History of Saint Matthew's Cemeteries
by Shence Stauffer [Class of 1972] when she was a sophomore
In 1731, John Casper Stoever, a Lutheran Missionary, first visited the settlers in and around the present site of Hanover. He made trips here from his home in New Holland, twice a year as a rule. However, there was no regular minister for seven (7) years. Then, in 1738, Rev. David Candler came to Hanover to do missionary work. He held services in his home along the Conewago Creek about one (1) mile southwest of where Hanover is now, until 1743 when the first church, made of logs, was erected on what is now Third Street. The graveyard, the first Lutheran cemetery west of the Susquehanna River, extended south from the building and Rev. Candler was buried there when he died in 1744. No trace of the cemetery now remains.
The second house of worship was built in 1756 during the pastorate of Rev. John George Bager. The church was located one (1) mile from Hanover on the south side of the Carlisle Pike. The cemetery next to the building remained and was tended by St. Matthew's even after the third church was built and the building of the second church demolished. In 1950, however, some of the graves were removed to Mt. Olivet Cemetery and the others to the cemetery behind the fifth church. A granite monument with a bronze plaque naming those buried there was erected where the All Saint's Episcopal Church now stands.
In the spring of 1790, Rev. Frederick Valentine Melsheimer assumed pastoral control of St. Matthew's. Now after 45 years of worship in the old church, the congregation found it too small. So,
in 1801, a new church was erected on West Chestnut Street. The graves were scattered on the right side of the church. The fourth church was built 78 years later on the same site. When the fifth church was built the tombstones were moved to the back of the building and placed in orderly rows. The bodies were not moved. This is the only remaining cemetery of St. Matthew's.
The real history of St. Matthew's cemeteries, however, lies not in plots of ground but in the stories of the people buried there.
The heaviest subscriber to the first church was Cristoffel Schlogel who gave one pound, three shillings, and nine pence. His wife, Anna Maria Magdalena Oysterin Schlogel, was buried in the church's graveyard. She married when she was 16. At the time of her death at age 37, she had borne 12 children. Anna Maria was buried next to her sister, Catherine Oysterin Jung, who died at age 22.
The first person buried in the cemetery of the second church was Johanna Julianna Elizabeth Noll (nee Morningstar). Her tomb- stone was later moved to the graveyard of the fifth church. She was the wife of Dr. John Henry Noll, a surgeon. According to her tombstone, her funeral text was Psalms 103.
Rev. John George Bager, the sixth pastor of St. Matthew's, was buried in the graveyard of the second church. His grave was later lost.
At the first communion administered by Rev. Frederick
Valentine Melsheimer on May 13, 1790, there were 117 communicants including Rosina Affrica, Adam and Christiana Carl, Anna Maria Carl, George Carl, Martin Carl, David and Rosanah Melhorn, Jacob and Eve Rudisell, Peter and Catharine Shultz, Frederick and Julian Shultz, and Henry and Mary Magdalena Shultz.
When the third church was planned, George Carl and Henry Shultz were asked to be part of the building committee. For their services they received $100.00. Jacob Rudisell, Esq., donated the lot, and was appointed trustee of the church. Daniel Barnitz, who owned and operated a tavern on the square during the Revolution, was an elder, along with Jacob Ebersole. Samuel Forney was one of the deacons. Peter Grumbine was asked to provide a bell for the third church. For this task he received $65. 00 and the privilege of having his name engraved on the bell, which he did.
Peter Shultz, Sr., a church warden during the ministry of Lars Nyberg, the second pastor, had three sons and their wives buried in the third church cemetery. None were less then 70 years old when they died.
Frederick Shultz, was the church treasurer in 1808, and Henry Shultz in 1815. Daniel Gitt became trustee in 1846. At the time of the incorporation of the church in 1857, Jacob Carl was an elder.
Rev. Jacob Albert, the twelfth minister of St. Matthew's, had four (4) children buried in the graveyard. Two (2) of the girls were buried within three (3) days of each other.
Sophia Susan, the wife of Henry S. Faber, died of childbed fever in 1844. Their daughter, Sophia Stauter, died 20 days after her mother. In 1875, Sarah Bollinger, the wife of George Bollinger, died of childbed fever. Their son, William J. , died two (2) days later.
Two brothers, George A, and George G, Kehler, gave their sons the same name: Christian H. L. Kehler. Both sons died the same year - one at age 14, the other, one year old.
The Gift family has more members (12) buried in the cemetery than any other family. Three (3) of these were named William. One of the Gitt family, Mary Magdalen, lived to be 102 years old, the oldest person buried in the graveyard.
St. Matthew's has several veterans of the Revolutionary War buried in its cemetery. These are Peter Grumbine, Peter Hull, Samuel Long, Henry Michael, George Grove, John Myers, George D. Baugher, Jacob Rudisell (Esq.), George Forney, Jacob Houser, Jacob Carl, Daniel Eyster, John Bart, Adam Diller, Dr. William Schmith, John Riesinger, Simon Melhorn, Simon Koppenheffer, John Jacob Kohler, Frederick Metzger, Anthony Hinkle, Henry Shultz, Andrew Kohler, and Peter Shultz. Another veteran is John Trone, who fought in the War of 1812.
Several of those buried at St. Matthew's were not born in Hanover. Among these were Anna Maria Carl (nee Marvel), who was born in Lancaster; Charles Gottlob Schwartz, born in the earldom of Stollberg in Saxony; Luther H. Skinner, Esq., who was born in
Royalton, Vermont; and John Frederick Lung and his wife Elizabeth Caroline who were born at Annweiler, Rhine district of Bavaria in Germany.
Some prominent businessmen or their families were buried here. These include Jeremiah Franklin, the owner of the Franklin House, a tavern on York Street, and Lydia Forney, wife of Jacob Forney, president of the Railroad Company.
Among the doctors buried in the cemetery were Dr. John Metzger, Dr. William Schmith, Dr. John L. Smith, and Dr. Henry C. Wampler, who became trustee of the church in 1836.
Josiah Forney died in 1881 and was the last person interred in the cemetery.
The saddest story of those buried in the cemetery is that of Henry, whose tombstone was broken to the extent that his surname, birthdate, and deathdate are unknown.
One fact which should be noted is that the largest proportion of people buried in the graveyard died between infancy and age 15, and between ages 60 and 100. A relatively small number died between ages 16 and 59.