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Memorial Day, 1939
Pleasant Valley Volunteer Fire Department,
O'Hara Township, PA


Every year on Memorial Day, the Pleasant Valley Fire Department would have a parade starting from Sharpsburg and proceeding up the hill of Kittanning Pike.  They would accompany the remaining Civil War Veterans to the Civil War Memorial at Greenwood Cemetery.  There would be a ceremony for the fallen veterans of that war.  The ceremony, of course, became a tribute to other wars the US soldiers had fought in.  Helen Ferber, the daughter of cemetery caretaker Albert Ferber, moved with her family into the Greenwood Cemetery house in 1921 on her 6th birthday.  She remembered the veterans and the rest of the parade walking up the hill of the “Pike”.  But as the years proceeded, more and more veterans would have to be driven by car to the cemetery.

Many of the last veterans to participate in these years of the 1920s were men who had signed up during the last 2 years of the Civil War and were only teenagers at the time they joined.

This photo is the Pleasant Valley Fire Department and its Ladies Auxiliary, taken on Memorial Day 1939.  The last Civil War veteran interred in Greenwood was David H. Lindsay, who passed away on August 7, 1933.  Born in East Liberty in 1845, he was recovering from illness in Washington at the end of the war and happened to be in Ford’s Theater the night Abraham Lincoln was shot.  The family tradition is that he knew the 4 men who carried Lincoln to the house across the street from the theater, where he died.  David died in Allison Park and is interred near the Civil War Memorial.


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The man kneeling in the center of the front row of the photo was George Weir, the head of the fire department.  He died in a fire in his home on Kittanning Pike in February of 1940 when he investigated smoke in the house and became trapped in the basement.  The house was destroyed and his wife permanently crippled when she leaped from a second story window to escape the flames.




Greenwood Cemetery Entrance Gates, 1930s
O'Hara Township, PA

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A 1930s view of the gates dedicated to Greenwood Cemetery (photographed) by Mrs. Ida K Mulholland Ford, the widow of the Honorable Thomas J. Ford of Aspinwall.  Judge Ford was born in Cincinnati Ohio and admitted to the bar in 1880 while living in Etna with his mother and step-father Charles Frayer.  He was a member of the PA House of Representatives from 1898 to 1903.  He then served as a judge in Allegheny County at the Court of Common Pleas.  He died on December 3, 1930 and is interred in Greenwood’s Section 4.

The iron bars have long since been removed, but the pillars still stand at the entrance to Greenwood.

©2010, Diane Nichols, Historian for Greenwood Cemetery, 150atf@salsgiver.com

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