|Birth: ||Jan. 19, 1938|
New Castle County
|Death: ||Jun. 6, 2004|
This gentleman (and perhaps his wife) is thought to have been the last owner or manager of the sadly neglected Mount Moriah Cemetery in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania which was recently and seemingly abruptly closed in March or April 2011. The news reports came out in April, but an online blogger noted it in March. It brings to an end a run of over 156 years, since Mount Moriah Cemetery Association was officially incorporated March 26, 1855 and was begun a bit before that. The first mention of it in Philadelphia Inquirer archives that could be found was an ad from July 7, 1854. An 1857 advertisement (pictured with this memorial) signed by President R. P. King offering space to churches who want sections to inter their congregants bravely states such graves at Mount Moriah will be "FOREVER SAFE FROM INTRUSION AND DISTURBANCE." [Capital letters are from the original.]
Current news reports suggest that the ownership of Mount Moriah is being investigated. It would not be the first time proprietary information was in question. As far back as 1875 charges were made that there was no real cemetery association board looking out for lot holders, and suggestions were made that family alone ran it with an eye only to profit. So alleged Thomas W. Price who was at the time one of Mount Moriah's largest lot holders. (A death certificate for him can't be found presently, so it's unknown where he rests.)
Looking at the history of Mount Moriah's guiding families, one will repeatedly see the Jones and Connell families' names, mixed with Pennocks and lots of gents with the first name Horatio. It seems founder George Connell (state senator whose wife was a daughter of Horatio Pennock) originally provided the land for the cemetery, though how he came by it was a question, and I have yet to find a firm answer to this, though it may have been by a pre-Civil War era purchase from B. B. (Benjamin Bartis) Comegys, the president of Philadelphia National Bank, who had a Colonial stead called "Ashwood", which was on the county line between Philadelphia and Delaware County, with Cobbs Creek running through it. This is the general area of Mount Moriah Cemetery and I wish I were in a position to investigate long-ago land purchases to confirm this. In any case, Mount Moriah Cemetery and tours thereof were offered in Philadelphia newspapers even before its incorporation. Interested parties could obtain rides to go inspect the cemetery just by going to the downtown cemetery offices.
After George, it seems his son Horatio Pennock Connell (sheriff) ran the show. Though his leadership brought expansion and improvements to the cemetery, he is also remembered for refusing the interment of Henry Jones, a quite respectable African American gent, a caterer in 1875. Overall, Horatio was popular and connected, and was the first to aggressively advertise Mount Moriah in the newspapers, particularly in 1911 after 20 new acres had been added to the cemetery and "perpetual care" was promoted. At that time, the ads said over 150,000 people were interred in Mount Moriah. Averaged out, this would mean roughly 2600 people had been buried there annually. The November 11, 1914 Philadelphia Inquirer reported the acquisition of the "Fels tract" - 12 more acres. Somewhere in this time period, Horatio's sons became involved. In a 1904 article about grave flower-stealing, George Connell was mentioned as superintendent (definitely Horatio's son George P. Connell (since the founder George died in 1871) and a 1909 book "Pennsylvania and Its Public Men" by Samuel Hudson says that Horatio's sons George and Joseph directed it at that time. George was reported as saying that on Sundays when the weather was good, as many as 25,000 people visited there.
Horatio Pennock Connell's wife was Anne Laycock, and she had a sister Elizabeth Laycock. Elizabeth Laycock is the lady who brought the Jones family into the cemetery orbit when she married Charles H. Jones, making her and him the great grandparents of this memorial's subject, Horatio C. Jones Jr.
As to the present cemetery - the years of danger and garbage on the 380 acre burial site had saddened many who had loved ones interred there, but many a concerned citizen grieved on principle as well, especially since the cemetery holds over 5,000 Civil War veterans. The closing sent a wave of shock and sorrow through the city because many people had family buried there and now could not anticipate their own future burials with loved ones.
From at least 2002 to 2007, Mount Moriah was billed in some Philadelphia Inquirer obituaries as "FAMILY OWNED and OPERATED". A 2004 PDF court document seems to confirm Mr. Jones' ownership, at least at that time. Online business directory, Manta, suggests the same here if one scrolls down to "contacts".
Lacking a picture of Mr. Jones to share here, the best personal offering to be found is a shot of his neighborhood. The arrow points to an auction property which is 4 houses away from where he lived in a lovely community where many homeowners had nearby docks.
One might read the obituary, look at the picture and wish Mount Moriah itself were as pictureseque.
While his place of rest is unknown to the general public, we can probably safely assume it is not at Mount Moriah, though it does seem some of his preceding family was, including his mother or perhaps stepmother.
Once a respected and beautiful place to send your loved ones to eternal rest, Mount Moriah Cemetery had been in serious decline for some years, going from poorly kept-up to becoming a playground for evil folks in the city. Some of these people desecrated mausoleums, solicited for prostitution, dealt drugs, and abandoned trash and tires on the cemetery grounds. People were killed on the grounds, and some killed elsewhere were dumped here. The grass and weeds made finding gravestones difficult or impossible, and the overgrowth of trees and bushes made secrecy within easy. At least one group of wild dogs lives there, and in 1995 a Yeadon policeman encountered a cougar there. It's been reported that in its waning years, the cemetery's main road and nearby burial areas were kept clear for the benefit of visitors and new burials, while the rest of the cemetery received far less attention.
Who can say which came first, the vandalization and crime, or the management neglect? Probably the problems fed each other to some extent. It's argued that suburban cemeteries gained in popularity, which is true, but in a big city there is always a calling for some burial space. And what happened to the perpetual care money? As time went on, probably funeral directors didn't steer client families to Mount Moriah, seeing where things were heading. In recent years, listing the place of burial has become less common in newspaper obituaries. Still, it is telling that in a search of Philadelphia Daily News and Philadelphia Inquirer archives that the number of obituaries mentioning interment there is negligible. Nonetheless, valiant volunteer clean up efforts continue at Mount Moriah, reminding us decent and concerned citizens can make a difference.
From the News Journal, (Wilmington, DE) - June 12, 2004
Horatio C. Jones, Jr.
"Rash" Of Ocean Pine, MD and formerly of Chadds Ford, PA died peacefully on Sunday, June 6, 2004, in the company of his family and friends, in his home. Rash was born in Wilmington, DE on a 200-acre dairy farm. He was a descendent of the Swedes, who arrived in America in 1643. He was a commercial and residential builder, a stockbroker and a cemeterian, as well as a member of Ducks Unlimited, the Optimist Club and the Swedish Colonial Society.
Rash never sat still, even in his spare time, as he enjoyed fishing, boating, golf, bowling, ice hockey, hunting and breeding Labradors for hunting. During the 1970s and '80s, Rash coached his son's ice hockey teams and taught his daughter to ice-skate. He never missed the opportunity to enjoy his children's games and ice shows.
A talented and creative gourmet cook, Rash expanded his wife's skills beyond toast and ice cubes; his children were grateful. His daughter, Christa, picked up his talents by assimilation; her mother and friends are grateful. As a man of great dignity and strength, his spirit lives on in those he touched. His laughter and wry sense of humor are the knowing smiles that color the faces of those who knew and loved him.
Thoughts of sadness easily turn to those of good times and to honoring the wishes of an admirable man, who drifted away to promises that his death would mark a celebration of a life lived to its fullest. Horatio C. Jones left a serene sense of peace in those who carry on with him in their hearts.
He was the beloved husband of Lydia M. Jones; and the devoted father of Horatio C. Jones, III, MD of Boothwyn, PA and Christa M. Jones of Norfolk, VA. Other survivors include "DIL" Suzanne A. Jones; grandchildren, Michael C. and Lauren A. Jones; a niece and grandniece, Nickie and Alex; and a host of treasured friends who were as family to him.
The service and interment will be held privately.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra, PO Box 3687, Ocean City, MD 21842.
To read a 1999 article about Mr. Jones (then titled "acting director") and the cemetery, see this page from GenWeb.
Horatio Connell Jones (1905 - 1966)
Henriette C Ravier Jones (1903 - 1989)
Cremated, Location of ashes is unknown.
Created by: sr/ks
Record added: Apr 19, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 68640209
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