What's Historic About Brookville, Pennsylvania?

The Old Jefferson Cemetery
By Matt Lewis

Cemeteries are not known for what they are but who lies within them. The old Jefferson Cemetery, near the village of Baxter two miles south of Brookville, contains many of the country's earliest settlers.

The old Jefferson Cemetery is dotted with early stone markers, the first local cemetery to have such permanent grave markers. Almost all of the early pioneers found their final resting place in the hilltop cemetery including Moses Knapp, one of the first settlers in the county. His wife, Susan (Matson) is also buried there.

The oldest marker in the cemetery belongs to Molly Lucas who died on March 11, 1825, five years before Jefferson County was established.

One of Jefferson County's pioneer medical men, Dr. Samuel Dowling, is also buried there. He organized the county's first militia unit, the Independent Greens. He was 54 years old when he died in 1860.

Other early pioneers buried in the graveyard include: Joseph Love, Enoc Thompson, David Fisher, William Morrison, William Thompson, Elizabeth Kelso and Samuel Magill.

From the cemetery, could be seen four different churches at one time. Each congregation used the cemetery but none could claim it as their own. The deed was obtained directly from the Holland Land Company.

Buried in the old cemetery were the people who came into the wilderness, cleared the land and planted the seeds of civilization.

Joseph McGiffin, an Irish immigrant, is one of the last burials in the cemetery. He died in 1905 at the age of 99.

The cemetery was vandalized earlier this year and is being restored as a community project with the support of the Brookville Area High School Junior Historians.

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