CCHS – Primary Documents

I wanted to look into a number of primary documents to get as much information on these soldiers as I could. First, I have a number of newspapers from the Lincoln Cemetery dropfile at CCHS. They cover the discussion and protest of the cemetery/park in the early 1970’s. They also explain that a protest was formed not because of the removal of the headstones, like we might think, but because a park took away possible homes for African Americans.

Evening Sentinel 1971 - September 10

Evening Sentinel 1971 - September 10

Evening Sentinel 1971 - Oct 1

Evening Sentinel 1971 - Oct 1

Evening Sentinel 1971 - Nov 18

Evening Sentinel 1971 - Nov 18

These newspapers were key in understanding how the town was responding to the cemetery turned park and understanding what the issues around it were. I was actually really surprised that the protests were not about getting rid of the African American history. But I learned over this project that the graveyard had been used for a long time as a place for children to run around and play. Also that it was fairly eroded and run down by the 1970’s. Still, as a historian, I still hope to find more reports of people upset by the loss of history.

Next, I looked into the minutes of the Borough of Carlisle Council, which were also in the Lincoln Cemetery dropfile. The minutes talk about the creation of “James Young Memorial Park.” I did not research much into this name or into how the area got the name “Hope

Borough of Carlisle Minutes

Station” as it is today, but I would like to. The minutes describe how Reuben Smitley, superintendent of the Carlisle Parks and Recreation Board started talking about the park in early September, 1971. Eventually, they called for a public meeting, which was attended by 20 members of the community. I was really confused within the meetings at how Smitley seemingly resigned in the minutes one day, then was still in the same position for all the rest of the minutes. Nevertheless, the minutes below go well with the newspapers above in constructing a timeline of events in 1971. I uploaded the minutes I thought were relevant from the dropfile at CCHS.

Borough of Carlisle Minutes

Borough of Carlisle Minutes

Borough of Carlisle Minutes

Lastly, I wanted to post some of the burial records I found for the soldiers at Lincoln Cemetery. While looking at the Cumberland County Courthouse website, I tried searching their archives for records on Lincoln Cemetery. This linked me to CCHS, saying that there should be records with the “Veterans Grave Registry of Cumberland County.” There were also supposed to be records within the Deaths and Miscellaneous Register Almshouse.” The later includes deaths of blacks and whites and if they were claimed by family, their race, their name, when they died, and for some, where they were buried. However, none of these seemed to relate to Lincoln Cemetery. The Veterans Grave Registry at CCHS turned up great results! There were seven pages of burial records for the veterans at Lincoln cemetery. Information included their name, regiment, section, cemetery, street location of cemetery, grave number and even the type of headstone material. I have included below a few of the pictures I took of the document, once again, courtesy of CCHS.

Bolden, Bush and Cephas

Fisher, Fisher and Howard

Lane, McFarland, and McFarland

These seven pages of records open up a lot areas for research. I could use them to research the time of service of these veterans and explain what their units did during that time. I could analyze the different materials of gravestones and symbols sketched into them too. One of things that really caught my eye is how they are all reported by individuals, which really makes me want to research into who submitted the information. In fact, I would love to do that for most of my materials if I could. These primary documents open way more questions than closing in on answers, which is what I would expect.

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