Erie, PA, Genealogical Goings-On for the week of June 9th, 2014

Erie Society for Genealogical Research Monthly Meeting

The next meeting of the Erie Society for Genealogical Research (ESGR) is this Tuesday June 10, 2014 at 7:00pm at the History Center on State Street.

ANDREW ADAMUS, from the Maritime Museum,  will speak about the history of the Wolverine. A membership meeting will follow. Doors open at 6:40 and will be locked at 7:10.

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“Meaning of Tombstones” Cemetery Tour

This Sunday, June 8, 11:00am, 2:00pm, join Caroline Reichel for a 60 to 90 minute walking tour of the Erie Cemetery. Tours begin at the cemetery’s main gate, 2116 Chestnut Street.

Cost is $10 per adult, $8 per child (12 and under).

Call Caroline at (814) 868-4423 or email caroline.reichel19@gmail.com for reservations.

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Between the States: Photographs of the American Civil War Exhibit Opening

Mercyhurst University, Cummings Art Gallery opening reception: Thu, June 12, 7pm – 9pm

Mercyhurst University’s Cummings Art Gallery has a new show opening on Thursday, June 12th. It will run through August 13th, 2014. Erie Yesterday’s events calendar describes the exhibit thusly:

a traveling exhibit from the George Eastman House commemorating the 150th anniversary of “Mr. Lincoln’s War.” The traveling exhibit presents a selection of facsimile photographs of historical Civil War sites and circumstances by photographers including George Barnard, Mathew Brady, and Alexander Gardner.

Mounted as a traditional exhibition, Between the States is divided into sections that address points of interest from photographic history and civil war events. These sections include Gardner’s Sketchbook, Brady’s Album Gallery, Civil War Personalities, Portraits of Soldiers, The CSS Alabama, and The Lincoln Conspiracy.

Cummings Gallery Summer Hours: Monday- Friday, 11am-4pm
For more information call (814) 824-2092.

 

 

Erie Cemetery Association’s Online Interment Database

The Erie Cemetery Association manages three separate cemeteries in Erie, Erie County, Pennsylvania:

  • Erie Cemetery, 2116 Chestnut Street, Erie
  • Wintergreen Gorge Cemetery, 2601 Norcross Road, Erie
  • Laurel Hill Cemetery, 4523 Love Road, Erie

The plan for a private, non-denominational cemetery in Erie was hatched in 1846, when a handful of residents offered to, at their own expense, purchase an appropriately sized piece of land; however, it did not officially get underway until December 1849, when a larger group of local citizens agreed to purchase seventy–five acres for $7,500. [1]

Those acquainted with Erie’s early history will no doubt recognize the names of some of the area’s earliest and best known pioneer families among the list of thirty–one subscribers who contributed financially to the project:

$100 each
C.M. REED
George A. ELIOT
William HIMROD
H.CALDWELL
George A. LYON
Elisha BABBITT
A.W. BREWSTER
J.A. TRACY
J.C. SPENCER
Joseph M. STERRETT
J.H.WILLIAMS
M. COURTRIGHT
Irvin CAMP
C.M. TIBBALS
William NICHOLSON
William A. BROWN
J.C. MARSHALL
B.B. VINCENT
T. G. COLT
P. ARBUCKLE
James SKINNER
S. JACKSON
P. METCALF
John HUGHES

$50 each
John GALBRAITH
P.E. BARTON
William KELLEY
F. SCHNEIDER
William W. REED
M.W. CAUGHEY
Walter CHESTER

Some additional contributors:
Mrs. R.S. REED, $50
John EVANS, $50
M.B. LOWRY, $50
J.C. BEEBE, $25
Thomas H. SILL, $25
John P. VINCENT, $25
John MOORE, $25
Andrew SCOTT, $10

On 29 January 1850, the cemetery was incorporated, and shortly thereafter the incorporators elected a board of seven managers: Charles M. REED, George A. ELIOT, William KELLEY, John GALBRAITH, Elisha BABBITT, William HIMROD, and A.W. BREWSTER. That seven in turn elected officers: George A. ELIOT, President, William A. BROWN, Secretary, and J.C. SPENCER, Treasurer. The group was granted deed on the land with a down payment of $1,500 and the understanding that the remaining $6,000 balance owed would be raised through the sale of burial lots.

H. Daniels was hired to design the grounds and the cemetery opened for business 20 May 1851.

Map of the Erie Cemetery Lots

Reprinted with the kind permission of Erie Cemetery Association

Reprinted with the kind permission of Erie Cemetery Association

The association’s website has some interesting information about the history of the cemetery, and biographies of some of its more famous residents. There is a searchable index of interments, although the burial records themselves are not accessible online.

To illustrate the detail available on the cemetery association’s website, I searched the interment index for records related to the Nicholson family, one of the earliest to settle in West Millcreek and Fairview. A sampling of information the search produced:

 

Name

Lot

Additional Details

Birth

Death

Nicholson Dr. John

17

H

09/02/1830

08/01/1862

Nicholson Eliza Jane

17

H

4.5′ W of NE cor Hd N

03/23/1894

Nicholson George

1

H

Reint fr Presbyterian Grounds 3/25/1852

01/24/1834

Nicholson George Sheldon

1

H

03/29/1854

10/26/1856

Nicholson Henry C.

1

H

Inner circle, E line, Hd E

11/25/1903

Nicholson Jane

1

H

Reint fr Presbyterian Grounds 3/27/1852

12/07/1847

Nicholson Jane

1

H

Reint fr Assoc Reform Grounds 6/22/1854

Nicholson Jane

1

H

Inner crcl abt 4.5′ W of Alex’s stone, Hd SW

01/13/1899

Nicholson Jane Ball

1

H

12/10/1850

08/16/1853

Nicholson John

1

H

Reint fr Presbyterian Grounds

04/26/1845

Nicholson John E.

17

H

12/23/1797

01/01/1864

Note: Some of the NICHOLSONs listed above died before the cemetery was established. The family, quite affluent in their community, purchased a large lot and had the remains exhumed from their original resting places and re-interred in the family lot. I suspect they were not the only family to do so.

[1] Samuel P. Bates, History of Erie County, Pennsylvania: containing a history of the county, its townships, towns, villages, schools, churches, industries, etc., portraits of early settlers and prominent men, biographies, history of Pennsylvania, statistical and miscellaneous matter, etc., etc.. (Chicago: Warner & Beers, 1884), 605-6.