*** ONLINE AS OF AUGUST 5, 2011 ***
    



Valley View Cemetery - Mahoningtown (New Castle) PA

Valley View Cemetery, a mainly Presbyterian burial ground, was opened in Mahoningtown, Lawrence County, Pennsylvania, in 1894. At the time Mahoningtown, which was annexed by the city of New Castle in 1898, was a separate borough. The business of the cemetery was conducted by Valley View Cemetery Association, a group of seventeen stockholders who bought into the venture with a total of $8,500. It was centered around a small hill and secluded valley on the western reaches of Mahoningtown, just off of W. Maple Street. I believe it has always been a private cemetery and not affiliated with any church. A small chapel, with a burial vault in the rear, was also constructed on the grounds by the stockholders. I’ve read that during late 1918, during the height of the Spanish Influenza Pandemic, the small vault was crowded with as many as twenty bodies at one time that were awaiting burial.

It was during the early 1920’s, especially after the death of Association Secretary James H. Chambers, that the cemetery fell into a state of serious disrepair. The entrance gates and fences became rusted and unsightly, weeds and shrubbery grew throughout the grounds, and small chapel began collapsing, the driveways needed repair, and many tombstones had fallen over. In August 1925 a group of local citizens petitioned the court to place the neglected cemetery into receivership and to appoint someone to take over its affairs. This measure was apparently defeated (for the time being) and little was done to improve the appearance of the cemetery. In early 1928 the association sold about seven acres of the northern part of the grounds to the nearby St. Lucia (Lucy) Italian Catholic Church, which established the St. Lucy Cemetery at the location and undertook its first burial in March 1928.

On Wednesday, June 24, 1931, a meeting was held at the Mahoning School between concerned citizens and the dwindling members of the cemetery association. An excerpt of an article in the New Castle News of June 25, 1931, reads in part, “The cause of the cemetery neglect was that the directors of the association have died and no meetings were held to elect new officers to take their place.” In the wake of the meeting the stockholders, which resisted takeover efforts, slowly began efforts to restore the cemetery to its former beauty.

In late January 1932, before any work could be commenced, a local judge stripped control away from the association and appointed Mrs. Emily “Gertrude” Holliday of #902 W. Clayton Street as the receiver. Mrs. Holliday, assisted by her husband Frank R. Holliday, was authorized to take over the financial dealings, act as caretaker of the grounds, and head up efforts to form a new committee to control the cemetery. She immediately called a meeting of the owners of the plots in the cemetery and organized efforts to clean up the grounds. An effort was also undertaken over the next three years to fully identify the somewhat forgotten graves of the Civil War veterans – including at least one Confederate soldier – which I believe came to a total of twenty-two (perhaps a few more were found later). That effort proved difficult due to the fact that no cemetery records were maintained by the cemetery officials since about 1920.

Beginning in early April 1932 a group of volunteers began serious work on the cemetery. An article in the New Castle News of Thursday, June 16, 1932, reads in part, “Valley View cemetery has achieved a very beautiful and well-cared for appearance in the past several months… The mausoleum was painted inside, brick repair work done, and new glass windows installed just several weeks ago. The tool house has been moved from the front of the west entrance. Grass has been scythed and mowed, graves were leveled. Markers were replaced and cleaned. Weeds, stones, and tree roots were removed from the automobile lanes. Trees were pruned. Old bushes and hedges were burned down or trimmed. All waste matter and debris were gathered together and carted away. The road leading to the entrance was repaired by the city. Numerous flower beds were planted and are planted every day. Just this week a small and beautiful pine tree, a gift to the cemetery from an out-of-town friend arrived and was planted carefully at the entrance… All work and materials have been donated by local and out-of-town people interested in bringing this strip of land overlooking West Clayton Street back to the beautiful plot it one time was.”

The efforts continued on a periodic basis throughout the next year, which culminated in a Memorial Day celebration held by the cemetery in May 1933. It was soon after this time, in mid-1934, that members of the local Syrian community – of the Muslim faith – began burying loved ones at a section of the cemetery. It appears at some point they formally purchased the section, which is to the left of the modern-day entrance to the cemetery.

The Holliday’s served as the longtime caretakers until they were succeeded in 1958 by Edward H. Park, who was a longtime employee with the Pennsylvania Railroad Company (PRR) and resided at #1009 W. Clayton Street. Park later collapsed of a stroke and died while working in the cemetery on January 18, 1972. Park and the couple of Frank and Gertrude Holliday, who died back in November 1965 and September 1961 respectively, were all buried in the cemetery they had looked after for many years.

Park’s wife Gladys (Snyder) Park took over management of the cemetery after her husband’s death in 1972. I believe Gladys passed away in January 1992. Her sons Edward Jr. and Robert Park took over care of the property, but within a few years they apparently abandoned it. A few years later two retired neighbors, Dick Hunt and John Hilke, whose properties adjoined the cemetery on 7th Street started caring for the property. They work together to cut the grass, provide a constant watch, chase off teenage troublemakers, and oversee burials at the old cemetery. They are two great guys and they sure can tell some crazy stories about the place!



To read an interesting article from 1927 about a mysterious gathering of folks at the cemetery click on: VAULT GANG ARTICLE. Read more about identifying veterans’ graves in the cemetery from these articles: 1933 VETERANSARTICLE and 1934 VETERANSARTICLE. To read more about when Edward Park took over as caretaker in 1958 click on: NEW CARETAKER ARTICLE. To read an obituary of Mr. Park and see how he died in 1972 click on: EDWARD PARK OBITUARY.


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Comment

  1. How does one find out if distant family members are buried at this location?

    I only remember 1 cemetery in Mahoningtown & really not sure how to get to it.

    Any info would be helpful in my geneology interests.

    Bonnie · 10/18/2011 09:41 AM · #

  2. (EDITOR’S NOTE). Thanks for your interest on this subject. There are at least two cemeteries in Mahoningtown – Valley View and St. Lucy’s. Valley View is mainly a Presbyterian cemetery and St. Lucy’s is a Catholic burial ground. First punch the names in findagrave.com. It’s a decent place to start. Records for St Lucy’s can be found by contacting St Vincent de Paul parish at (724) 652-5829. Valley View is a lot tougher. The original owners have seemingly abandoned the cemetery and taken all records with them. It’s possible to walk this small cemetery and simply check out the stones. Caretaker Dick Hunt might recognize a name if I asked him. Is there any particular names you are searching for? I’ll see what I can do for you. Thanks again. Jeff

    Jeff Bales · 10/19/2011 01:35 PM · #

  3. My name is Tracy Morgan. I also am looking for the grave of a family member. I found a book in the library with his name in it. It didn’t have a location only loose pages 84. I’ve looked through part of the cemetery but was unsuccessful. I don’t know if there is a stone or not. I would appreciate any help you may have. Thank you.

    Charles Avery Chaplin · 11/01/2011 07:15 PM · #

  4. I hope to travel through New Castle in May and would like to stop at Valley View if it is still permissible to walk the property. My great aunt, Gladys and possibly her parents, Elsie Beech Halyday and LeRoy Halyday (brother of Frank Halyday)are buried in Valley View. Gladys died tragically as a child. I have retained the newspaper clippings documenting the incident and her subsequent obituary. Would a visit be permitted? Thank you. Kim Hood Jacobs

    Kim Hood Jacobs · 02/27/2012 10:50 AM · #

  5. (EDITOR’S NOTE). Kim, yes the cemetery is open during daylight hours pretty much every day. One of the caretakers who lives near the entrance, Dick Hunt, will probably come check you out. He watches that place like a hawk! Which is good. He is very friendly and would probably know exactly where the stones are. I’ll be up that way in a week or two and if I go that way I’ll check the cemetery out as well. Hope this helps! Jeff

    Jeff Bales · 02/27/2012 02:45 PM · #

  6. Upon the death of an aunt recently, was surprised to hear of another family member who died in infancy. Last name is Ringer and the baby was a boy. Would like to locate the burial site – any suggestions as to where the headstone is?

    Patty · 09/16/2013 06:07 PM · #

  7. Hi Jeff
    I am in New Castle for a few more days and I wanted to know if there is a index of people buried at Valley View Cemetery? I got your email about my Mitchell grandfather, but could not find your message on this site. I did write back to you but I do not know if you received it. Have a great week end and God bless.

    Joneta Burke

    Joneta Burke · 05/16/2014 08:57 PM · #

  8. Last month I was visiting in New Castle, and went to the following cemeteries, in and near New Castle. Valley View, Kings Chapel, Oak Park, Castle View Memorial Gardens, Greenwood Cemetery, Rose Point Cemetery, Wolf Creek Presbyterian Church Cemetery, and Savannah Cemetery. I also went to the Ashton Cemetery in Edinburg, but I do not know how far it is from Mahoningtown. This is a small Revolutionary War Cemetery, and most of the stones are unreadable. There is another cemetery in New Castle on a dead end street, with no sign on the property, and it is surrounded by houses,

    Joneta Burke · 06/13/2014 05:20 PM · #

  9. im looking for the location of the grave sites in valley view I have three family members buried there
    ransom peak passed jan.4, 1928
    walter peak passed nov.11, 1928
    jennie Elizabeth peak she passed april 13 1939

    Dawn mccrumb · 08/09/2015 01:52 PM · #

  10. I’m looking for the graves of my great grandmother and grandfather. John and Mabel dilley. I no there buried there. Would like to no where to look!

    nancy smith · 09/13/2015 08:51 PM · #

  11. Dwight Copper authored the Valley View Cemetery book. It is in the New Castle Library, 2nd floor.

    You can also go to Mechling Book Company, Butler, PA which publishes Dwight’s books, http://www.mechlingbooks.com/category-s/1839.htm and they sell the book there, if you would like a copy.

    Patty, from 9/16/2013, please contact me for the Ringer sight.

    Peggy Lutton · 02/02/2016 03:34 PM · #

  12. I am searching for info on family that are buried in Valley View cemetery. I would LOVE to have pictures of the stones for them. They are all Haladay’s – Mary Jane, James L., and three others. Is it possible to have someone tke pictures and send them to me? I will gladly pay for postage.

    Sharon (Bender) Hattel · 10/14/2016 03:30 PM · #

  13. Does Valley View Cemetary have an infant/baby section? I checked findagrave.com with no success.
    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    I am searching for my aunt, Dorothy Lillian Wimer, (less than 1 year old), who’s death certificate identifies Valley View as her final resting place.
    Also looking for relatives – “Wimer” or “Delaney graves?

    Dorothy Lillian Wimer
    D.O.B October 24, 1918
    D.O.D. August 15, 1919

    Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    Elaine Stewart · 01/07/2017 01:00 PM · #