Re-enactors to ‘waken’ the dead at Slate Hill
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.lowermakefieldhistoricalsociety.com for more details.
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.