The Protestant Cemetery
Researched and compiled by
A History of the Protestant Cemetery in Nesquehoning Pennsylvania
The property situated between Center Street on the North and Railroad Street on the South was deeded to the people of the town of Nesquehoning at a cost of $1 by the Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company (LC&N) for use as a cemetery by the Protestant churches of Nesquehoning in 1881.
There exists a hand-written record, a journal, detailing all of the burials, each family's contributions toward the building of the fences, the sale of plots, etc. This begins with the formation of the first cemetery association in 1883 and continues to the present time. However, the precious old record book is deteriorating, just as the cemetery is beginning to also. This led us to document the cemetery using information from the old journal, plot maps and an actual physical survey of the cemetery itself. This last proved somewhat difficult as there are no physical boundaries of plots and many stones are missing, fallen over or illegible due to time and erosion.
The first quarterly meeting of the cemetery association was held on June 9, 1883.It was decided that each plot holder would pay $.50 per month toward upkeep of the grounds, which could be deducted from their paycheck by the coal company. It was also decided that church members could buy a plot for $7.00, which was raised to $9.00 by the late 1800's.For the most part, they paid in installments each time they had to "take out a permit" to bury a loved one. The permit, in the beginning, was $.25 and the cost was increased over time. Some of the plots were divided in half and sold to other relatives or church members, or sold back to the association. The earliest burials on record are in 1881.
The land was divided into burial plots that were approximately 9ft. by 21 ft. and originally would allow for the burial of 6 persons on each. There are 136 plots on the West side and 192 on the East side of the center walkway. Provisions for a "Potters Field" were made at the West end of the cemetery.
Each member of the church who owned a plot, donated an amount toward a wood fence which surrounded the entire cemetery in 1883.This was later replaced with a wrought iron fence in 1893, again financed by the people. Part of this fence still exists, although it needs repairs. The upper part of the cemetery, which is bound by Railroad St., had a rock retaining wall which, over the years, since there were no provisions for drainage, has heaved as a result of freezing and subsequently, portions are collapsing. A large section has been replaced with a poured concrete wall, supported by buttresses. Another section has since collapsed and has not been replaced due to lack of funds. As a result, the backfill and road base are encroaching into the cemetery.
This history, along with the complete burial record (copied from the church record/log), was copied and researched by Frank and Susan Penberth Boyd during September and October of 1997 and working into 1998, along with the help of Charles Gilbert and Robert and Anna DuVal. Susan has been interested in genealogy and for the last 3 or 4 years has been researching Penberths and Trevenas both in the United States and England, Wales. She has also been finding the Bock-Amberly, Wisley-Oxley-Ratcliff connections in the United States and England, Wales and Ireland in relation to the LeRoy Bock-Adeline Wisley families, who were former in-laws of Susan's.
It really became a joy to work in the cemetery, particularly after Susan first looked at the old register and found that a long-searched for great uncle of hers was found in the record of the permits for burial -- but, not recorded on the tombstone belonging to her great grandparents. We also uncovered a few of the many stones that had fallen and sunk below ground level. One of these had information on a person whose family had been looking for a record of her whereabouts for the last 15 years. For all of these reasons it is very important to be able to visit a cemetery and learn much of the history of your family.
This database was generated on an IBM compatible personal computer (PC).The operating system was MS Windows for Workgroups version 3.11 and the MSWorks application was utilized for word processing and database generation.
This documented account of the Protestant Cemetery in Nesquehoning is in loving memory of my parents John & Grace Gimbi Penberth, my grandparents John & Emma Harris Penberth and my great-grandparents John Henry & Emma Trevena Penberth.
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