I have been following the families of Napier Twp. (Helixville, New Paris, Schellsburg) Bedford Co. PA for about 20 years and have been very concerned about the state of many of the tombstones. Because of the lack of records for families as they left the Lutheran, Reformed, & Quaker religions to join the United Brethren (Wm. Otterbein & Martin Boehm) and the Evangelical (Jacob Albright) which were started in people's homes by German preaching circuit riders and with these two churches having a strong presence in Bedford, the tombstone was often an individual's only record. The circuit riding preachers left few records. The United Brethren joined the Evangelical Church in 1946 in Johnstown PA (just over the mountain) to become the Evangelical United Brethren (EUB) and then became the United in the United Methodist in 1968.
I find the Boylan carved stones (hand carved from about 1823 to about 1850) beautiful and the imperfections interesting but when water gets in a top crack the front shears off in pieces and the information is destroyed. Unfortunately, also, some of these beautifully carved stones are targets for vandalism.
The marble which was brought about 1850 by the railroads pits easily and in many cases these marble stones are QUICKLY BECOMING UNREADABLE.
Infant Aaron Garber Oldham #61671623 in the Quaker Cemetery in Bedford Co. PA. Two photographs one taken in 2013 & one taken in 1998.
Many of the stones now have only partial info that can be read such as a number or one or two letters so essentially the information on them must be reconstructed from other sources. I believe in putting information on the identified & readable memorials in the hopes that this will help decipher the stone next to it. The church cemeteries in Bedford were family cemeteries.
In an attempt to preserve the information on the stones, these are photographs that I have taken over the years and can be used freely for anybody's research. No need to ask.
So much of this information is being lost. Many of the farm cemeteries are gone or can not be located.