Here is Dad at the grave of his great-grandmother, Mary Kilraine Craven Cumuskey.

Mary was born in County Wicklow, Ireland around 1840. She arrived in the United States in 1849. In 1857, she married Patrick Craven, and they had two sons, James and Patrick. James was the father of Grandmom (Dad’s mother, Margaret Craven).

Mary’s husband Patrick died in 1866. A few months later, she married Patrick Comuskey. Mary died on July 26, 1905.

The place of her burial has an interesting history. The cemetery is located in Williamstown, PA and goes by several names: the old Catholic cemetery, the sunken cemetery, and the Cemetery-in-the-Woods.

This two-acre lot was abandoned for decades. There was an effort a few years ago to restore it, and volunteers cleared away a lot of brush and picked up toppled headstones (including Mary’s). I don’t know what the status of the restoration project is today.

From an article in The Upper Dauphin Sentinel, August 17, 2004:

“The cemetery originally was established in 1875. It was purchased by Bishop Shanahan for $1 from the Summit Branch Railroad Co.

“The parish (Sacred Heart of Jesus) learned that when the Wiconisco Creek rose, water encroached in the cemetery and seeped into some of the graves.

“A new cemetery was opened in the Greenfields in 1912. However, records show that some people continued to be buried in the old cemetery until 1923.”

The article notes that six Civil War veterans and four or five miners from the 1904 mine disaster are buried in the cemetery.

This photo was taken in 2003.

Note: I’ve come across several variations of the spelling of the name “Comuskey.”


One thought on “Cemetery-in-the-Woods

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