Walking Through the Past

Life and Happiness

This morning I engaged in one of my favorite pastimes: cemetery hunting. Before you think I’m a little odd, let me explain. I’m a genealogist. Well, it’s a hobby more than a career choice. I’ve been researching my family’s history for several years and just recently was inducted into the National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution. My ancestor, John Middleswarth, served in the war. Middlesworth, a variation on the spelling, is my dad’s surname. Now, I’m searching for a revolutionary war soldier on my mother’s side. (I plan on doing more as I can, but I felt that having one soldier for each of my parents was a good start.)

This lead me to an old cemetery called Chillisquaque Presbyterian just outside my hometown. When I say old – I’m talking OLD. There have been no new burials there in almost a hundred years (I think). It juts up against a farm and is surrounded by roads and agricultural. In the distance, you can hear traffic on US Route 80. It was sort of surreal. Cows grazed, and contemplated my arrival, from the field next door.


The cemetery was once adjoined to a church, that, I think, my ancestors started. There is still a cement slab that was once the pulpit area.


I knew my potential ancestor, John Murray (odd that both war ancestors might be named John), is buried here because of the awesome site Find A Grave. If you like this sort of thing and are searching for your ancestors, I highly recommend this site to get you started. It’s been a great help to me. Even though there is a picture of John’s tombstone on Find A Grave, I always like to see for myself (if the cemetery is close enough). Plus, I just love these ancients cemeteries. I feel their history when I walk through the old limestone markers – some too worn to read, which seems such a shame.

I found John quite easily, but was saddened to not see a Revolutionary War marker. This probably means that he did not serve in the war. Although he may be my ancestor, he would not complete my Revolutionary War chart.


But I’m not too discouraged because I still got to see this awesome cemetery, the old pulpit area and even this really old Revolutionary War marker and this awesome metal gate.

I’ll keep you posted once I figure out if John Murray really is my ancestor and if this ancient cemetery was started by my family. If so, I’ll go back (maybe when it’s warmer) and take some more pics. I bet it’s beautiful in the summer…

PS – Hope you’re all observing Good Friday, and remember, Sunday’s coming!


4 thoughts on “Walking Through the Past

  1. Good story! I, too, find old cemeteries fascinating for a variety of reasons. A family member has done some genealogy research on our family. Found out my great-grandfather on my dad’s side was a full-blooded Seneca Native American. His daughter, my grandmother, was placed in an orphanage after her mother died and she never knew her parents. This was back when families were often split due to a death of a parent. She did not know about her brothers until she was an adult and one tracked her down and showed up at her door,

  2. I love going to cemeteries so much! I drag Jason along. He mostly does the driving and helps me search for who I am looking for. Find A Grave is a great site. Usually when I know we have some time to explore the cemetery I will check Find A Grave to see if there are any requests for that cemetery. Happy ancestor hunting!!

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