Comments are welcome but please have the courtesy to sign your name. Unsigned comments will be deleted.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Can't Win 'Em All

I was still missing two bits of information I wanted for the article I'm writing on the Burkholders for the historical society's publication. Where are Christian Burkholder's son, Daniel, and his daughter, Barbara, buried?
After a long search that twisted and turned in several directions I found some leads. I'll spare you all the details of the chase but eventually I found both Daniel and his sister in Warwick Township, Lancaster County. (They were born in Earl Township which is just a hop and skip away.)
Barbara was born in 1772 and married Christian Weber. Not much is known of their family but I managed to find some documents related to the settlement of their estate in 1844 and 1845. They had a son Christian and daughter Ann, wife of Christian Zug, who lived in Lancaster County and a son Henry in Ohio. If they had other children, these three were their only surviving heirs. I have not found any trace of Christian and Barbara's burial place.
I suspect Christian and Barbara may be buried in the Burkholder cemetery at Lititz where her brother Christian is buried. That little family cemetery was vandalized and nearly destroyed when a development was built around it. Christian Burkholder Jr.'s stone is one few of the stones which remain intact. If Christian and Barbara Weber are there, their stones are long gone. Sigh! Can't win 'em all.
Daniel was born in 1770 and married Elizabeth Hess. In 1811 he was ordained a deacon for the Mennonite churches in Warwick Township. He died in 1856, two years before the Hess Mennonite Church (now owned by a Dunkard Brethren congregation) was built so he obviously could not have been buried there. My search eventually led me to the Hess Family Cemetery which is now within the Pebble Creek development about a mile down the road from the church.
I stopped at the little cemetery on my way to Lancaster on Tuesday and found two field stones clearly marked "Elisabeth Borkholder May 3, 1839" and "Barbara Borkholder 1844." These fit to be Daniel's wife and daughter. He recorded Barbara's death date as Nov. 19, 1844 in the family record in his Martyrs' Mirror.
(The first stone below is Elisabeth's and the second one is Barbara. The white coating is ordinary flour which I rubbed on the stone to make the writing stand out and be readable.)
The stone next to Elisabeth was lying down half buried in the ground and unreadable. I was sure it is Daniel's stone. I determined to go back with some help to turn it over and see what is on the other side.
This morning Leroy wanted to go to Lancaster County for some parts and was willing to help me dig up that stone. After all the rain we had this week the ground was soft and he was easily able to lift the stone with a crowbar and block of wood. He poured water from a jug while I operated the scrubbing brush. No luck! It was another field stone and the bottom was as blank as the top. It appeared the stone had originally been covered with a layer of plaster which has nearly all fallen off taking the writing with it. The writing on Elisabeth and Barbara's stones was etched right on the stone and proved to be more durable than the "nice" coating of plaster. Unless someone can prove otherwise, I am convinced that is Daniel's stone.
I have uncovered a lot of information in my research for this Burkholder article. Some of it changes commonly accepted stories that the documents prove are incorrect. I guess I'll just have to be satisfied with what I could find and leave a few questions for someone else to answer someday. You can't win 'em all.

1 comment:

Meredith said...

It sounds like your number of wins are above average! ~Merle