West Newton Cemetery
Take a historic walking tour of West Newton Cemetery
A resting place along the Great Allegheny Passage
The West Newton Cemetery has been a vista of beauty since its foudning in 1852. It exemplifies a new movement in the United States during the 1850s: a community-oriented cemetery that serves more than one specific family or religion. Easily accessible from the Great Allegheny Passage trail and laid out over 45 acres (with another 30 acres for future development), it has been regarded as one of the most beautiful cemeteries in Pennsylvania by numerous cemetery and veterans‘ groups. With its location next to the Trail, the Cemetery is positioned to be an important tourism attraction when hiking and biking the Great Allegheny Passage. Currently, the grounds are visited by 8,000 people a year who come to experience several historic assets, including a 1905 chapel and a set of Civil War era naval cannons.
The Cemetery is a non-profit organization, where no individual receives any profit or compensation outside of regular wages and salaries paid for services rendered. All monies received are used for maintenance and improvements. The control of the Cemetery is vested in a board of seven trustees that constantly works to ensure that the Cemetery will be an asset for future generations. The Cemetery owes much of its charm to the beautiful rolling hill upon which it lays, as well as to very detail-oriented planning over many years. It is by far the crown jewel of West Newton Borough. With its access right next to the Great Allegheny Passage, the Cemetery is truly a ―”must see” for both locals and visitors in beautiful historic West Newton.
Each Memorial Day Weekend, the residents of West Newton come together to honor the Veterans of the Cemetery. Nearly 400 flags grace the premises and a parade is featured on Memorial Day.
Download the West Newton Cemetery walking brochure
West Newton Cemetery Highlights
1. Hannah Patterson— This woman was a national leader in the women‘s suffrage movement. She was also the Director of the Women‘s Committee for National Defense in which she was honored with the Distinguished Service Medal for her work.
2. First Interment— Charles Sheppard, a stage coach agent, was the first person buried at the West Newton Cemetery in 1852.
3. Jacob Baughman— One of West Newton‘s earliest citizens in the early 1800s, Baughman operated several businesses here including a flour mill. His ventures helped grow this river town, but did not create personal profit. He was also involved in the West Newton Bridge committee.
4. Zinc Markers— Also known as ―white bronze‖ as a marketing ploy, these grey or pale blue markers were sold nationwide from the 1870s to early 1910s from Bridgeport, Connecticut. The markers are hollow inside, and it is believed that gardeners hid tools inside. These markers have withstood time and elements much better than some of their stone neighbors.
5. Darr Mining— On December 19, 1907, 239 miners (both men and boys) died in a mine explosion in near by Smithton. Many of these miners were German immigrants; 22 of the miners are buried here.
6. Fritchman— This marker is a Civil War veteran who was held at Andersonville Prison, officially known as Camp Sumter. Nearly 13,000 of the 45,000 Union prisoners died here in Georgia due to starvation, malnutrition, and other diseases in the summer of 1864.
7. Harry Handel— Born in West Newton in 1894, Handel entered the US Army in 1917. While serving in France, he was gassed by German soldiers of which resulted in death. His body returned to this cemetery in 1918, and the American Legion honored him by naming their Post after him.
8. Suter Mausoleum— This site is the family grave of Eli Sutter. He lived the ―American dream‖ by coming from nothing as a German immigrant working hard to later buy land and sell the properties in the town he founded, nearby Sutersville.
9. Cannons— These military instruments were cast in 1849, but never fired. They arrived in West Newton in 1896 and are 3 of 100 left today. Many others were lost in scrap drives during WWII.
10. Jones Mausoleum— William B. Jones, a Welsh immigrant, opened his brewery along the Yough in 1907. Originally known as ‘Eureka Gold Crown Beer,‘ the name was changed to Jones‘ nickname ‗Stoney‘s Beer‘ as many immigrants had difficulty learning the English terms. William Jones is also the grandfather of TV & Film actress Shirley Jones.
11. Senator Guffey— Joseph Guffey, born outside of West Newton, was instrumental in Woodrow Wilson‘s 1912 presidential win. He was later elected as PA Senator in 1934. He chose to have his mausoleum built underground after touring the battlefields that were bombed in WWII.
12. Ralph Calcagni—This is the burial site of a former Pittsburgh Steelers. He died at the young age of 26 after an exhibition game in August 1948.
13. Immigrants—This section is dedicated to a large population of local immigrants who lived and worked in West Newton. Many of them are of Eastern European descent.
14. Finney Flag— This flagpole are the remains of Captain W.S. Finney Memorial. He served in the Spanish & American War in the Philippines in 1898. Returning to West Newton, Finney started working at the First National Bank in 1903 and finished in 1939 as President. He was also a founding member of the local Rotary Club and served on the Cemetery Board of Trustees.
15. War Memorial— This memorial was added to the Cemetery in 1949 in remembrance of World War II.
16. Chapel— This chapel was built circa 1905 at the cost of $6.500. The Chapel was renovated and rededicated in 1978.