Watsontown Cemetery

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

Sunday, May 24 – Thursday, May 28, 1914:  Nothing much doing.

Recent photo of Watsontown Cemetery.
Recent photo of Watsontown Cemetery.

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

This is the second of five days that Grandma lumped together into one diary entry. Her infant niece, the daughter of her sister Besse, died on May 23–and she apparently didn’t feel like writing.

Did they have a funeral for the baby? . . . I don’t know where is she buried.

I haven’t had a chance to get to the library to go through the microfilms to see if I can find the obituary—but I know that when I looked two years ago after the death of Besse’s first baby that I wasn’t able to find anything.

I also know that Besse and her husband Curt are buried in the Watsontown Cemetery—and that the two infants are not buried in that plot.DSC03518

Memorial Day wasn’t until May 30 in 1914, but on this Memorial Day week-end I thought you might enjoy seeing some additional photos of the Watsontown Cemetery. It is on a hill overlooking the town—and has an awesome view of the West Branch of the Susquehanna River and the mountains in the distance.


The statue in the distance is a Civil War monument that was erected in 1902.


32 thoughts on “Watsontown Cemetery

    1. They would be absolutely amazed. . . Amazed isn’t a strong enough word. . . maybe incredulous would better describe how I think they’d react. 🙂

  1. This would be some interesting research Sheryl as to whether there were funerals and formal plots of the babies. A very sad time for the family.

  2. This is very interesting to me. I have been learning and writing about my family a hundred years ago too. I have letters, but would dearly love to have a journal to help me piece together the story. Thanks so much for sharing yours.

    1. And, thank you for taking a moment to write this kind note. I have a lot of fun doing the research for this blog–and it’s always wonderful to hear when someone enjoys it.

      And, you are very fortunate to have letters. Both letters and diaries are wonderful resources that can provide a window into what someone was thinking year ago when they wrote it.

  3. I too collected information from grave markers when I was in my genealogy phase. One thing that surprised me was how erosive was weather on solid stone, even in less than a hundred years. The practice now is to etch more deeply, but it’s just a matter of time. All things material eventually pass away.

    1. I’ve also noticed how erosive the weather is on gravestones. And, I’m surprised how quickly a stone can go from looking weathered to being unreadable. A cemetery near Watsontown has two graves for a civil war soldier–one for his arm that he lost during the Civil War and one for the rest of him when he died a number of years later. I can clearly remember being able to read those grave markers when I was a teen-ager. I recently tried to show them to my son–and they were totally illegible .

  4. I have heard that some cemeteries have a baby section where small children and/or infants are buried. You might ask at the cemetery office if there is such a section there.

    1. Wow, Thank you!! It makes me tingle to that you found it. I just sat down to write tomorrow’s post–when I saw your comment. Now I know what I am going to write about. 🙂

      I’d never hear of River Church Cemetery, but I googled it and it looks like it is the cemetery is the cemetery at St. John’s Delaware Run Lutheran Church on Musser Lane, Watsontown. This is a rural area a few miles outside of Watsontown.

      Thanks again.

  5. Lovely view from the cemetery. Sorry to hear Bessie lost two little ones. That had to be hard on everyone.

  6. It is truly very sad. Perhaps your Grandma spent those days lost in thought, or perhaps carrying out the routine things that have to be done, all the while carrying around her sadness.

    1. I’m sure you are right. Your comment reminds me of how, when I was a child, the cows always needed to be milked no matter what else was happening.

  7. Statistics show that infant mortality, i.e. babies dying within the first year of life, has declined globally in recent years, mainly because of programs to treat diarrhea-causing conditions. The stats in the U.S. show an average number around 13th in the world, but the variation within the states is wide.

    The rates in the poorer states are relatively high and I find it significant that most of those same states are opting out of the ACA, a.k.a., ObamaCare. That, ironically, would provide exactly such care to those who most need it. Isn’t it ironic that the pols in these states get their shorts in a knot over abortion but ignore a relatively cheap fix for the principal and easily-treated cause of infant deaths?

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