A National Historic Register Site

Financially

Many cemeteries today are facing the problem of changing patterns in burying the dead with many families opting out of traditional customs and Easton Cemetery is no exception. The main source of income had been from burials, but this is no longer the case. The cemetery faces serious financial issues today just to keep the grounds open and in good repair, to say nothing of the need for building and gravestone restoration. It is most important that we are able to build up the endowment fund to the level where it can not only supply the funds needed each year to cover the cemetery costs, but also allow for needed repairs and improvements. The cemetery maintenance crew of two full-time employees is responsible for 86 acres and 9 miles of roads, thousands of monuments and removal of leaves or snow.

 

Endowment Fund

As operating costs became more than income, the cemetery endowment had to be used. Donations must now be secured to build this fund up to the level of providing sufficient income for the cemetery to continue operating. Donations will be added to this fund once operating costs are covered.

Road Repaving

Cars were allowed in Easton Cemetery in 1913 and it soon became apparent that the dirt roads were no longer adequate. Now the cemetery is faced with the daunting problem of resurfacing many miles of road within the grounds. Income is not sufficient to cover the costs of the major expense of this great need.


Gravestone Restoration

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From 1849 to the present, Mother Nature, pollution, and vandalism have caused deterioration in many of the monuments. The cemetery maintenance staff does as much as it can to care for the headstones when other duties permit it. Repair and/or restoration is costly, time-consuming, and skilled work. The cemetery staff is trained in this process and is able to provide this service, although it may be too late for some of the monuments.

Basic cleaning can be done by volunteers after a relatively short period of instruction. It is our hope that a team can be trained to help preserve our beautiful headstones where possible. For monuments that need more expertise, we hope to have donations given for this purpose.


Mausoleum Restoration

A mausoleum built in 1919 is among the buildings on the cemetery grounds. All of the burial niches within it were quickly sold and it is not open to the general public except on special occasions. Inside it is a beautiful structure that is badly in need of repair. Ideally, the descendants of those buried within would contribute to make these repairs, but in so many cases it is not possible to find them.

 

Volunteer Opportunities

Docents:

The cemetery offers guided tours for children and adults which provide more detailed information than is given in the self-guided tour booklets. Specialized tours for Girl Scouts and for local 4th grade students and their teachers are also available upon request. Training is provided for anyone interested in becoming a Docent for these tours. If you like working with people, learning about history and being outdoors, this is for you!

Contact the cemetery office for more information.

Master Gardeners:

The cemetery grounds offer many opportunities for anyone who likes to work outside, especially those who like to work with plants. The Northampton County Master Gardeners are working with the Easton Cemetery on some beautification and deer resistant plant projects. There are three projects currently in need of volunteers.

1. Easton Grave Gardeners:

Dedicated to the preservation and beautification of the cradle graves (planters), urns and other “plantable spaces” in the cemetery. It is their hope to bring these graves back to the full bloom their loved ones intended. Under the guidance of master gardener, Lois Prytherch, volunteers were hard at work during 2018 planting many of these special grave sites, but there are more to plant. Deer-resistant perennials were selected for planting in 2018 and many volunteers providing some from their own gardens with oregano, yarrow, nasturtium, and lemon balm being the most effective. Soil, mulch and plants are provided for the volunteers who often chose to “adopt” a grave(s) or plot(s) by caring for the plants, weeding, watering and nurturing. Other volunteers may want a more general approach by watering and attending to all plots without committing to just one.

Community work days are held through the spring and summer, often on Saturday mornings, but also when volunteers are available. Water is available on the cemetery grounds but volunteers need to bring your own containers.Volunteers are needed to continue this project and restore more sites. Work may be done any time during the hours in which the cemetery is open.

Contact Steph Schwartz-Smith at eastongravegardeners@gmail.com for detailed information.

2. Rose tenders:

In 2019 the master gardeners plan to take a census of and identify the rose bushes in the cemetery. Once identified, a plan for documenting the care, pruning and maintenance of the roses will be established. Volunteers can adopt one or more rose bushes and be responsible for weeding, mulching, pruning and feeding. The amount of time required is about an hour per week, or more if you wish.

For more information contact Lois Prytherch at 610-252-6978.

3. Scatter Garden:

In 2017 planning began for an area in the cemetery where family and friends can spread the cremated remains of their loved one in a peaceful, pleasant setting. This area in the cemetery is to the right and near the back of the mausoleum and has a wall where the name of the person will be listed. The Scatter Garden needs volunteers who can help clear weeds, lay paths, spread mulch, plant perennials and “decorate” the pathways with benches, urns, etc.

For more information contact Lois Prytherch at 610-252-6978.

Research:

Because interesting stories still remain to be told about the people buried in the cemetery, their monuments and the buildings, volunteers are needed to assist with researching this information. Many Civil War veterans are buried in Easton Cemetery and we plan to develop a self-guided walking tour featuring some of them.

If you have an interest in any of these areas, we can use your help. There are many resource materials that can be found locally in the Marx Room at Easton Area Public Library as well as at the Jane Moyer Library in the Sigal Museum.

Contact the cemetery office for more information.


Grave Marker Cleaning

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Cleaning grave markers requires the proper tools, safe chemicals and a skilled hand. Marianne Greenfield, owner of Gravestone Cleaning Service (graveart@stny.rr.com), traveled from Delhi, New York, to give a hands-on workshop in Easton Cemetery on how to clean monuments. Volunteers used water, craft sticks, a special commercial product, and soft brushes to remove dirt, lichens and pollution from some monuments. In many cases they were delighted to be able to read the inscriptions that were then revealed.

In the case of flat gravestones, an additional step of removing grass and dirt around them before starting was required. Ms. Greenfield emphasized the importance of following the correct procedures in caring for headstones to prevent any irreparable damage being done.

If you like being outdoors and don’t mind getting a little dirty, this is for you. The cemetery hopes to have a group of volunteers who will continue the gravestone preservation begun by the workshop volunteers.

Contact the cemetery office for more information.

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