Horner's Cemetery records local history
A few weeks ago, I received a telephone call from my friend Peggy Moser. Peggy has led a group of volunteers who are restoring the Horner's Cemetery. The historic cemetery is located off Route 329 behind God's Missionary Church in East Allen Township. Since 2008 they have done extensive research using original documents from the Presbyterian Church archives center in Philadelphia.
Scotch-Irish immigrants settled in this area in 1728, thus becoming the first permanent village in Northampton County. They constructed the Allen Township Presbyterian Church on the site. The original church was a log structure until a new church was constructed.
The Horner's Cemetery Historical Society has repaired tombstones and stone walls at the cemetery and has removed dead trees.
What's in a name?
Jane Horner was killed in an Indian raid in 1763 during the French and Indian War.
Many of the early settlers were buried there. Some notable personalities interred are General Robert Brown, Revolutionary soldier and friend of George Washington; Gen. John Ralston, Continental Congress and Constitutional Convention member; and James Ralston, who constructed Fort Ralston during the French and Indian War.
Another interesting burial is Jane Ralston, whose husband, John, was a chaplain with the Northampton Militia. He was pastor of the Presbyterian Church, installed in 1772. He crossed the Delaware River with Washington's Army but was captured by the Hessians. Hessian bayonets ended his life. Rev. Rosbrugh was interred in the church yard of the First Presbyterian Church in Trenton.
The first white man to have settled in what is now Northampton, Hugh Wilson, is also among the deceased. Wilson purchased 400 acres from William Allen, who was a creditor of the Penn family. He constructed a grist mill on the Hokendauqua Creek.
He also built the Wilson Block House. The historic structure was moved to Laubach Avenue a number of years ago. It is the proud symbol of the Borough of Northampton.
This writer once organized many field trips to the historic cemetery when I "attempted" to teach at Northampton Senior High School. Unfortunately, with all the state and federal mandates now in force, very little local history is taught to our students. Many know nothing about our local heritage.
Visit Horner's Cemetery if you can! It's a piece of history where one can contemplate and appreciate our past. Call Peggy or write to Mr. Kevin Brown, 2050 Dennis Lane, Bethlehem, 18015. They welcome all volunteers.
Thanks, Peggy, for all you and the group do at Horner's Cemetery.