On Monday, October 1, 2019 Grace United Church of Christ (UCC), continued its preservation program for the German Reformed Cemetery (established 1786) on S. Carlisle St. Shull-Koontz Memorials of Chambersburg was contracted to repair the two impressive marble obelisks in the cemetery. One was for Reverend F. A. Scholl and his wife Elizabeth and the other was for Mr. Adam Shirey and his wife Elizabeth. Rev. Scholl was the pastor for the German Reformed Church (now Grace UCC) from 1818 to 1833 and helped to transition the church from the German language to English. The other obelisk is for Mr. Shirey and his wife Elizabeth; he was a prosperous wagon maker and lived near Greencastle and was a neighbor to Rev. Scholl.
Both obelisks were leaning at a dangerous angle and the spires needed to be leveled and straightened to keep them from falling. Each monument weighs about 1,000 pounds and erected in the 1860s. The workmen, Dennis Shaw and associate Charles “Chuck” Miller, of Shull-Koontz were prompt and professional,” said Jack Webb, volunteer cemetery caretaker. They disassembled each spire into its original three to five pieces. After the stones were disassembled and placed in a safe place, each foundation was leveled and repaired. “Then came the tricky part,” Jack added, “when each piece was cleaned, restacked, leveled and adjoining edges were sealed to the piece below it. And, finally the tall spire was hoisted into place with the precision of a jeweler!”
Grace UCC is committed to preserving this Greencastle landmark for future generations to learn and enjoy; as well as for the remembrance of our town’s ancestors. Already completed is the map of the cemetery showing each grave, a book listing each headstone with its map location, and a listing of all graves that have been removed over the years to be interred at Cedar Hills Cemetery with other later deceased relatives. A sign has been installed on the back of the German Reformed Cemetery sign on S. Carlisle St listing the name on almost all the 300+ headstone and a map to find its location. (See Echo Pilot, April18, 2019 https://www.echo-pilot.com/news/20190418/german-reformed-cemetery-is-mapped-and-documented.) The cemetery and names are listed in the Find a Grave database; listed with the Pennsylvania Bureau of Historic Preservation – Cemetery in Harrisburg, PA; and added to library of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City. Future plans for the cemetery include a change 1 to the Cemetery research book and straightening headstones and repairing broken stones.
The Church would greatly appreciate donations for the continued maintenance and preservation of the cemetery; please make these donations to the “German Reformed Cemetery Fund” and mailed to Grace UCC, PO Box 448, Greencastle, PA 17225. Individuals who wish to volunteer to help with the cemetery preservation are asked to email Jack Webb at firstname.lastname@example.org. These projects range from low-impact research and typing; to medium-stress data collection in the cemetery and gently cleaning the stones; to strenuous headstone foundation repair. None are professional-grade repairs but there is training and a job for everyone! No person has been buried in the cemetery since 1890, thus making it the perfect capsule of the history of Greencastle.
Check out the list of headstones listed on the back of the German Reformed Cemetery sign in the cemetery, many descendants of those folks still live in the area! Jack Webb is working on a family tree for each person buried in the cemetery; send an email, drop by and help Jack fill out your family tree.