|Cemetery notes and/or description:|
This is the grave site of Major John Cessna. He was born in Shippensburg, the son of John Cessna who was killed on July 18, 1757, about seven miles from Shippensburg, by Indians while he was working his fields. Two of his sons were also killed.
He was the grandson of John "Jean" DeCessna who was born in South France. He went to Ireland as a Huguenot soldier and remained in Ireland after the forces of William, Prince of Orange, were withdrawn. He married a Irish girl and after her death he came to Pennsylvania in 1718 and located in Lancaster County. He later moved to York County, where he died in 1751.
Source: House of Cessna by Howard Cessna
The Cessnas are of Huguenot ancestry and are descended from John Cessna, who came from southern France to America in 1690, after the Battle of the Boyne, in which he participated. John Cessna, who settled in Friend's Cove in 1765, was his grand-son. The latter was prominent in the affairs of the county at the beginning of its existence and served three terms as Sheriff. He was also a member of the constitutional convention of 1774, which drafted the first constitution of the State of Pennsylvania. He was the father of 13 children by his first wife. At the age of 70 he married a second wife, and of this union five children were born.
Major John Cessna was born Jan 26 1726 in Shippensburg, Cumberland County, PA and died Mar 31, 1802 in Bedford County, PA. On Jan 20, 1760, he married Sarah Rose, daughter of William Rose and Sarah Gardner. She was born Feb 6, 1739/40 in Shippensburg, and died Jul 1, 1788. Their children were: Jonathan, Theophelus, Rachel , John, Stephen, Elizabeth, Margaret, Ellen and William.
After Sarah's death in 1788 Major John Cessna, at the age of 70, married his second wife Elizabeth Hall and their marriage produced 5 more children; Mary, Sarah Rose, Charles, Evan, James B.
John Cessna served with General Forbes in his campaign against Fort Duquesne in 1758 during the French and Indian War. John and Sarah Cessna were among the first settlers in what became Colerain Township, having established a home there in 1763. John Cessna served in the Revolutionary War with the Pennsylvania Continental Line at Bunker Hill and Valley Forge among other locations and was promoted to the rank of Major. He was also a member of the Pennsylvania Constitutional Convention in 1774 and was a signitory to the Pennsylvania Constitution in 1776. He was sheriff of Bedford County and a member of the Frontier Safety Committee during the difficult years dealing with the problem of Indian raids. On Columbus Day, Oct 12, 1930 a bronze tablet cemented to a large mountain boulder commemorating Major John Cessna was dedicated with appropriate ceremonies. The memorial i s located just outside the iron fence enclosing his grave on a farm on Cumberland Road three miles from Bedford, PA.
Descendants of Major John Cessna have just cause to take pride in the fact that in all our frontier history he alone was brought into court and tried for forcibly taking guns from citizens who would not go to war. Remember, thirty-five citizens (Tories) were discovered going to Kittaning to coax the Indians to come scalp and kill their neighbors.
Of course at the trial he was acquitted, the authorities in Philadelphia furnishing him with special counsel.
Major John Cessna died in 1802, at the age of 76. His son, John, succeeded to the ownership of the farm.
On Columbus Day, October 12, 1930, the bronze tab let to the memory of Major John Cessna was dedicated with appropriate ceremonies. This tablet was cemented on a large mountain boulder placed in front of the iron fence enclosing the Major's grave on the farm of Mr. Frank Hemming on Cumberland Road, three miles from Bedford. There is a bronze direction sign on the east side of the public road.
Frank A. Hemming and his wife deeded in trust to Howard Cessna and John Cessna Smith the plot of ground where Major John Cessna is buried.