|While not entirely within the geographical borders of
Schuylkill Haven, the Union Cemetery is probably most
often thought of as the "town cemetery". Located off of
North Garfield Avenue, it partially lies within North
Manheim Township. The grounds of the cemetery are
adjacent to the Jerusalem Cemetery. On the northern
edge lies Mount Nebo, a section of the cemetery
generally known as the burial place of black residents of
the area. A mausoleum is also located on the grounds.
|Many prominent residents of Schuylkill Haven have
found their final resting place in the Union
Cemetery. Below you will find pictures of their
headstones and a brief description of who they are.
|If you have any information or history on the Union Cemetery you would like to share, please send it to:
|The headstones of Schuylkill Haven's two Civil War Medal of Honor recipients, Charles Brown on
the left and Henry Hill on the right.
|The mausoleum at the top of the hill in Union Cemetery is marked
1947 but was completed in 1949.
|The veteran's plot at Union Cemetery with many Civil War and
World War One veteran's graves.
|Two prominent members of
the Dreibelbis family. At left
is Martin, the recognized
founder of Schuylkill Haven
and to the right his son
Jacob who laid out the plan
for the town.
|Two men who gave their lives for their country in World War One are buried at Union Cemetery.
On the left is the stone of Isaac Burkert who died in 1918. The stone is only a memorial as he is as
the stone states "At rest in France". On the right is the grave of Lieutenant Ivan L. Lautenbacher
who was killed in action in the Argonne Forest, also in 1918.
|The Schuylkill Canal was important in the development of
Schuylkill Haven. Lock keeper John Boussum at left and
canal boat builder Abner High above both were involved
with the canal.
|Gideon Bast was an astute and wealthy businessman in Schuylkill Haven in the 1800s. His marker is
on the left and is located in the family plot with it's impressive center stone on the right.
|The tombstone of Charlie Lins
is one of the more attractive
stones in the cemetery with an
angel perched atop the obelisk.
|George Gangloff was a judge in Schuylkill County. His tombstone is seen above left and a
campaign card is shown at right.
|The Union Cemetery received it's charter from Pennsylvania on February 27, 1854. However, headstones
indicate that burials had taken place there since at least 1837. The original cemetery was a part of the Gideon
Bast farm. The farm house was located on Centre Avenue near where the former United Church of Christ
parsonage now stands. He offered to sell eight acres of his farm on the hillside for $800.
Gideon Bast, Charles Dengler, John D. Deebert, Benjamin Delong, Abraham Boyer, Isaac Kulp, Levi Schaeiff,
William Fisher and Andrew Keefer were the original directors. In 1871, the board met with members of the local
Grand Army of the Republic in regard to a plot of donated ground for the burial of deceased soldiers. This was
later expanded upon when a plot was given to the American Legion for the burial of veterans.
Over time the cemetery expanded from eight to twenty one acres. The first addition to the original plot was
purchased from the Lehigh Valley Railroad. Another portion was later purchased from the Heinbach estate. The
mausoleum, completed in 1949, is perched near the top of the hill in the cemetery.
The cemetery is reminiscent of it's Victorian era roots with tree lined lanes, large family plots and steps and walls
within it's confines. The large variety of tombstones and the presence of graves of many of Schuylkill Haven's
well known citizens makes it well worth a stroll on a pleasant afternoon.
|LAST UPDATED: JANUARY 8
|Louisa Heston Paxson, daughter of
Revolutionary Soldier, Colonel
Edward Heston was a charter
member of the DAR.
|Henry Stager was very involved in
the Patriotic Order of Sons of
America as can be observed by
reading his impressive stone.
|The stone of George Keller, well
known local Boy Scout leader is
adorned with the group's symbol.
|This unusual stone marks the
graves of Geiger family
members. Zoom in to see the
|The impressive monument of Civil
War Major S. A. Losch dominates
those surrounding it.
|Perhaps the heaviest stone in the
cemetery, this monument to the
Wiederhold/Hornickel families is adorned
with a detailed anchor and cross.
|All rights reserved.
|James G. Anderson is generally acknowledged
as the only soldier from Schuylkill Haven that
was killed in action during the Vietnam War.
|Two of the men from Schuylkill Haven who gave their lives during
World War Two are buried here. On the left is the stone of Russell
Mengle and above is the stone of Sterling Knarr, his name
inscribed on his parents stone. The stone notes that he is buried
in Belgium. The grave of his father has a World War One service
medal and the grave of his mother has a Gold Star Mother Medal.
|The Union Cemetery contains other stones
whose attraction lies in their unique design
or their ornateness as seen below.
|This beautifully cut stone with
an open Bible on top for Mary
Guldin was placed by an
obviously loving husband a
century and a half ago.
|The grave stone of Ray Bressler,
member of the famed 103 RD Engineers
unit of World War One, is shaped like a
book standing on end.
|Another large monument in the
cemetery marks the graves of
William and Isabella Rudy
|Captain James Helms was another Civil
War veteran active in the Patriotic
Order of Sons of America and also the
GAR. See the Civil War page for more
information on his life.
|On the left is the stone of Lieutenant S. B. Laubenstein, who died
during the Civil War, but is not listed on the monument in town. He
was born near Friedensburg, but later lived in Schuylkill Haven.
His story is on the Civil War page of this site. Note the detailed
sword carved into the upper segment. Above are the intricate
stone crosses of Phillip and Alice Drumheller.
|Many early businessmen and
entrepreneurs are buried at the
Union Cemetery. Below are two with
more to be added in the near future.
|On the left is the marker of Hugh N. Coxe, prominent area druggist who manufactured Wild Cherry
and Seneca Tonic and Santorine Worm Syrup. On the right is town pharmacist Charles Commings
and his wife. Both were well known in the immediate area for their concoctions.
|Pottsville Republican of October 22, 1921
POS of A UNVEILS MONUMENT TO H. J. STAGER AT SCHUYLKILL HAVEN
Prominent officers of the National and State Camps of the P.O.S. of A. from every section of the state, gathered at
Schuylkill Haven this afternoon at two o’clock, for the purpose of paying tribute to the memory of Henry J. Stager,
formerly of Schuylkill Haven, who died in 1919 after a career that marked him as the most prominent member and
worker the order has ever had. The meeting today was held for the purpose of not only paying tribute to the
distinguished member of the order, but for the purpose of dedicating in the Union cemetery the monument to his
memory. The stone was erected through the contributions of every camp in the state.
Mr. Stager who was born in Schuylkill Haven in 1842, and during his career of seven years was National
president, State president, National secretary, State secretary, Past Commander in Chief of the Commandery
General, and founder of the Camp Sews, the official organ of the order.
The monument, a huge block of uncut stone on a double base of hewn marble, contains a facsimile of the Camp
News engraved on the front, with the dates of birth and death engraved on the pages. The record of Mr. Stager
is recorded on the base slab.
Among the notables who attended the ceremony were: National president Gabriel H. Moyer of Lebanon, who
delivered the dedicatory address; state president O. B. Wetherhold of Reading, chairman of the meeting;
National secretary Herman G. Miller, of Easton; National treasurer J.W. Reese, of St. Clair; State vice president, A.
D. Boyer, Pottsville; State master of forms, James Pyle, Lancaster; State Treasurer, I.S. Smith, Reading; State
secretary C.B. Helms, Philadelphia; State guard, Philip Weist, Shamokin, State inspector, Clarence Silknitter,
Huntingdon, Rev. T.J. Hacker, of Reading, state chaplain, officiated. The monument was unveiled by Miss Alice C.
Stager, Pottsville, granddaughter of Mr. Stager.
Mr. Stager in addition to his other activities, was also a member of the Valley Forge Memorial Commissions. The
dedication was attended by probably the most representative gathering ever held by the P.O.S. of A. in the state.
Seldom has there been a gathering where both the National and State Camps were so fully represented.
The ceremonies were held in the Union cemetery following a parade which was formed at the Hotel Grand in
charge of a committee consisting of Willis Kauterman, E.J. Scherer, H.A. Reber, George Keller, Llewellyn Fisher
and Warren Lesser from Camp 47 of Sch. Haven under the chairmanship of Foster C. Fahl. Following the
dedication the State and National officers planned to stay in Pottsville overnight, in order to attend the county
rally to be held in the armory this evening.
|New story on the 100th anniversary of the
organization of the Union Cemetery in 1854 just
New headstones to be added in spring.
|Two other interesting
tombstones are present at the
cemetery. At left is the marker
for Augusta Seitz. Note the
huge cross. At right, a Levan
family obelisk contains intricate
|This large plot marker is for the Coldren family, owner of the mill in town, and the
Kerkeslager family, one member who owned a brewery at the corner of Saint
John and Union Streets.
|Here are three more obelisk style tombstones that grace the grounds of the cemetery. At left
is a stone for the Fesler family. It has a very unusual top on it, almost like a roof. The center
stone of the Maberry family has an ornate carving on the column. The stone on the right is
for the Loose family and although rather plain, it towers over most in this section.
|This Reed family stone is
low to the ground but
unusual with its scroll
laying over a tree stump.
|Elias Ziegenfus was one of
the early undertakers, now
known as funeral
directors, to do business
|The stone of Adam Burket
lies in the family plot. He
was killed in the storage
yards. His tale is on the
Railroad page of this site.
|The Call of November 18, 1893
The authorities of the Union Cemetery have cleared the trees that had remained on a portion of it and laid it out
in lots. They are making a road to the left as you enter the cemetery to reach this portion. They desire to
enlarge the cemetery and have sought to purchase some of the land adjoining it for that purpose but thus far
they have been unable to come to satisfactory terms with the owners who desire very exorbitant prices for
their land. They have received a very reasonable offer of a piece of land very suitable for a cemetery
elsewhere and they have the offer in contemplation and may purchase the land and convert it into a cemetery.
|The Call of December 30, 1893
We publish in another
column the financial
statement of the Schuylkill
Haven Union Cemetery. The
company consists of Messrs.
Robert Sterner, Jacob S.
Kline, C. V. B. Deibert, P. C.
Detweiler, M. F. Pflueger,
Cyrus Witman, Elijah Emerich,
William F. Stitzer, Mahlon M.
Saylor and Henry Fisher, with
Robert Sterner, President, P.
C. Detweiler, Secretary and
Elijah Emerich, Treasurer.
The report shows the
company to be in very good
financial condition which is
brought about by the
successful management of
the affairs of the company by
its efficient corps of officers
and managers. They
expended a considerable
sum of money during the
year. With this money they
greatly improved the
condition of the cemetery
and have made it a very
desirable burial ground.
|The article below and the balance sheet
at right appeared in the Call newspaper at
the end of 1893.
|The Call of November 17, 1916
GHOST ON UNION CEMETERY
Taking advantage of the fine weather on Sunday evening last, about 8:30 o’clock, a half dozen or more people
ventured to the Union Cemetery and climbed to the top of the team road. No sooner had they reached the top
when they discovered what they thought was a ghost, a black ghost, with four legs, hopping from one tombstone
to another and appearing first here and then some distance away. Just how these people managed to get to the
bottom of the hill and then down Garfield Avenue to Centre Avenue they refuse to explain. One female of the
party lost her hair, another her hat while several of the male members lost their breath and their religion. They
never returned to investigate just what kind of a ghost it really was. Monday morning about nine o’clock the
entire ghost story was cleared up. It appears that Sunday evening merchant John Freeman was leading his
horse to water. The horse broke away and took to the hills. Efforts were made to locate the horse but were
unsuccessful. Finally the search was given up until Monday morning when several children on their way to
school stopped in the store and told John his horse was running loose in the cemetery. It was easily captured.
Now John just can’t quite figure out why the horse went to the cemetery. The animal is only six years of age,
entirely too young to think of dying and besides it has not been suffering with any disease that would cause it to
think of an early grave.
|This picture shows the gate at the Garfield Avenue entrance to the cemetery.
It is the Clarence and Rosanna Snyder family who lived across the street.
PICTURE COURTESY OF SUSAN DEIBLER
|This self explanatory picture is shown courtesy of Susan Deibler.
|In the Call of May 26, 1899, The
following appeared in preparation
for Memorial Day.
George W. Burton
Pat F Cooligan
Fred W. Snyder
Daniel F. Burket
John D. Grim
8th Pa Cav
58th Pa Vol
116th Pa Vol
69th Pa Vol
|The following are the names of soldiers buried
in Union Cemetery, Schuylkill Haven:
Charles S. Leader William Fox
John J. Harnum S. B. Laubenstein
John Eckert Isaac Eckert
Stoughton Kiehner Romandus Harner
Peter Dilcamp William H. Koch
Alpheus Combs William Koch
Emanuel Bast Jacob Ebert
William Feger William Reppard
James Lash Franklin Burns
John Weand John Wood
William J. Hein Jackson Delong
Jacob Honnicker Henry W. Guertler
George Shreck John Katterman
H. J. Bashore G. W. Frehafer
Joshua Heiser Charles F. Kantner
Albert W. Kantner James Delong
Henry R. Quinter John Hill
Daniel Yost Michael Kerkeslager
Amos Paff Henry C. Freed
Henry Wright B. F. Zimmerman
Lewis Heisler John G. Kaufman
John Fableau John Byerly
Thomas Raber Edward Brown
Alfred Streickler Adam Delong
Daniel Small Jerome Hoffman
John Bassler Augustus Mellon
Clinton H. Koons Joseph Rupp
Elias Berger Henry B. Christian
James K. Helms John Meck
Charles Jorden Charles R. Guertler
James Moyer Augustus Palsgrove
Israel Dewald George W. Lloyd
Andrew Krebs Frederick Scheck
Frank Reed Jerome Coneycomb
Lewis Smith Peter Barr
Samuel Byerly John J. Palsgrove
John Armstrong Samuel Shelenberger
Thomas Robinson H. G. Robinson
|The Call of May 6, 1932
BEAUTIFYING THE UNION CEMETERY
Considerable improvement in appearances has been brought about at the Union Cemetery in Schuylkill Haven
during the past week or two, by reason of the completion of some parts of quite a program that is to be followed
for beautifying the largest of the town's burial places. On both sides of the gate or main entrance to the grounds
from Garfield Avenue, the ground has been put on a sort of terrace and small trees have been planted. The
sides of the hill along the driveway entrance are to be planted with small trees, some of them having already
been placed. Around the entire cemetery is to be placed a hedge of barberry. Fences of wood that were in bad
condition and would have had to be rebuilt have already been removed. The hedge may be in position by
Memorial Day. Small trees are to be planted in different parts of the cemetery, particularly upon the newer or top
of the hill section, where it is possible to put into effect a definite ideal cemetery layout before all lots are
disposed of. Within a few months it is expected really marvelous improvements in appearances will have been
Editor's Note: And in making improvements to the Union Cemetery, might it not be a good idea to rebuild the
present dirt highways about this burial place or at least cover them with a coating of oil or give them a treatment
of tar or some other dust laying material? On the occasion of a funeral, it is rather annoying to passengers in
automobiles to be required to breathe in and be subjected to a thick coating of dust that is stirred up. Autoists,
too, find it rather provoking to see their specially washed and polished car being thoroughly dusted while
traveling over a very, very small section of the route which the funeral procession followed. If the Board has not
as yet given consideration to this item as a part of cemetery improvement, may we urge that it do so?
|The Call of May 10, 1935
SOLDIERS LOT TO BE REDEDICATED SUNDAY MAY 19TH
Sunday afternoon, May 19th, will witness an impressive ceremony in Schuylkill Haven. It will be the rededication
of the burial plot of the American Legion, this the 13th District. The plot is located on the Union Cemetery, on the
top of the hill, a short distance above the Schuylkill Haven American Legion plot. This plot of ground was
purchased several years ago by contributions received by all of the Legion Posts and Legion Auxiliaries in the
county. Eleven soldiers are buried on this plot, several being World war veterans, Spanish-American War
veterans, one Canadian soldier and several Civil war veterans, whose bodies were, through the efforts of the
Legion boys, moved from the County Pauper lot a year or two ago. There had been many kinds of markers. Now
all the markers are of standard style and uniform in size, furnished by the War Department. Four granite corner
posts bearing the American Legion insignia, with granite steps, in which are imprinted the words "13th District
American Legion", at the entrance, set off the plot. There is a forty foot flag pole planted on the plot. The grave
markers are two feet in height. The plot is covered with sod that the recent rains have brought out in close and
The ceremonies in connection with the rededication of the Legion plot will be participated in by the county. The
program and rededication exercises on the cemetery will be preceded by a parade from the Legion home to the
cemetery. The famous Mahanoy City Legion Band of sixty pieces, a musical organization that has won many
prizes throughout the state and the organization that made a fine impression on its previous visit to Schuylkill
Haven, will lead the parade column to the cemetery. The speaker of the afternoon will be Judge G. E. Gangloff.
Charles R. Gebhart. Past State Commander of the American Legion, will also be a speaker. Prayer will be offered
by Reverend Boyd. The plot will be presented by David Baird, District Vice Commander of the 13th District and
will be accepted by James Donohue of Coaldale, County District Commander.
|The Call of October 4, 1935
MANY IMPROVEMENTS BEING MADE TO UNION CEMETERY
Improvements in appearance and added convenience are being continued at the Union cemetery. The weather
permitted good progress to be made this week, to the plan adopted for the widening of a number of the roads on
the cemetery and making them of a permanent nature. The road roller of the borough is being employed for the
purpose and the method being followed is that laid down by Street Commissioner James Schucker. Curves are
being widened and grades being changed. In addition to the improvements thus being brought about in the
nature of roads on this cemetery, another program of work is to be started at once which will result in much
improved appearance of the cemetery. The cooperation for this result, however, will be necessary from owners
of burial lots. First of all, owners of burial lots who have the rail fences around the lots are requested to remove
the same at once. This request is being made first of all for appearance sake. Burial lots seem to look much
better without the rails that were popular and used some years ago quite extensively. Secondly for appearance
sake also. Water falling on the rails drips off at a point where the plate is attached in the center of the rail. He
water is impregnated with rust and the space underneath the rail where the water falls is bare of grass, the rusty
water having killed the grass and preventing new grass from growing. Examination of the rails around a number
of lots will prove the statement. At every spot where the water drops from the rails, grass will not grow. Open or
bare spaces on a lot that would otherwise be completely covered with grass, therefore, results.
All corners and footstones are also to be removed from lots. These made it very difficult to cut the grass evenly
and also prevent the burial lot from being kept at an even level and detracts from appearances. Pathways are to
be filled up even with the lots wherever this is possible. Concrete curbing has been placed at some points and
more will be placed to prevent the breaking down of the roads at points where they are above the level of the
burial lots. Curves have been widened. Up at the speaker's stand there will be a triangle plot of grass provided
between roads that merge at this point. The roads have been cut down several inches and will be covered with
amesite top dressing and stone chips. The assessment of two dollars on all burial lots that are not under
perpetual care is now due and the collector will call for the same shortly.
|The Call of July 7, 1939
WILL GO HARD WITH CEMETERY THIEVES
Someone or some persons, sooner or later, are going to much regret their actions as petty thieves, for the Union
Cemetery Association of Schuylkill Haven has decided to prosecute to the very limit of the law anyone who is
found guilty of the practice of thieving on the Union Cemetery. For some time there have been complaints from
lot owners of the theft of various articles. Not only have newly placed flowers and baskets been stolen, but
people have stooped to the trick of actually cutting off the bulbs of the early spring flowers. They remove the
same from the flower pots, cut off the bulbs and stick the flowers back into the crocks or pots again. Various
containers such as vases, pans, and boxes, all especially for cemetery use, have been stolen. Another trick
practiced is the removal of the ribbons from floral bouquets and designs placed on newly made graves. The
Cemetery Association regrets these occurrences very much and from the fact that the practice seems to be
gaining in occurrence, drastic measures are to be taken to put a stop to it.
|The Call of November 14, 1947
MAUSOLEUM EXTERIOR IS COMPLETED
The beautiful Haven Mausoleum, begun in October 1946, now has the exterior completed and work is being
continued on the interior so that the entire building may be completed this winter. Albert Ferrar, of the Atlantic
Mausoleum Company, builders of the impressive granite structure states that the mausoleum in the Union
Cemetery will be the finest and most beautiful mausoleum in the state. He expects construction to be finished
some time this winter and the landscaping and finishing touches completed in time for dedication ceremonies on
Memorial day. A few crypts are still available. Any person interested may secure information regarding the
mausoleum crypts from William R. Bittle.
|The Call of November 26, 1948
BEAUTIFUL MAUSOLEUM IS COMPLETED; DEDICATION PLANNED FOR DECEMBER 12
Two years after the start of construction, the Haven Mausoleum on top of Union Cemetery hill has been
completed and plans are being prepared for an appropriate dedication ceremony to be held on Sunday
afternoon, December 12th. At this time the building will be open for inspection by the public. The imposing
structure presents a picture of beauty atop the hill overlooking the town and gives the impression of a sacred
shrine that by its very construction will last forever. Constructed with North Carolina granite upon foundation
walls of reinforced concrete thirty three inches thick, the 98 by 60 foot building, although modern, is
conservative in design. Albert Ferrar, who as head of the Atlantic Mausoleum Company of Scranton, personally
supervised and aided in the construction of the Haven Mausoleum, stated that the building is the most beautiful
of its kind in Pennsylvania.
Entrance is made at the very center of the building through two wide doors. Directly opposite is a chapel which
will be available to those owning crypts. A comfortable temperature will be maintained by means of a hot air
heating system installed in the basement. In the center of the chapel is a large stained glass window depicting
Christ praying in the garden of Gethsemane. The entire interior is made of Tennessee marble, with gate sections
of bronze. Cathedral windows permit sunlight to enter providing a soft light to the interior. There is concealed
lighting illuminating the interior without detracting from its sacred appearance. Along the corridors there are 110
companion and forty single crypts with eighty smaller spaces to be used for the placing of ashes from cremation.
The companion crypts are for husband and wife, while the single crypts are for individuals. For those desiring to
have the family group remain together in death, four private family rooms and six family memorial sections have
been built. Each crypt is well ventilated, although completely sealed in concrete on all sides. Air entering ducts
in the foundation circulates through vents in the walls around all crypts and escapes through the top of the
building. The marble covering of the crypts is held in place until ready to be used by small metal pins which can
be removed to permit the crypt to be opened. After the crypt has been filled, and the concrete covering sealed,
the outer marble piece is put in place and sealed permanently.
On each of the companion crypts is a carved wreath. At a recent meeting of the Union Cemetery board, the
members decided that uniform initialing and lettering would be used throughout the mausoleum on the crypts.
The family initial will be placed inside the wreath and beneath this will be carved the family name. On each side
will be placed the name of the deceased with the dates of birth and death. Individual crypts and places for
cremation urns will contain the name and birth and death of the deceased. In the family sections and rooms the
family name appears in bronze in the bronze gate. Names and dates will appear in the marble coverings of the
crypts as they are used. Maroon broadloom carpeting is used from the entrance through the corridors and in the
chapel section. The mausoleum is complete except for furniture, including a lectern and six chairs, which has
been ordered and is expected to arrive in time for the dedication.
The mausoleum was erected after final plans and specifications had been submitted to the Union Cemetery
board for its inspection and approval. To assure proper upkeep of the structure, a permanent endowment fund
is set aside. This is included in the cost of the crypt and involves no further payments of any kind. D. Willis
Deibert, secretary of the Schuylkill Haven Union Cemetery, commended the builder, Mr. Ferrar, very highly for
the remarkable job he has done in constructing this beautiful building in the face of the shortages and steady
increases in cost of material and labor.
|The Call of May 27, 1954
UNION CEMETERY MARKING ITS 100TH YEAR
The Schuylkill Haven Union Cemetery is marking its 100th anniversary this year. The charter, issued by the
commonwealth and signed by the speaker of the House of Representatives and the speaker of the Senate is
dated February 27, 1854. As a burial place, however, the Union Cemetery dates back at least another seventeen
years. No records are available before the date of the charter but there are graves in the cemetery with
headstones as far back as 1837.
The original cemetery was a part of the Gideon Bast farm. The White Church parsonage, which was razed only a
few years ago when the new First Reformed parsonage was built, was the Bast farmhouse. Gideon Bast was one
of the first directors and offered to sell eight acres of his farm on the hillside to the newly chartered organization
for $800. The purchase was made. The original directors were: Bast, Charles Dengler, John D. Deebert,
Benjamin Delong, Abraham Boyer, Isaac Kulp, Levi Schaieff, Andrew Keefer and William Fisher. Dengler and
Delong were appointed "to locate and divide and layout said lot into burial lots" at the April 1854 meeting of the
board. According to the minutes found in the first minute book which is now in the possession of the present
secretary, D. Willis Deibert, the board met with Grand Army of the Republic members Holmes, Helms and Losch on
1871 with reference to a lot of ground donated for the burial of the deceased soldiers. This precedent was
followed by later directors of the cemetery when a large plot was given to the American Legion for the burial of
The passing years have seen a big change in expenses for the cemetery. In 1886 the sexton was paid $2.75 for
digging a small or child's grave and $4.50 for an adult's grave. For extra work or enlargement of the grave both
parties were to agree on the extra charge. Today the charge for digging a grave is $60.00. In the early days the
sexton was paid $1.25 a day. He now receives $1.25 an hour.
Up to 1892 no permits were required for burial and it wasn't until 1907 that a system of perpetual care for the
graves was inaugurated. Prior to this time the well to do families spent thousands of dollars for granite and
marble monuments and the graves were cared for by surviving members of the family. But when the immediate
families died, the grave became neglected and received no care. Today of the 1,800 lots in the cemetery, 1,100
are in perpetual care.
The original eight acres for burial purposes has been increased to a total of about twenty one acres. The original
plot is now known as Division A. The first addition to the cemetery was made when ground along the Lehigh
Valley Railroad was purchased and became known as Division B. Some time later a large plot known as Division C
was purchased from the Heinbach estate. The GAR burial plot is in the original eight acres, while the newer
American Legion plot is in Division C. Another special lot is one owned by the county for burial of soldier dead.
The most recent and certainly most beautiful addition to the cemetery was the erection of a 200 crypt mausoleum
in 1948 and 1949. With the mausoleum and the additional plots, the Union Cemetery is adequate for many years
to come as a final resting place for the dead. The Union Cemetery has between 500 and 600 lots for sale.
Among the estimated 7500 persons buried in Union Cemetery are many outstanding personages from the past.
Among them are: Major S. A. Losch, former State Senator; H. J. Stager, national president of P. O. S. of A. and one
of the organizers of the Grand Army of the Republic. His monument was also erected by the P. O. S. of A.
Another noted personage was Thomas Zulick, who was at one time governor of Arizona. Harry Zulick, former
head of Schuylkill Navigation Company also is buried in Union Cemetery. Captain Charles Brown, said to be the
only Civil War veteran of this community to receive the Legion of Honor award, was buried in the cemetery. A
more recent outstanding man given Union Cemetery as a final resting place was Charles E. Berger, a judge of the
Court of Common Pleas of Schuylkill County. One of the most costly and striking stones is that of John
Weiderhold and his niece, Mollie Hornicle. The couple lived on High Street for many years practically as recluses,
rarely associating with any of their neighbors. He died in 1910 and his niece in 1920. The monument on their
burial lot is one of the largest and most beautifully carved of any in Union Cemetery. The granite marker has
carved in it a large anchor and a large cross. The reason for the anchor is not known, as those who knew Mr.
Weiderhold did not know of any association with the sea.
Anyone walking through the cemetery will find many quaint and interesting epitaphs. Hours can be spent in
looking at the old monuments and reading the inscriptions on them. The old practice of holding an election of
directors every year on the cemetery on the Fourth of July has long been discontinued But the present day
directors, who serve without pay, continue the active interest of the earlier directors who saw that the nonprofit
organization, the Union Cemetery, kept pace with the times.
The present officers are as follows: G. I. Bensinger, president; D. M. Bittle, treasurer; Roy Wagner, Howard
Kimmel, Willis Reed, Charles Lechner, John I. C. Smith, Ivan Quinter and William T. Schlappich, directors and
managers. The sexton is Roy Moyer who is assisted by Clinton Fidler.