Ewing Cemetery Research Project

When the Ewing Cemetery Association was incorporated in 2006, a research project got underway to establish the historic context in which the cemetery had been established and to discover the relationships that existed among the many families whose names are found there.

Cemetery History

Ewing Cemetery is located on Ewing Road, Barree Township, Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania, within sight of the village of Manor Hill. The oldest gravestone in the cemetery is that of Alexander McCormick, who died in 1807. Research into the early history of this cemetery suggests that it was established around or even before 1800 and may be the oldest cemetery in the valley — older than the graveyard at the Shaver’s Creek Presbyterian Church in Manor Hill. This would explain why prominent early members of the church, such as Alexander McCormick, are buried here rather than at the church.

Unmarked Graves 

A more definite date of beginning is impossible to determine because the earliest burials are unmarked, although they probably once had fieldstone markers. The unmarked area in the middle of the cemetery, just inside the gate, is assumed to be the resting place of the first persons buried here, perhaps in the 18th century.

Shaver’s Creek Manor 

The farm on which the cemetery was established lay within the boundaries of Shaver’s Creek Manor, one of the many tracts of land, known as manors, which the heirs of William Penn set aside for themselves when new areas of Pennsylvania were opened for settlement. After the Revolutionary War, the Penn heirs were required to divest themselves of their Manor lands.

Deed Research 

Title to the farm on which the cemetery was established was granted to John and Agnes McGill in 1794, and they sold it to John Hennen October 15, 1800. The property was acquired by James Ewing on May 28, 1829; prior to that date, the Ewing family had lived on a tract of land, northwest of Mooresville, acquired by Thomas Ewing before the Revolutionary War. The farm bought by James Ewing, including the cemetery, remained in the Ewing family until the death of Henrietta Ewing in 1950. Henrietta was the last surviving member of William and Mary Ann Ewing’s family, which had occupied the farm since before the turn of the century. The Ewing family’s long ownership of the property explains its being known as the Ewing Cemetery, although, as the list of those buried here makes clear, other families have used the cemetery throughout its history.

Current Ownership

Henrietta Ewing’s nephew and executor, James C. Hennen, sold the Ewing family farm to Hugh and Margaret Carey in 1950, but excluded the cemetery from the sale, as shown on the draft recorded with the Careys’ deed. Ownership of the excluded cemetery, however, was not specified.

When research into the ownership of Ewing Cemetery was undertaken in the Fall of 2006, it was discovered that the residual heirs of the estate of Henrietta Ewing (and their heirs, if they were deceased) were the joint owners of the cemetery property, although they were unaware of their ownership. These heirs were all children and grandchildren of Henrietta’s married brother and sisters.

To date, thirty-one heirs have been identified — three in Pennsylvania and the remainder scattered over the West and Mid-West. Much credit is due Mary Lou Ewing Meng, of Pontiac, Illinois, for her cooperation in finding the heirs of Henrietta Ewing’s brother James, who went to Illinois in the 1870’s [see the MID-WEST CONNECTION]. Mary Lou is a granddaughter of James and has been an essential link to James’ many descendants.

The Ewing Cemetery Association, formed in 2006 by descendants of persons buried at Ewing, has pursued the necessary legal steps to obtain title to the cemetery.