Evil Spirits Haunted Dead Veteran’s Wife

What I am about to share with you is NOT related in any way to Mount Olivet Cemetery in Hanover, Pennsylvania.  So, why is this so interesting, you ask?

It is, however, coincidental to the time of the year – Halloween and Veterans Day coming in November.

I volunteer at the York County Historical Society in York, and was searching the March 7, 1949 Gazette and Daily microfilm newspaper articles about a wedding for a friend. The article, below, caught my attention, so I read, printed, and decided to share it with you.hex article_1949

No, I did not find the wedding announcement….yet.  I will continue to try.  It is sad, yet unbelievable that this took place in 1949!

Happy for the wife, but sad that this happened to Private Reuben Rock.  ALL Veterans deserve to be honored for serving our country. Thanks to all who served our country’s freedom.

God Bless America Motorcycle Honor Guard
God Bless America Motorcycle Honor Guard

Now that I have your attention…on Sunday, November 8, 2015 at 2 PM the God Bless America Motorcycle Honor Guard will congregate at Mount Olivet Cemetery in Hanover, Pennsylvania to honor our military veterans.  Why not join us, bring your children and/or grandchildren.  This may open conversation with them.

Life Reinvented for ‘Iron Dog’, aka ‘Iron Mike’

Congratulations to the Hanover News Agency as Hanover’s Iron Mike Business of the Month!

Photo taken by Craig Swain, June 28, 2008
Photo taken by Craig Swain, June 28, 2008

I am sure that George Washington Welsh didn’t quite have this in mind when he had Iron Mike created, but it is nice to know that the ole’ dog still serves a purpose to all of Hanover.

George Washington Welsh was born in Hanover on February 22, 1826 to Benjamin and Elizabeth (Myers) Welsh, and named appropriately for our country’s first president, George Washington. (Welsh family genealogy. York County Heritage Trust)  George served his country during the Civil War between April 25, 1861 and July 25, 1861 as a Private with Company G, 16th Regiment.  (Pennsylvania Veterans’ Burial Card, 1777-1999. Ancestry.com) During George’s lifetime, both the 1870 and 1880 U.S. Federal Census reports show his occupation as a life insurance agent and merchant. He married twice, first to Maria McSherry, who died in 1878, and then to Emma Ellen LeFevre in 1880, just four days before he himself died.

The Iron Dog, created by a York Foundry, resided on George’s front lawn at 19 Baltimore Street in Hanover, until George’s death on July 5, 1880. The Iron Dog was relocated to the Welsh family plot at Mount Olivet Cemetery.  The horses that pulled the hearses into the cemetery became spooked by the Iron Dog, causing another move for the Iron Dog.  Later, and with an agreement between the cemetery and the Hanover Borough, the Iron Dog became a fixture on the circle of downtown Hanover.  However, the Iron Dog dodged yet two close calls.

In the Hanover Evening Sun newspaper article written December 6, 1991, the Hanover Historical Society mentioned that in 1912 a group of rowdy West Virginian National Guardsmen came from Gettysburg to Hanover, and tried to carry off the Iron Dog.  The second incident occurred during World War II when metal objects were being melted down for the war effort.  Through public outcry, the Iron Dog was spared.

For an old dog, the Iron Dog (aka Iron Mike, as it is affectionately referred to) sure got around during its lifetime.

As I searched the Internet for a photo to add to this post, I came across this bit of information about the term, Iron Mike.  Could this be a possible explanation for the name, Iron Mike?  I would love to know.

“Iron Mike is the de facto name of various monuments commemorating servicemen of the United States military. The term “Iron Mike” is uniquely American slang used to refer to men who are especially tough, brave, and inspiring; it was originally a nautical term for a gyrocompass, used to keep a ship on an unwavering course.[1][2][3] Because the use of the slang term was popular in the first half of the 20th century, many statues from that period acquired the Iron Mike nickname, and over the generations the artists’ titles were largely forgotten. Even official military publications and classroom texts tend to prefer the nickname to the original titles.” To read more, click here.


Wreaths Across America @ Mount Olivet Cemetery

Veteran of World War II
Veteran of World War II

The local chapter of the Hanover PA Wreaths Across America needs your help and by September 30th.  Click on the link above, follow the instructions naming ‘Mt. Olivet Cemetery’ and add how you can help/volunteer on the day of this program.  There are several options from which to select.  The Bonus – more wreaths for placing at the grave sites of our military veterans at Mount Olivet Cemetery! 

P.S.  Don’t forget to share this post with your friends, co-workers, neighbors, family.  The program needs your support.

P.S.S.  Mark your calendars so you don’t forget to come out to Mount Olivet Cemetery … Saturday, December 12, 2015, 725 Baltimore Street in Hanover, Pennsylvania.  Time to be announced.  Visit us on Facebook.



Pet Blessing and Memorial Service, Mount Olivet Cemetery

PetsPet ownership has grown to nearly 62 percent of American households, with at least one pet per household.  This number, according to the Humane Society website, has more than tripled from the 1970s when about 67 million households had pets, to 2012 when there were more than 164 million owned pets.

It is difficult not to love these trusting faces and loving creatures!  They trust you to provide them with a safe place to live, food, and an occasional rub behind the ears.  In their own way, they, in return, offer you companionship, assistance, and sometimes entertainment.

On Sunday, September 13, 2015 2 – 4 PM, a Pet Blessing and Memorial Service will be held at Mount Olivet Cemetery in the area of the Pet Haven Cemetery, 725 Baltimore Street, Hanover, Pennsylvania.  All pets and owners are welcome.  Bring a lawn chair and enjoy the afternoon with us.  The event will be held rain or shine.

Print off the flyer (right) and save as your reminder.  We are looking forward to seeing you on Sunday, September 13th!


Henry Felty – American Revolutionary War Veteran (1758-1836)

Photo courtesy of the State Museum of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Just this week it was brought to my attention that the State Museum of Pennsylvania featured this blue-and-red wool uniform coat, which was attributed to Henry Felty, one of several American Revolutionary War Veterans buried at Mount Olivet Cemetery.  You can read the full post by clicking here.

According to the State Museum of Pennsylvania’s description, “This blue-and-red wool uniform coat, one of the earliest examples of military dress in the State Museum’s collection, is attributed to Henry Felty of York County, Pa. Felty appears in the muster rolls of the 8th Battalion, 1st Company of the York County Militia in 1778, and is listed in the 7th Battalion, 2nd Company 1779.”

The State Museum of Pennsylvania’s post continued that the 1778 tax records listed Henry’s occupation as a saddler, and that he purchased a “saddler’s bench” and tools at an estate sale.

Also in 1778, his name appears in the muster rolls of the 8th Battalion, 1st Company of the York County Militia.  Later, in 1779 his name was found listed in the 7th Battalion, 2nd Company. The Museum notes that this coat does not conform to Revolutionary War patterns of the period.

According to the State Museum of Pennsylvania, “The cut and style of the coat, a coatee with shortened tails, as well as the flat white-metal button design, appears to point to an infantryman who served in the army after 1795. Felty’s service continued to at least until 1799, when he was listed as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Hanover Troop of Horse, which is the most likely time in which he wore this uniform.”

Felty’s widow, Anna Maria, was awarded his veterans pension upon his death in 1836. This is an awesome find and connection to our cemetery.  Felty’s grave stone can be located at Mount Olivet Cemetery in Old Section C, lot 84. (photo courtesy of Find-A-Grave.com)

Plan a visit to Mount OIivet Cemetery at 725 Baltimore Street in Hanover to find more war veterans of many eras.



11th Annual Pet Memorial Service and Blessing

                                         Save the Date

Pet HavenThe 11th Annual Pet Memorial Service and Blessing will be held on Sunday, September 13, 2015 in the Pet Haven section of Mount Olivet Cemetery. The service begins promptly at 2 PM and will end about 4 PM, rain or shine.

Enjoy an afternoon of light refreshments for pets and guests.

Bring the family, your pets, a lawn chair, and enjoy the day at the cemetery.

The cemetery is located at 725 Baltimore Street in Hanover, Pennsylvania.  Enter at the main gate and proceed to the back of the cemetery.  You may contact the Cemetery Office at 717-637-5294 for additional information.

Remembering The Battle of Hanover, 1863

“Oh, God, I’m too close to my home to die.”

Those words are assumed to be the spoken words said by John Hoffacker after being wounded on the first day of the Battle of Hanover on June 30, 1863.

The life story of John Hoffacker and his family varies from writer to writer, according to John T. Krepps in his book, A Strong and Sudden Onslaught, The Cavalry Action at Hanover, Pennsylvania. In Appendix H for John Hoffacker (pages 111 – 114) Krepps tells the story of the hardships, heroism, perseverance, loyalty, and tragedy that the family endured.

Prior to 1850, the family had Pennsylvania ties. It is shown that his parents, Henry Martin and Elizabeth (Hoffman) Hoffacker, owned farmland in Carroll County, and shortly after the 1850 Census was taken, sold the farm due to Henry’s bad health.  The family moved to Baltimore County, Maryland and purchased the Gunpowder Falls Paper Mill.  Several of his children farmed nearby land while it is said that John and William helped out at the mill.

By 1859, severe financial hardship fell on the family.  Henry lent a large sum of money to another man, who defaulted on his debt.  Because of this, the Hoffacker family could not pay their creditors.  The mill was sold at a sheriff’s sale, but that did not cover their debt.  Several family members continued to work at the mill under new ownership.

In 1862, Krepps wrote that more hardship to the family hit when son, William, enlisted in the 3rd Maryland Infantry, maybe to help earn money for his family.  Brothers John and George began working at a mill on Deer Creek in York County, Pennsylvania, while another brother stayed on working at the farm.

John enlisted in September 1862 in the 18th Pennsylvania Calvary. Letters home to their parents often included money.  3

In 1863, the parents and several of their children moved to Parkton, Maryland where they operated a hotel, and life began to look up financially.

On June 30, 1863, John was shot and killed at Hanover during the Battle of Hanover.  About this same time, his brother William was serving with the Union 12th Infantry Corps.  After the Gettysburg campaign, the Union 12th Infantry Corps. was transferred to the Western Theater.  On November 18, 1863, William was charged with stealing money from another soldier in his regiment.  Later, the 3rd Maryland transferred to the Eastern Theater, and William was shot in the knee on May 12, 1864.  He died on February 3, 1865 at his parents’ home in Parkton during his recuperation.

John was buried at Mount Olivet Cemetery and it was written that due to his parents’ hardships, his body remained in Hanover.  The parents scraped together enough money to have William buried beside his brother at Mount Olivet Cemetery.  In 1867, the family sold the hotel, and moved to Railroad, York County, Pennsylvania.  It is here at Mount Olivet Cemetery that Henry and Elizabeth are also buried beside their faithful sons


Born:  December 29, 1838 (Note:  the PA Veterans Burial Card notes 1841 for his birth, but all other records are 1838.) Possibly in Manchester, Carroll County, Maryland.  There is some discrepancy to the location of his birth.

Died:  June 30, 1863

Military:  Civil War, Battle of Hanover, Company E, 18th Regiment, Pennsylvania Calvary, 163rd Volunteers, Rank in-Private and Rank out-Corporal. 3

Buried: Mount Olivet Cemetery, Hanover, Heidelberg Township, York County, Pennsylvania, Section G, Lot 19. 2 (John is on the left of the photograph with William to the right. The Forney-Bittinger Chapel is shown in the background.)

Sources and Further Reading

  1. Amy Lynn Warner, et.al. Hanover Area Pictorial History, A Publication of The Evening Sun 1995 Edition, (Missouri: D-Books Publishing Company, 1995), p. 20.
  2. “Pennsylvania Veterans Burial Cards, 1929-1990,” Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, accessed March 10, 2015, http://search.ancestry.com//cgi-bin/sse.dll?db=VeterBurialC&h=436491&ti=0&indiv=try&gss=pt&ssrc=pt_t47816768_p13253789511_kpidz0q3d13253789511z0q26pgz0q3d32768z0q26pgplz0q3dpid.
  3. “National Park Service, The Civil War,” http://www.nps.gov/civilwar/search-soldiers-detail.htm?soldierId=E0621BA9-DC7A-DF11-BF36-B8AC6F5D926A, accessed March 12, 2015.