CLINTON COUNTY GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY CEMETERY GUIDE            

MUNICIPALITY:  Woodward Township
CEMETERY NAME:   Swissdale Evangelical Cemetery SCHADT NUMBER:  088

AKA: 

Number of Burials (approximate):  10

Dates of Activity:  1858 - present

 

Documentation/Publication: 

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

 

Directions/GPS: 

From Lock Haven (intersection of North Jay and Water Streets), cross the bridge at the courthouse, headed North toward Lockport.  Turn right at the end of the bridge, on Route 664.  From the courthouse intersection, you will have traveled 3.7 miles to a crossroads.  Turn right onto Bear Run Hollow Road.  Travel 0.4 mile.  The cemetery is on your left, on the property of Wayne and Cindy Love, 275 Bear Run Hollow Road.  The cemetery is to the right of the house in the brush along the road.  An additional stone is in the barn of Don Weise, 235 Big Plum Run Road.

GPS = N41 10.998 W77 25.260

Landowner / Caretaker:

Wayne and Cynthia Love

275 German Road

Lock Haven, PA 17745

 

Condition/Needs: 

Poor; needs brush cleared away from area

 

History:

A large migration of Swiss families from Canton Bern, Switzerland, into what is now Clinton County occurred in the years immediately following 1825. Nicholas Suitercame here as a scout to view the land, and was so impressed that he sent word back to the old country to encourage settlement.  These families formed the nucleus of a settlement north of Lock Haven on Route 664, settling around a certain crossroads.  Their cluster of farms soon became known as the "German settlement," as these people spoke the Swiss dialect of the German language.  Eventually, it became known as Swissdale.

Originally, religious services were held in local homes, and later the barn of Nicholas Suiter.  Elizabeth (Witchi) Suiterhad been a Lutheran deaconness in Switzerland, and was lay-leader at the services.  Circuit-riding pastors from the Evangelical Association came through the area, and many of the settlers became members of the Evangelical Church. 

By 1843, there was enough support to consider a house of worship.  W. S. Seibertorganized a formal congregation in the schoolhouse on the B. F. Probst, later the Simcox, farm.  Worship was regularly held here, and when a new school was built in 1858, the old one was converted to a church with the addition of weather-boarding, pews and a pulpit.  In 1869, a new church was built at the crossroads in Swissdale, where the Evangelicals worshipped until 1895.  In that year, a denominational split occurred, and the United Evangelical Church built a church across the street from the 1869 structure.  In 1923, the two congregations united and continued to worship in the 1895 building.  The 1869 church was torn down in 1927.  The present Swissdale United Methodist Church uses the 1895 building.

During the period from 1843 to 1869, the lot surrounding the schoolhouse/church was used for burial purposes.  The lot became abandoned after that point, and was used for farming purposes.  It is said that pigs were left to root in the cemetery and disturbed all the markers.  One stone was taken into the barn, the child of Rev. David Orwig(who afterwards became a Bishop in the Evangelical Church).  In 1972, the Agnes flood swept down the run next to the cemetery, carrying away an untold number of markers.  One of these turned up downstream on the property of Mr. Don Weise, who has the marker preserved in his barn. 

Wayne and Cindy Love, current owners of the cemetery property, have gathered up the remaining stones, including the one from their barn, and placed them on the cemetery site.

We are also indebted to Mrs. Helen Marconior church history, and to Richard Winters, Fred and Anna Snyderfor the following account.

Two interesting occupants of this cemetery are William and Ann (Winters) SalmonThe sad story of their deaths is reprinted from the Clinton Democrat of 24 December 1850:

Melancholy Death. A case of remorse of conscience has been related to us as occurring near at hand, which, in its painful consequences, is not surpassed either in the world of fiction or of fact.  The wife of Mr. William Salmon, of Woodward township, in this county, had been lingering in an illness for several months previous to her death, which occurred about three weeks ago.  She was often dependent on her neighbors for what attentions she received.  Her two children were too small to afford her help or even to take care of themselves.  Her husband often left her alone for days at a time and when he would return it was not to make her sick bed cheerful by those attentions which a kind heart would render and a confiding companion would expect.  Sometime before her death he went to White Deer valley, Lycoming county, where he was engaged in his occupation, that of a stone mason.  Whilst there, his wife died.  He was sent for immediately, but, being slow to come, he found her buried when he arrived.  He had the body dug up from the grave.  He gazed upon the features of the dead a moment and then ordered the remains restored to the earth.  He returned to his labor, but the memory of his ill treatment to her haunted him in his moments of labor and rest.  His mind became a wreck.  He grew crazy and gnawed the very flesh of his body.  Even in his insanity he was a prey to remorse.  His system soon yielded to the influence of sympathy and in two weeks from the time he last looked upon the coffin of his wife, he had taken his place by her side in death.