemetery, without a doubt, is Harrisburg Cemetery! This awesome cemetery stands in the middle of the city, with a view of the State Capitol. It once was on the edge of the city with the entrance to the west. The entrance is now to the south, through a less than desirable neighborhood.


This is the cemetery in which my ancestors first spoke to me and encouraged me to continue in my search for their stories.  This is the cemetery where three generations all lie together for eternity.  This is the cemetery that keeps pulling me back, if only to place a few flowers, pull a few weeds and sit quietly for a minute or two.


Ephraim Niess, his wife, Catharine Auxer Niess and five of their young children have their lives all noted on the same headstone, Catharine’s brother, mother, father and grandmother share the plot with them.

Ephraim and Catharine Niess and 5 of their children, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania


This picture was taken when spring had just arrived.  The grass is green and the leaves on the trees shade the cemetery’s occupants final resting places.  It is Mother’s Day and I’ve taken my annual pilgrimage to the various cemeteries through out the midstate region, leaving a small flower at grandmother’s grave. I have graves from Snyder County to Shippensburg and Harrisburg down to Lancaster to visit, but it is worth the effort.  I am sure some of these graves have not been visited for years and I love to show my respect and love for these wonderful women who paved the road I travel today.

Abraham Auxer

Abraham Auxer

Maria Leader Auxer

Maria Leader Auxer

Philip Kleiss Auxer, Catharine Niess' father

Philip Kleiss Auxer, Catharine Niess' father

Susannah Bischoff Leader Kaylor, Catharine's grandmother

Susannah Bischoff Leader Kaylor, Catharine's grandmother

In reality they all could be my favorite cemetery, but Harrisburg Cemetery, is without a doubt my favorite cemetery, because of it’s history and meaning to my family and because my ancestors still speak to me when I visit them.

I guess you can say, I do play favorites . . . . . .

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