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McKune Cemetery historian.|
The McKune Cemetery, a small rural cemetery in Oakland Township, Susquehanna County, PA, encompasses two acres, about 2 miles west of Susquehanna, and accessible from Rt. 171. GPS coordinates: 41°57'03.8"N; 75°38'13.9"W
It is one of the oldest cemeteries in Susquehanna County with known burials dated from early 1800’s. There are two separate access paths that divide this cemetery into three parts:
- oldest section, closest to Oakland Boro
- middle section
- newest section, closest to Great Bend
The McKune Cemetery began as a family burying ground, more details are below. Early records may have existed about the cemetery, however, none are available today.
From newspapers dated 1830 to 1880, deeds, maps, and the “Susquehanna County History” texts, published in 1873 & 1887, the reference to this cemetery included:
- Graveyard on J. McKune’s farm
- Old Cemetery Lot
- McKune Burying Lot
- McKune Cemetery
This cemetery is adjacent to the property with the re-created home of Joseph & Emma Smith. Their first born child, a son, Alvin, is within the oldest section of the cemetery close to its Hale & Lewis grandparents.
When it became known as a Cemetery, the surrounding land was owned by B. F. McKune, a prominent citizen. B.F. McKune, aka Benjamin Franklin McKune, minimally recorded as Franklin B. "McCune". Consequently some records mistakenly have the cemetery name as "Franklin B. McCune Cemetery"
On May 1, 1813 the land tract of Ezekial Travis was deeded to Joseph McKune. By 1820 Joseph & Anna McKune had designated a section of their land for burials with poor soil quality and situated on ground above the river’s edge. Some Native American Indians, who once inhabited the area, placed an interment with a generous pile of rocks on top of the deceased. This region is plentiful with field stone.
Over time, within a number of graves inside the cemetery, when opened, were found adult bones. It's possible those bones may have been of previous Native Indians in the vicinity. Those particular graves were heavily laidened with field stone and the skeleton(s) found about 2 to 3 feet from the ground's surface. None of the skeletons were disinterred. Instead the grave for the new interment was positioned alongside the area of the skeleton.
The pivotal corner for the original lot allocated by Joseph & Anna McKune is the southeast corner of Samuel Conklin’s plot. From there, east, to Oakland, and north to Windsor are the original boundaries. The remaining land allocation occurred from deeds of Nathan Skinner and/or B. F. McKune.
More than one deed is affected for the 2 acres of the McKune Cemetery. It is conclusive that surrounding properties were steadily owned by members, or relation, of the McKune family until after 1900. The only exception was 13 acres & house purchased by Joseph Smith, Jr. from Isaac Hale on Apr. 6, 1829, then by Joseph McKune, Jr. from Joseph & Emma Smith on June 28, 1833.
During ownership by Joseph McKune Jr., 3 acres were sold to the NY & Erie RR on Nov. 2, 1847 to build their road. Decades following the death of Joseph McKune, Jr, a portion of what had been his land was allocated to the McKune Cemetery Association.
The land of Joseph McKune, Jr. was deeded to his son B. F. McKune, who in 1888 sold more acreage to the Erie RR when the grave of Isaac Hale was affected. In Oct. 1888, Isaac's grave was opened & coffin removed to the cemetery. This is the only known re-interment for the McKune cemetery.
Following the death of Joseph McKune Sr., the properties located across the road from the McKune burial lot/cemetery had subdivided and were owned by several families. And a portion of the land between the cemetery and the Susquehanna River had been sold to the NY & Erie Railroad in 1847.
The burials that occurred on the ground chosen by Mr. McKune initially were intended for family. Soon after several families agreed and arranged to bury their deceased family members in a designated ground; hence the McKune small family burying ground grew into a cemetery.
To offer a partial list of families in agreement, for which headstones today bear theirs and/or their descendants’ surnames:
- Barton, Ephraim A.
- Cahill, M.
- Drake, J. M.
- McKune, Joseph, Sr. & sons
- Shutts, Morgan
- Skinner, Nathan & Jacob
- Stoddard, Wilber David
- Taylor, E. G.
- Van Antwerp, James & Nicholas Teunis
Although the earliest burials occurred without remuneration for the ground, in-kind gestures occurred as their payment.
When a burial occurred, a burial marking was placed on the grave, i.e., wooden stake, pile of native stone, carved stone, or they planted a tree or bush. The winters can be harsh in the region for this cemetery. Understandably many of the original grave markings have succumbed and are not recognizable today.
For the cemetery’s activities there are no available records about who was buried where. The 1,400+ memorials created within Find-A-Grave offer information that could be found for each known burial. And if a headstone is present with no burial, that too is indicated.
Within each memorial, at the bottom, is a plot section offering a generalized description for a grave location... if its location is known.
The McKune schoolhouse, on property allocated by Joseph & Anna McKune, was positioned diagonally from the McKune cemetery and on the opposite side of the main road. It was located at the corner of Rt. 171 & Skinner Hill Rd. The McKune School House offered schooling and served as a meeting house for (Methodist) church and funeral services.
On Sep. 1, 1922, the application was accepted for the McKune Cemetery Association, CHARTER, an incorporation to exist perpetually. The initial Board of Managers, consisting of five members, all residents of Susquehanna:
- J. B. Fenner
- Robert B. Thompson
- C. F. Beebe
- William Boyden
- C. Moore
NOTE: The 1922 incorporation remains active today.
Two notable interments are:
- Dr. William K. Nowill, M.D. who developed & perfected the anesthesia drip method.
- Mr. Alfred E. Badgley, architect, constructed many prominent structures within Susquehanna & Broome Counties, including:
- 1891 Stone Opera House, Binghamton
- 1897 First National Bank building, Susquehanna
- 1899 Johnson City Municipal Bldg & Central Fire Station
- 1906 Susquehanna County Historical building & Free Library at Montrose
- 1915 Hallstead Boro concrete lock-up
- 1915 nine passenger stations on Lackawanna RR from Hallstead to Clarks Summit: Alford, Dalton, Factoryville, Foster, Glenburn, Hallstead, Kinglsey, La Plume, Nicholson
- 1916 YMCA at Binghamton Railroad station
- 1925-26 Columbus School, Hawley St, Binghamton.
And a worthy mention of Phebe Tinsman, older sister of William Haze Tinsman, victim of 1898 USS Maine explosion in Havana Harbor, Cuba. As a Landsman, Wm. played left field on the battleship's baseball team.
If more cemetery history details are known, please send a note via the F-A-G site
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B Bedford , Betty Short, j skinner, Jennifer L, Julie, Kate O, Kathryn Hill, Mark Kunzman, Paul R, Peter Drysdale, Rita Saunders, Ruth Williams, Sharon Wetzel, ..., snyder_nepa, Stephen Simon, suscat, Terri Payne
|Messages left for NancyM (52)||[Leave Message]|
to my typing. The last name is Luitjens.
Thanks for the edits for Charles Van Tiger. His father has been linked and I will add the other family information with corrections to Sarah's last name that is Luithens.
thank you. A. Yoder
|Jim Fenn-Lawson||RE: Seelye Richmond - photo request|
Thank you. The biographical information you provided about Seelye is very interesting. The picture of his family is beautiful. I appreciate your letting me know about the headstone condition. JIM
|✿ Tree Journey ✿||Klees Family - "Oakland Side" of Susquehanna, PA|
Hi Nancy, thank you so much for the information you gave to me for Klees' family as I have hit some brick walls in my family tree (✿◠‿◠)
|Dana Sparks||Davis/Walker/Sartell Family|
Wow! Thank you for the info you sent me via John Davis's profile. You are right, the father's side is the side I am researching, Hobert Charles Davis is descended from my ancestor David Sparks. So, I am related to some of the Sartells as well, from Olive Cleora Davis Sartell's line.
Wanda Sartell Bass's obituary is a HUGE help to me -- I knew she married a Bass but I hadn't been able to find anything else. I will be sure to send you a message if I discover any new info on the family :)
|Lee C||RE: Hattie Meyers Weaver Junkin|
Thanks very much. Yes, she did have an interesting life. Probably deserves a written biography, at least an article. I'm researching her husband R. S. Barnaby.
Added by Lee C on Jan 19, 2017 6:23 AM
|Henry1952||Amos Carpenter, 73558075|
Thank you so much for the information regarding the burials of Amos, his wife, his son Horace and Horace's wife.
Thank you for posting the obituary. You are right it contains a wealth of information.
Added by MTD on Oct 25, 2016 2:14 PM
|Vern713||Laurie M. Stnbchak 170839028|
Thanks for finding Laurie's memorial. She was a friend of an ex-coworker of mine. I Noticed spelled her name wrong. After I saw her obit, I looked for St. May's Russian Cemetery on Find A Grave but it wasn't there. Google was of no help. I went to the Post Office in Thompson and asked, they knew where it was, just around the corner. I have since added St. Mary's to Find A Grave and all of the burials there. When I tried to update Laurie's memorial I could not find it (because of the wrong spelling). So I added her again with the correct spelling. Now thanks to you I can remove the wrong memorial. Thanks for your help!
Added by Vern713 on Oct 18, 2016 2:40 PM
|Marilyn Schunke||John Hilborn, Sr. (61806040)|
On May 6, 2016 you posted a photo on a log cabin with a brick fireplace in the flowers/notes portion of John Hilborn, Sr.'s memorial 61806040. Is this house associated with John Hilborn, Sr. in some way? If so, I would appreciate knowing how.
BTW, thank you for the wonderful write ups on Hilborns in the McKune Cemetery, attached documents and transcriptions.
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