CEMETERY NAME:   Highland Cemetery SCHADT NUMBER:  038


Number of Burials (approximate):  6000

Dates of Activity:  1862 - present



Highland Cemetery, Lock Haven, Clinton County, Pennsylvania

(CCGS 2008)


From the intersection of Jay and Water Streets in Lock Haven (at the Courthouse), proceed west on Water Street for 1 mile.  Turn left (at the traffic light) onto Fairview Street.  Proceed 0.1 mile and turn right on Akeley Lane (formerly called Sixth Street).  Proceed 0.1 mile up the hill on Akeley Lane, which leads directly into the cemetery.

GPS = N41 08.232 W77 27.725

Landowner / Caretaker:

Highland Cemetery

Lock Haven, PA



Very Good; needs funding for regular maintenance, clearing of some fallen limbs and resetting of stones



The movement for “garden-style” cemeteries, with winding pathways and scenic vistas was begun in Europe with Pere-LaChaise Cemetery in Paris in 1815, and soon spread to America, with the founding of Mount Auburn Cemetery in Massachusetts in 1825.  Soon, towns across the country were developing these aesthetically pleasing burial grounds.  It seems that, in central Pennsylvania, every county seat has such a cemetery, and Lock Haven is no exception.

The desire for a new cemetery arose from some necessity, for burials had been made since 1791 in the Old Lock Haven/Great Island Presbyterian Cemeteries on Bellefonte Avenue on the west end of town, but this burial ground was in chronic disrepair and situated in an unfavorable location, considering the expansion of the community.  The growing borough, and ultimately city, of Lock Haven was in need of a more appropriate place for interment, and more land was essential to accommodate the increasing number of residents.   The old graveyard fell into disuse, and finally succumbed to development in 1918.  Burials had also been made in a few private sites within the city limits, but as the city developed, these became impractical to continue.

Maynard, in his Historical View of Clinton County (1875), writes: 

“The Highland Cemetery was incorporated by act of Assembly approved May 1st, 1861, with the following named gentlemen as incorporators:

Philip M. Price, S. Hepburn,L. A. Mackey,H. T. Beardsley,D. K. Jackman,Geo. C. Harvey,N. Shaw,Jesse Merrill, C. A. Mayer,Allison White,Chas. Blanchard,Thomas Yardley, J. Hogan Brown,Simon Scott,O. D. Satterlee, C. W. Wingard.

The first meeting of the corporators [sic] was held October 6th, 1862, and at an adjourned meeting held on the 8th of the same month, the first Board of Managers was elected namely:  Philip M. Price, President; L. A. Mackey, R. H. Boggis,Dudley Blanchard,S. D. Ball.

Soon after the organization of the company, Mr. Philip M. Price, by deed of gift dated Dec. 1st, 1862, gave to the company about 23 acres of land on “the fine eminence overlooking the town from the southwestward,” as he described it in an address to the citizens of Lock Haven.  The conditions on which this grant was made were that the company should lay out the land for the purposes of a burial ground, the proceeds arising from the sale of lots to be appropriated, one-half to the maintenance of the grounds in good order, the erection of necessary fence, and buildings, &c.; the other half to be paid over annually to such trustees or corporation as the Board of Managers may designate, for the purpose of aiding in the “establishment and maintenance” of a Public Library and Reading Room in the town of Lock Haven.”  The company was also required to “set apart a lot of ample dimensions and conspicuous position,” for the interment, without charge, of deceased veterans of the late war, and to allow to be erected on said lot a suitable monument, to be built by voluntary contributions of such as should desire to contribute.  Other conditions were contained in the deed, all in the same spirit of broad philanthropy and benevolence which characterized the donor during his lifetime.

Mr. Price subsequently purchased two acres of ground adjoining that described in the above conveyance, and at a meeting of the board held July 21st, 1866, presented the same to the company, subject to the same trusts and conditions.  A further addition of 16 acres has been made during the present year, (1874.)  This ground was purchased by the following named gentleman, and by them placed under the control of the Cemetery Company, until the proceeds of sales of lots in this addition shall have reimbursed the purchasers, when the land shall become the property of the company:  L. A. Mackey, S. D. Ball,J. H. Barton,Thos. Yardley,N. Shaw,P. S. Merrill,E. P. McCormick,R. H. Boggis,H. T. Beardsley,Geo. G. Irwin,Jacob Brown,J. P. Melick, W. H. Brown,G. Kintzing.

The cemetery therefore now contains over forty-one acres of land.  The interments up to Oct. 1st, 1874, numbered 554, the first (that of a child of Mr. Joseph Quiggle) having been made October 19th, 1862.  The beautiful monument to the memory of Lieutenant J. Hogan Brown, was erected prior to that date, but his remains were not placed there until later.  The number of lots sold 275.  The amount paid over to the Library Company, in accordance with the condition of Mr. Price’s grant is $784.00. 

The board of managers at the present time (October, 1874), consists of Thomas Yardley, President; L. A. Mackey, O. D. Satterlee, J. H. Barton, S. D. Ball.  Secretary and Treasurer, Paul S. Merrill.”

Linn, in his History of Centre and Clinton Counties, adds that “The officers for 1882 are:  President, Thomas Yardly; Secretary and Treasurer, Paul S. Merrill; Superintendent, Elam Eastwood;Directors, Thomas Yardley, Dr. J. H. Barton, Hon. L. A. Mackey, S. D. Ball, Esq., and Gen. Jesse Merrill.

The sexton’s house at the cemetery was noted as “nearing completion” in the Clinton Democrat of November 12, 1885.

In the Clinton Democrat of January 28, 1886, Paul S. Merrill, secretary of the Highland Cemetery, reported that during the year 1885, 57 persons were buried in the Highland Cemetery.  He gave the names of the oldest as follows: Mrs. A. M. Coe, 82; Mrs. Ann Davis, 82;Mr. John B. Fox, 83;Mr. Moses Pinchney, 84;Mrs. Helen M. Fox, 81.  Our reading of the grave markers accounts for only 39 of these burials.  If 1885 is taken as a typical year, at least for the period of the greatest activity in the cemetery’s history, this would indicate that an average of 68.4% of the graves are marked, with almost one-third of the burials at Highland during this period being without markers.  Many of the unmarked graves are probably infants or small children, as well as adults whose families could not afford a grave marker.  (It is possible that some of the 1885 burials reported by Mr. Merrill were re-interments from other cemeteries, and the death years would not have appeared as 1885 on the respective gravestones, which may reduce the number of unmarked graves by a few percentage points.)  Of the five names given as the oldest burials for 1885, four (80%) have grave markers, while one, Moses Pinchney, could not be located on the ground.

On September 9, 1886, the Clinton Democrat reported that “Wm. P. Beck, sexton of St. Paul's Episcopal church, has been appointed to fill the position of sexton at Highland cemetery in place of the late Elem Eastwood.”  Mr. Beck served only a short time, for the same paper reported in its October 2, 1886, issue, that Miller Gibson had been approved as sexton of the Highland Cemetery “and went on duty this morning.”

On October 13, 1887, the same paper reported, “The following named gentleman were chosen officers and managers of the Highland Cemetery Company at the annual meeting of the corporators, on Tuesday of last week to serve for the ensuing year:  S. D. Ball, Esq., President; P. S. Merrill, Esq., Secretary and Treasurer; L. A. Mackey Esq., Jesse Merrill, Esq.,Samuel Christ and Jacob Scott, Managers.  Additional corporators were elected, as follow:  W. H. Brown,H. O. Chapman,T. C. Hilton,James Jefferis,T. B. Loveland,P. S. Merrill,R. W. McCormick,F. J. Troxell,Jacob Scott,J. N. Welliver.. . . The number of deeds written is two hundred and seventy-eight.”

Furey, in his Past and Present of Clinton County (1892), states that six of the incorporators were by then dead, and buried in the cemetery, including O. D. Satterlee (died January 5, 1892) and Paul S. Merrill(died June 12, 1892).

Frank Gibsonwas another fixture in the Highland Cemetery environment.  He ran a monument company at the foot of the cemetery, at 123 Sixth Street.  Many of the earliest stones were made by Gibson or by J. F. Peeling,who is also buried at Highland.

Highland Cemetery continued to receive burials at an increasing rate, and many graves were removed to it from the old graveyard on Bellefonte Avenue.  With the advent of other local cemeteries such as Rest Haven Memorial Park, and the change in post-War economics and demographics, burials slowed down.  The fact that so much of the income from lot sales was devoted to other purposes caused budgetary shortfalls, and additional lots were laid out and sold in the section which adjoined the Soldiers’ Circle. 

The cannon in the Soldier’s Circle was dedicated by the GAR in May, 1922.  Unfortunately, it was long ago removed, although the concrete pad remains.

Records were kept of burials from the beginning, but many were lost due to fires, floods, and neglect.  Those which have survived were compared to our reading from the stones.  Differences in lot numbers are noted, with data from the record in parenthesis.

Today, Highland Cemetery exists as a historical treasure in North Central Pennsylvania.  Between one-half and two-thirds of the available land has been cleared and is in use for burials.  Burial lots are still available and a possible area for “natural burials” in the wooded sections of the cemetery is contemplated.   Due to budgetary constraints and the immense costs of maintaining the grounds, donations are appreciated to ensure that the grounds can be mowed, stones occasionally re-set (episodic vandalism plagues the cemetery) and weeds removed.  An annual Halloween lantern tour of notable gravesites is a popular community event and cemetery fund-raiser.  Estimates suggest that there are more than 7500 interments at Highland.

The current officers of Highland Cemetery (2008) include David W. Wallace, President; Beth Coleman, Secretary; and Laura Bickford, Treasurer.