Join us for Service Day (April 16) at the Asper Cemetery

The Department of History, History Club, and the Oakes Museum of Natural History are teaming up once again on Service Day (April 16) for historical restoration work at the Asper Burial Ground in northern York County. I am hoping this is our final season out there, and that we have enough information to complete our work on the cemetery.

Sign up here.

To read about our previous research and service work at the cemetery, see this post.


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The official description of our planned work this year: 

This project is a joint session of Messiah College History Club and the Oakes Museum of Natural History. The directors and contact people are Dr. David Pettegrew (Dept of History), Ken Mark (Director, Oakes Museum of Natural History), and history club officers Katy Kaslow, Megan Ekstrom, and Kyle Polinka. We will be working to record and restore an 18th-19th century historic cemetery known as the Asper Burial Grounds or the "Little Bermudian Cemetery", which was a community established originally by members of Ephrata Cloister. Work will occur in the cemetery from 8:30 AM-2:30 PM.

Following a brief overview of the preservation project, participants will spend the day recording the stones, removing ground hog debris, and filling out paperwork to register the site with the state of Pennsylvania. Activities will include the following:

1. We will excavate mounded earth from groundhog disturbance

2. We will record the minimum number of gravestones and photograph the gravestones

3. We will work to complete a Pennsylvania Bureau of Historic Preservation Cemetery Survey Form to register the site with the state

4. We will conduct coring tests within the cemetery in areas we suspect have buried tombstones, and will uncover buried headstones and footstones

5. We will weed the cemetery with gardening tools

6. We will sketch the tombstones and make squeezes of the headstones

Hope to see you there! For more information, contact Katy Kaslow of the History Club.

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