Memorial Day: Watsontown Cemetery

16-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Tuesday, May 30, 1911: Carrie and I went over to the Watsontown cemetery this afternoon. Am rather tired and sleepy.

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Grandma and her friend Carrie may have gone to the cemetery to put flowers on the graves of deceased relatives for Memorial Day–or maybe there was a Memorial Day ceremony held there.

Grandma’s paternal grandparents are buried in the Watsontown cemetery. Her grandfather had died before she was born, but Grandma would have remembered her grandmother, Charlotte Muffly, who died in 1905 at the age of 78.

I wonder what Grandma’s memories are of her grandmother—Had she been close to her grandmother? . . . or not? Had her grandmother been in ill health for years prior to her death? . . . Or had she died suddenly?

Watsontown Cemetery is on very high hill that overlooks the town of Watsontown. Grandma and Carrie would have had a bird’s eye view of the entire town. They would have been able to look over downtown Watsontown to the West Branch of the Susquehanna River and the looming mountains beyond. Now, just as they did a hundred years ago, the sound of trains rumbling through town periodically breaks the silence.

The cemetery is dominated by a memorial to Civil War veterans.  According to the engraving on the base of the monument the memorial was built in 1902—so it would have been less than 10 years old when Grandma and Carrie visited the cemetery. The memorial probably was built with funds raised by aging GAR (Grand Army of the Republic) veterans who didn’t want the war to be forgotten after they passed on.

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