MUNICIPALITY:  Woodward Township
CEMETERY NAME:   Dunnstown Cemetery SCHADT NUMBER:  024


Number of Burials (approximate):  5000

Dates of Activity:  1790 - present



The Cemeteries of Woodward Township, Clinton County, Pennsylvania (CCGS) (2005)



From the intersection of North Jay and East Church Streets in Lock Haven (PA Route 120), turn right onto East Church Street.  Travel 0.1 mile, and turn left onto North Henderson Street.  Travel a block and turn right onto East Main Street (PA Route 150).  Travel 1.0 miles, over the Constitution Bridge and into Dunnstown.  Turn right onto Church Street.  Travel 0.2 miles and the cemetery will be on both sides of the road, with the church on your right.

GPS = N41 08.572 W77 25.192

Landowner / Caretaker:

Dunnstown Cemetery Association

c/o Nancy Aurand

146 South Allegheny Street

Lock Haven, PA 17745






William Dunn, a veteran of the American Revolution, was an early settler in what is now Woodward Township.  It is said that he purchased his land first from the Indians, and later from the government by way of land warrant in 1785.  He owned the well-known Great Island in the Susquehanna River near Lock Haven.  In 1792, Dunn commenced laying out Dunnsburg on a portion of his property overlooking the Island.  At this time, he made provision for a cemetery to be established within its limits.

The cemetery was soon put to use, and the first known grave is that of William Baird, another early settler, who died Sept. 2, 1792, aged 79 years.  This is probably the oldest marked grave in Clinton County.  Burials continued in this small burying-ground overlooking the Great Island, many of them with no markers whatsoever.  Peter Grove, prominent Indian fighter, was buried in this cemetery after he drowned in 1802.  William Dunn died in 1809 and together with his wife, known on her grave marker only as "M. Dunn," were buried in the small community cemetery.

Next to the cemetery, a small log church had been built at a very early day, and here the Methodists met regularly for worship.  In 1851, this church was replaced with the present church structure, which now serves the Dunnstown United Methodist Church.  The cemetery has always remained separate from the church.

As the old burying-ground began to fill up with graves, several additions were made over the years.  Samuel Smithmade an addition just behind the church and a slight distance westward; George D. Millermade an extensive addition just west of the Samuel Smith.  Below these, J. J. Miller  added land south of the Samuel Smith, bringing the cemetery to the edge of the cliff.  S. N. Christie, W. J. Smith, and T. M. Christie each added land going west from this, bringing the cemetery out to North Allegheny Street. On the north side of Church Street, A. Wayne Myers made an addition next to King Alley.  Above this, Samuel Shoemaker added land, followed by Edward T. Millerand Richard Waltz, to bring the cemetery north to Jay Street.  East of the Richard Waltz, John Yost laid out a series of lots on his land.  These additions are how records are classified.

An interesting feature of these additions was that they were made in name only.  Each of these individuals laid out lots on their own land as an addition to the cemetery, but never officially transferred land to the cemetery.  They were (and are) responsible for laying out and selling their own lots, and these landowners profited from the additions made to the cemetery.  Lots are uniformly eight graves, except in the Yost addition, where single graves are sold.  The lots can also be sold in half or quarter lots.  Almost all lots in all sections have been sold.  It is important to note that the original section of the cemetery, to the east of the church, has no discernible lot records, although it appears that families were usually buried together in this section, and descendants provided perpetual care money for some of these 'lots' in later years.

The Dunnsburg Cemetery Company was chartered in the Court of Common Pleas of Clinton County, PA, on 25 April 1892.  The original eight trustees were A. C. Kissell, John W. Smith, John Q. Baird, John J. Miller, Nathan McCloskey, Theodore Myers, John Reitzel, and James King.Nathan McCloskey was the first president and Mr. Kissell the secretary-treasurer.

The actual maintenance of the cemetery grounds is vested in this volunteer cemetery association, which operates on the interest from a perpetual care fund which was created by contacting lot owners in the 1960s and 1970s.  At that time, all lot owners were identified on a card system and all known burials were recorded at that time, and have been updated since then on the cards.  No prior records of interments are known to exist.  The present secretary of the cemetery association is Mrs. Nancy Aurand, and she has graciously and tirelessly spent over 20 hours with CCGS to produce the most accurate record of burials possible for this cemetery.  CCGS sincerely salutes Nancy for her generous help.

Through those records, we located many unmarked graves, which we tried to place within the listings in their proper place, where possible. While, in most cases, we identified the correct location of the grave on the lot, the actual placement on the lot was usually a matter of conjecture, as records were not that detailed.  The reader should be aware that an unmarked grave may be located on another space in the eight-grave lots, four in front and four in back.  Half lots denoted with East and West have four graves side by side.  Half lots denoted with North and South have two graves in front and two graves in back.

We have also compared our readings of the stones to the readings of Mrs. Adella Spangler, done in the 1920s, and a partial reading done by the DAR in the 1950s.  Vivian Welch and John Johnstonbaughalso made a reading of this cemetery, about 15 years ago. 

During the 1960s, several additional changes were made to the Dunnstown Cemetery.  The old burying-ground section had fallen into disrepair, and efforts were made to restore it.  Some old stones, pieces of stones, and footstones had been discarded down over an embankment over the years, and a crew of volunteers recovered these markers from oblivion.  They filled in a collapsed swale at the end of the cemetery and re-erected the markers in a row there.  Thus, Row 1 of our Section 1 does not mark the exact graves, but was the place chosen to restore these discarded markers, which probably originally came from all over that section.

Additionally, during the 1960s, the Dunnstown Methodist Church saw a need to expand and add a fellowship hall to its building.  This encroached upon the oldest part of the cemetery, and approximately 30 graves had to be removed from this section next to the church.  They were exhumed and the surviving remains were removed to a half-lot in Section 2, and reburied.  The gravestones were laid down flat on the half-lot, where they are located today.

The cemetery is very well maintained and is quite active.