Re-en­ac­tors to ‘waken’ the dead at Slate Hill

The Advance of Bucks County - - YARDLEY-MORRISVILLE AREA - By Pe­tra Ch­es­ner Sch­lat­ter

LOWER MAKEFIELD - Day af­ter day, hun­dreds of driv­ers ride past the at­trac­tive stone wall on vard­ley-Morrisville Road with no idea of what’s be­hind it. poon, they’ll have a chance to find out.

Be­hind the walls is the his­toric plate Hill Ceme­tery, one of the old­est in Bucks County, and on Oct. OS at T p.m., it will come to life when the Lower Makefield His­tor­i­cal poci­ety hosts a twi­light tour of the burial ground. The tour was last held in OMMS. That night, about SM peo­ple braved a cold down­pour to learn about ptone Hill and its his­tory.

Kellee Green Blake, the im­me­di­ate past pres­i­dent of the NMM-mem­ber so­ci­ety, is the event’s pro­gram co­or­di­na­tor. rn­like many other events held this time of year, this tour is not set up to make vis­i­tors wary of things that go bump in the night.

“It is not a scary ghost tour,” Blake said. “But it should prove vis­ually stun­ning as we light the walls of the ceme­tery with luminaries and guide par­tic­i­pants with lanterns.”

The tour will be more than just a leader walk­ing and talk­ing as the vis­i­tors fol­low along. Many area res­i­dents will por­tray char­ac­ters who are buried at plate Hill.

Among those fea­tured will be vard­ley founder Wil­liam vard­ley, played by kew­town’s Michael Hutchin­son. It is be­lieved that vard­ley is buried at plate Hill, though no con­tem­po­rary records claim his ex­act burial site.

“It has been gen­er­ally con­cluded,” Blake said, “that vard­ley and his fam­ily are here be­cause it is the sanc­tioned bury­ing ground for the first [nu­ak­ersz in Makefield and it was ac­tive at the time of vard­ley’s death.” A N9PMs fire de­stroyed the records of the ear­li­est buri­als in plate Hill Ceme­tery.

mro­fes­sor gohn kadig of Lower Makefield will por­tray gohn pharp, who is buried un­der the ceme­tery’s ear­li­est stone. The ka­tional mark per­vice es­ti­mates that about 49M buri­als were made at plate Hill, of which only N8R are marked. Most early Friends es­chewed the use of stones, con­sid­er­ing them a sign of van­ity.

Blake said that early nu­ak­ers from the Falls Monthly Meet­ing es­tab­lished the bury­ing ground in NS8S on the hill of the slate pit in Lower Makefield, hence the name “plate Hill.”

The land was do­nated by Lower Makefield set­tler Thomas gan­ney. In NTON, gan­ney’s son do­nated an­other par­cel and in NT88 goshua An­der­son, whose prop­er­ties sur­rounded the ceme­tery, do­nated yet an­other sec­tion to Lower Makefield Town­ship for use as a “pub­lic bury­ing ground.”

Blake cred­ited an in­crease in ge­nealog­i­cal data in re­cent years with mak­ing it eas­ier to fig­ure out just who is buried at plate Hill.

“Re­search­ing the in­di­vid­u­als buried in the ceme­tery proved much eas­ier than just six years ago (when the last tour took placeF,” she said.

Blake be­lieves the plate Hill Ceme­tery rep­re­sents a mi­cro­cosm of vard­ley-Makefield his­tory.

“kot only is it one of the ear­li­est ceme­ter­ies in Bucks County, it doc­u­ments the area’s de­mo­graphic, reli­gious and cul­tural her­itage,” she said. “Inside these ceme­tery walls are many of the town­ship’s ear­li­est nu­aker set­tlers, yeo­man famers, later Ir­ish Catholic im­mi­grants, af­flu­ent trades­men, pau­pers, and vet­er­ans of the Rev­o­lu­tion­ary and Civil Wars, in­clud­ing men and women of color.” There are six lo­cal men who served in the seg­re­gated rnited ptates ‘Col­ored’ Troops dur­ing the Civil War also buried there.

Other lo­cal res­i­dents tak­ing part in the tour will be Howard Kritzer of kew­town; for­mer Lower Makefield pu­per­vi­sor Grace God­shalk; Hank Hoffmeis­ter; Lower Makefield res­i­dents mat Kolle, Dorothy Carr and gen­nifer Hauck; Falls­ing­ton’s Marti ptevens; and Rustin Miller of Ch­ester­field, k.g.

Mu­si­cians, led by Robert ptevens, will per­form pe­riod mu­sic. Blake, Dr. He­len Heinz, goyce An­der­son and Ruth Lo­gan will serve as cos­tumed guides for the tour.

mar­tic­i­pants should wear com­fort­able walk­ing shoes. Reser­va­tions are re­quired.

sisit www.low­er­make­field­his­tor­i­cal­so­ci­ for more de­tails.

Photo by Pe­tra Ch­es­ner Sch­lat­ter

The Slate Hill Ceme­tery in Lower Makefield Town­ship will be the lo­ca­tion of a twi­light tour on Oct. 26 where re-en­ac­tors will por­tray real his­toric char­ac­ters buried there.

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