Henderson Cemetery

The cemetery was first known as the Denny-Henderson Cemetery because these two families donated the property to be used as a public burying ground for people who had lived in the surrounding area. Records do not reveal the exact date that these two families made this property available for this purpose, but a list of soldiers buried in the cemetery shows several soldiers who fought in the Revolutionary War as well as the War of 1812. A number of soldiers who fought in the Civil War are also interred there. An approximate date of the inception for the cemetery is the year 1800. The earliest named gravestone is Hannah Henderson who died in 1828, although there are earlier dated stones that show only initials: (J.P. 1807).

In the late 1800s the Oliver Henderson family surveyed a portion of their property adjacent to the cemetery. They divided this land into 54 burial plots. Each plot consisted of space for 8 graves. These lots were sold to families of the community and the proceeds went to the Henderson family. At this time the name of the cemetery was changed from the Denny-Henderson Cemetery to the Henderson Cemetery. In June 20 1892 it is stated that the plan of lots laid out by Oliver P Henderson was recorded in Plan Book Vol VII Page 114 in the Recorders Office of Allegheny County on Nov 18 1884. This section is now referred to as Plan 1.

By the year 1909 the cemetery had grown up in weeds, waist high grass, and excess sprouts from surrounding trees. Rev. HJ Rose, pastor of the Harmarville United Presbyterian church called a meeting in the cemetery May 31, 1909 for the purpose of forming an association to take care of the cemetery. He was selected as chairman. Grace B McRoberts was chosen as secretary. Mr WJ Barton, an attorney, said an application must be made at the court House for a charter which was done in July of that year. The proposed name for the corporation was to be The Harmarville Cemetery Association. It was proposed that the corporation be composed of seven members to be elected annually by ballot. The recorded papers of incorporation and first meeting minutes are transcribed elsewhere in this history. The directors for the year of 1909 were as follows:
Rev Harry J Rose, President
Rev John Henderson
Joseph Barton, Esq., Vice-President
Grace B McRoberts, Secretary
William S Carson, Treasurer
William Nixon
James Smeaton

In the year 1911 The Harmarville Cemetery Association received from Miss Anna Melzena Spring, the heir and owner of the Denny Estate, a gift of a portion of land adjoining the cemetery. Out of this donation of land 100 lots were surveyed. These have been sold over the years and the proceeds used to maintain the cemetery. This section is shown on the Plot Map as Plan 2. Deeds dated from November 24 1925 through October 15 1941 were signed by JR Nixon, President.

As the years claimed the lives of the various faithful board members, by 1950 the care of the cemetery was losing ground. Charles Carson contacted second and third generation survivors for a re-organization of board members. There was a willing response and again pride was taken in this project.

May 30 1952 board members:
Charles Nixon Carson, President
James Stahlsmith, Vice-President
Alvin R Campbell, Treasurer
Elma Hodel, Secretary
WS Carson (the only surviving member of the previous board)
Walter Yute
Mrs Charles Coyle
Samuel Kier
Thomas Vought

August 29 1952 board members were listed as:
Charles Nixon Carson, President
James Stahlsmith, Vice-President
Alvin R Campbell, Treasurer
Elma Hodel, Secretary

The board members in 1975 were:
Charles N Carson, President
Mrs Clara Megill, Vice-President
Elma Hodil, Secretary
John Campbell, Treasurer
William Myers
Vernon Henderson
BJ Heatherington

In 2003 a board member received two early pictures of the cemetery showing a wooden structure supporting the railroad where the concrete wall now bounds the cemetery. There was a hint of a little storage building that once housed mowers and tools used by early groundskeepers.