Academy HIll Cemetery, Wellsboro

Created: Tuesday, 31 March 2009 Last Updated: Friday, 18 November 2011 Written by Nathan Zipfel Print Email
Academy Hill Cemetery
(Wellsboro Cemetery)
Tioga County, PA

(Interesting article written by Mrs. C.E. Jennings of Wellsboro)

On July 14, 1806, Benjamin Wistar Morris and his wife, Mary Wells Morris, conveyed to John Fleming, William Hill Wells and William Ellis, as trustees, 150 acres of land "for the use of Tioga county forever."  The selection of this site was the culmination of plans of Mr. Morris for the purpose of establishing ?? a borough in honor of his wife.

Soon he caused an advertisement to be inserted in the Lycoming Gazette offering superior inducements to purchasers of lots.  A choice of the first ten lots, 60 x 250 feet would be sold for $20 each, also the privilege of purchasing 50 acres adjoining the limits of the town at $2.50 an acre, payable in four, five or six years.  The Pine Creek Lumber Co. mad a similar offer to farmers to purchase farms of from 100 to 200 acres.

At this time, Mr. Morris had set apart a half acre, on what was later known as Academy Hill, to be used as a grave yard.  In time, it began to be crowded, and another burial place was secured.  Many were reluctant to abandon the old graveyard and were opposed to the removal of the remains of their friends.  To them, they place was a sacred spot hallowed by the tenderest memories.

However, a number were removed to the beautiful new cemetery, and the old spot was left, except in rare instances, to a state of neglect.  The remains of Benj. Wistar Morris, who died in 1825, and those of his wife, who died in 1819, were removed to the northeast corner of the new cemetery.

Below is a list of those graves still marked by stones in a state of good preservation, while some are unmarked, and some have markers of plain native stone.  Among them are to be found the graves of three soldiers who fought for the independence of America, and other pioneers who gave to Wellsboro the benefit of their integrity and loyalty.

Ebenezer Jackson, a Revolutionary war soldier, had lived in a small frame house diagonally across from the Dr. Shearer house.  He was greatly interested in hunting for minerals, firmly believing that wonderful resources were hiding in the hills of Tioga county and claimed to be the first suggester of the presence of coal in the county.

He was the grandfather of Mary Emily Jackson, who was a pupil at the Wellsboro Academy in 1828, and who developed a good deal of literary ability.  Her poems were published, and were pronounced equal to any written by Mrs. Hermans, the poetess of that day.  Mrss Mary Miller, of Wellsboro, is a descendant of Ebenezer Jackson.  The stone which marked his grave has been destroyed.

Israel Greenleaf, another soldier of the Revolutionary War, was a well known early citizen, and lived in a frame house near the present home of Hon. David Cameron, and made wagons in a large building located on the present site of the Hon. A.B. Dunsmore residence.  He died June 1, 1847, aged 82 years.  Sarah, his wife, died in 1840.  It is said that one of his descendants, J. Emory Bryant, of Crooked creek, has in his possession a coat worn by the soldier while serving with Washington.

Joseph Thompson, a Revolutionary patriot, died Nov. 23, 1842, aged 85 years.  He came to Wellsboro from Ostego county, N.Y., in 1820.  A daughter, Lucretia, married James Kimball, an early hotel keeper here.  Another daughter became the wife of Col. Hiram Freeborn, for many years a prominent business man of Knoxville.

Johnathan Webster, botanic physician, who it has been learned was a descendant of Noah Webster, died Aug. 15, 1843, aged 43 years, and Milly, his wife, died April 8, 1848, aged 48 years.

Amos Coolidge (grandparents of Owen B. Coolidge of Jersey Shore, Pa.)  died May 16, 1851, and Pamela, his wife, died in 1843.  A daughter, Mary, died in 1845.  Amos Coolidge first build and lived some years in a house that stood on the site of the Bennett house, now called "Beuna Vista." He was the father of a large family, and has many descendants living in and near Wellsboro at the present time.  He was an active and enterprising man, and did much to advance the material interests of the time.

Daniel Ritter died June 15, 1843, aged 43 years
David Henry Jr., died July 6, 1850, aged 67 years
James Henry died September 30, 1849, aged 60 years
Rufus Butler died Dec. 6, 1847, aged 74 years
Isabel Butler, his wife, died March 5, 1842, aged 64 years
Darius Morsman died Aug 30, 1847, aged 44 years
David Hurley died Sept 14, 1854, aged 58 years
James R. Sligh and Charles M. Sligh, sons of David and Susannah Sligh, died in 1840
Rebecca Jane, daughter of Jonathan and Rebecca Cole, died in 1845
Polly, wife of Thomas McCarter, died in 1849
Col. Isaac Field died in 1828
Thomas B. Field died in 1845
Barbara, wife of Prescott Field, died in 1849
Silas Spencer died in 1842
Alice Baily, daughter of W.D. and Eliza Baily, died in 1853
Ada Alana, daughter of Simon and Philena Landis died in 1854
Prudy, wife of Giles Wilcox, died in 1835
Elvira, wife of Jacob L. Ogden, died 1840
Rose Elin Thorp died 1849
Henry, son of Edward and Lucinda Black, died 1846
Rebecca, wife of Francis Wetherbee died 1839
Eliza, wife of George C. Campbell died 1849
Christiana, daughter of Leonard and Nancy Phouts, died 1834
Robert Burley died 1854
Mary, his wife, died 1843
Mary B. Osborne died 1842
Lucretia, wife of James Kimball died 1839
Mary, wife of Urial Broughton, died 1847
Wesley, son of Alason and Emily Kimball, died 1843
Margaret, wife of Henry Sticklin, died 184?
Mary, daughter of Daniel and Catharine Fisher, died 1852
Lewis Seeley, son of Benjamin and Tanner Seeley, died 1842
Ellen Amelia, duaghter of John and Julia Sofield, died 1848
Hannah, wife of E. Wakeman, died 1842
William T., son of Wm. and Mary Derbyshire, died 1839
Olive, daughter T.O. and Samantha Booth, died 1847
John M. Kilborn died 1925
Emily, daughter of Alpheus and Adeline Brown, died 1844
Thomas J. son Alpheus and Adeline Brown, died 1838
Charles W., son of Frederick and Eliza Bodine, died 1838

Many epitaphs are still distinct and interesting, of which the following are characteristic:

"Ere sin could blight or sorrow fade, Death
came with friendly care the spring bud to
Heaven conveyed, and Bud it blossom there."

"Friends nor physicians could save
My mortal body from the grave
Nor can the grave confine me
When Christ my all bids me."

"Remember me when you pass by
As you are now, so once was I
As I am now, soon you must be
Prepare for death and follow me."

The preservation of this historic spot is well under way.  The underbrush has been cut down and cleared away, opening up a beautiful vista looking toward the western hills, wooded with maple and locust.  The Spanish American War Veterans, Father Reap and members of his congregation, members of the G.A.R., the P.O.S. of A. and several individuals have already generously shown their interest to be patriotic.  But to carry on this work should appeal to every loyal son and daughter of Wellsboro.

It is to be hoped that sufficient help in the way of money and services will be forthcoming, so that the work may be completed in August, and our beautiful town of Wellsboro may add one more historic memorial to its rich heritage of pioneer worth and beauty.

Those wishing to have a part in this are requested to communicate with Mrs. Charles L. Miller or Mrs. Charles E. Jennings. ------ Louise Forsythe Jennings

source:  Early Vital Records of Pennsylvania, Presented by the Fort Antes Chapter, DAR - Jersey Shore, PA  1969