Here we go!

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We are pleased to announce that work has begun at the cemetery! Using some of the $15,000 we have raised so far, we have started with Phase I of our preservation work. On Oct. 28th, Kreillick Conservation began the critical task of surveying the site. A team of conservators and student volunteers led by Scott Kreillick, laid out a grid of string lines over the cemetery. This grid was used to record the precise location of each monument and gravestone. The team then numbered the stones, photographed them, and recorded detailed information for each one. They also assessed the condition of the stones and prioritized them to identify those that are most vulnerable. All of the data collected will be organized into a report that will be archived, ensuring the preservation of this precious information. If something bad were to happen, like a tree falling down, the report will help us put things back where they belong.

Special thanks to conservators Scott Kreillick, Allison Kreillick, Gabriel Harrison and volunteers Mandi Rush, Shannon Anastas, Jillian Tugya.

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Calling All Volunteers

Please join us for a volunteer clean up as we prepare to begin Phase I of the preservation work. meet us at the cemetery on Saturday, October 19th from noon to 4:oo. The work will involve pulling weeds, raking leaves, and removing debris from within the graveyard. The bulk of this work will be done by hand to prevent damaging the stones with power tools. Please bring gloves and wear long pants and sturdy shoes. Rakes, clippers and other hand tools will be provided but feel free to bring your own. Rain date is the following week October 26. We are looking forward to seeing you!

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Filed under Cemetery, Chestnut Hill PA, Historic Preservation, Springfield Township Montgomery County PA, Volunteers

Still Looking For It?

The Yeakel Cemetery can be difficult to find. It’s not visible from any road and is surrounded by private property. As indicated in deeds going back to 1802, there is an easement of 10 – 12 feet wide leading to the graveyard from Stenton Ave. and for over 200 years visitors have taken this path to the cemetery. Today, visitors must go to the rear of a rehabilitation center at 8833 Stenton Ave. Wyndmoor PA and find the path leading to the cemetery.

Cemetery Map

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This image shows the path, in yellow, going from the rehabilitation center to the cemetery. This path is hilly and often has high grass, so use caution. Click on the image for a larger view.

Use this map feature to find 8833 Stenton ave.

Happy hunting!

 

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Check out our new pages

Welcome to our website. We have just published some new pages. Find out about our mission and the committee members at our About Us page. Our Donate page includes a handy letter you can print out and you can follow the project on our Progress page. You can write comments in any of the comments boxes and  click follow to be notified of updates. You will definitely want to follow along as this exciting preservation project gets under way. Hope to hear from you soon!

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Who’s Buried Here?

Not just Yeakels. There are other family names within the cemetery. Researching who exactly is buried in the Yeakel Cemetery is a bit of a challenge. Clues are scattered and traditions are difficult to verify. Tombstone research is the most reliable information we have (which is why it is so important to preserve!). Existing inscriptions, and transcriptions completed by researchers in the past, were used to create a list of burials that  has just been added to this website. Some of the names were taken from the Schwenkfelder Monument and do not have individual grave markers. These represent the earliest burials. It is also likely that members of the Mack and Nice families are buried here. These families owned the property before 1802 and deed research indicates the land was used as a burying-ground before 1752. A Revolutionary War skirmish took place on this land in December of 1777. Tradition states that casualties from this battle are buried here, but that has not yet been confirmed. Perhaps some of the twenty-four unmarked fieldstones are the graves of some of these people. Please visit the Burials page to view the list.

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Look what we’ve been up to.

Over the past several months the committee has been working hard to develop a preservation plan for the cemetery. We have consulted with a conservator, a historic preservationist, a fundraising specialist and trades people. Being mindful of the historic significance of the site, we are carefully reviewing all of the detailed proposals to create a plan that addresses all of the cemetery’s needs while trying to control costs. One way to keep costs down is to use volunteers for some of the labor. Under the guidance of a professional conservator, these volunteers will aid tremendously in preparing a site survey, marker condition assessment, marker conservation and general clean-up. This type of program can be an educational experience for the volunteers and a means for community involvement. The volunteer event in September provided an estimated savings of over a thousand dollars in labor costs.

We have also been planning for fundraising. The Central Schwenkfelder Church, who owns the property, has agreed to manage a fund for the preservation effort using their non-profit status. The church has already spent over $9000 removing dense brush and creating a stream crossing to provide access to the site. Thanks to them workers and visitors have a clear path to the cemetery. The rest of the work will require more money. We are close to establishing a budget and timeline and hope to reach out to the community soon to solicit funds. Another option to explore is a historic preservation grant. Generally, these are matching grants allocated to projects that meet certain requirements. The application process requires a lot of historical research and will take some time to prepare.

I have been asked many times about who is buried in the Yeakel Cemetery. Having it’s roots as a private burial ground, there is no official record of interments, like there would be with an incorporated cemetery. However, research has provided much information. I am currently working on a list of names based on existing tombstones and genealogical data. Some of the early lists include names of burials that have not been confirmed. I will attempt to distinguish between the known and suspected burials and publish the list on this website. If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment on this site or contact me through email, my address is theyeakels@verizon.net .

Happy holidays to all!

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Tours and more

On Sunday, October 14, a beautiful autumn day, two tours were held at the cemetery. With the help of the Chestnut Hill Historic Society and the Springfield Township Historic Society, the groups were treated to an informative presentation about the history of the site. Jerry Heebner, editor of  The Schwenfeldian magazine, led the tour beginning with some background about the Schwenkfelder emigration and settlement in the area. He also spoke about how the property developed and provided an entertaining outline of the families buried there. Jack Yeakel concluded the tour with some stories about the Yeakel family’s experience during the British occupation of Chestnut Hill. It’s a thrill to see so many people taking an interest in the cemetery and the history it represents. Hopefully, these were the first of many. Stay tuned.

If you would like to learn more, please come to the First Presbyterian Church in Flourtown, November 8th at 7:30. The program will feature presentations by Jefferson M. Moak, Senior Archivist with the National Archives and Records Administration, and David Contosta, Professor of History at Chestnut Hill College. Moak’s talk, “Chestnut Hill and Springfield Township: 18th Century Land Development and Architecture” will include original land partitions, an introduction to 18th century roads, and examples of 18th century architecture. Contosta’s presentation, “Millers and Mystics”, will explore the history of the Whissahickon Valley as both an early industrial powerhouse and home of a Pietist sect known as the “Hermits of the Whissahickon”. The talks are open to the public at no charge and will be moderated by Miles Orvell, Professor of English and American Studies at Temple University.

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