Research into the origins of this cemetery suggests that it may have been 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 nearby Manor Hill. This would explain why prominent early members of the church, such as Alexander McCormick, are buried here rather than at the church.
The farm on which the cemetery was established lay within the boundaries of Shaver’s Creek Manor, one of the many tracts of land 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.
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 May 28, 1829, and 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 there makes clear, other families have used the cemetery throughout its history.
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. 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 it was clear that 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. Mary Lou is a granddaughter of James and has been an essential link to James’s many descendants.
The Ewing Cemetery Association, formed in 2006 by descendants of persons buried at Ewing, has pursued the legal steps required to obtain title to the cemetery.