Meadville Tribune

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June 18, 2013

Dedicated group in search of history at Geneva Cemetery site

GREENWOOD TOWNSHIP — The genealogists, historians and local residents who scoured overgrown, knee-high fields to uncover Old Geneva Cemetery described the sight as bittersweet — awe-inspiring in its significance, but in a depressing state of disrepair.

The centuries-old burial site sits under a lone tree, just a stone’s throw from a private residence on Hafer Lane by Route 285, and contains the scattered, broken remnants of headstones engraved with the names of Geneva’s founding families and early settlers.

“I was so pleased to have found it,” said Carl Hall, who left his Illinois home armed only with his personal, albeit extensive, research to embark on this historical journey. “But when I got there, I couldn’t understand why anyone would just let it go like this.”

Two gravestones out of the handful pulled up from the sod still have their original mounts. The rest lay flat, mostly unidentifiable. Their few, visible markings date the cemetery around the mid-1800s.

“They’re like a jigsaw puzzle,” Hall said. “Not a single stone is in one piece.”

Kathy Brubaker, of the Linesville Historical Society, accompanied Hall and a small search party, comprised mainly of Hall’s local relatives, armed with landscaping and gardening tools.

Together they cleared the tall grass around the site and unearthed the first few stones early last week.

“There’s still about four people, that we know of, who we haven’t found yet,” Brubaker said. “I’m estimating about 32 people were buried here.”

Brubaker joined the search on Hall’s request and helped compile an approximate list of the late Geneva residents believed to have been buried there.

Although her work is based in Linesville, Brubaker continued working with Hall after the first groundbreaking, believing in the site’s county-wide historical significance.

“All of the families who settled here originally are tied into one another,” she said. “I was out here a couple of years ago trying to find it. No one had any idea where it was.”

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