CRESSON - With the help of some dedicated relatives and interested residents, "The Forgotten Graves of the Alleghenies," established in the 1700s, are in the process of being restored.
On property originally known as "Penns Crest Manor," the 1100 acres were deeded from the William Penn family.
The graveyard is located on the Loretto-Chest Springs Road, about 700 feet off the road on land that borders property owned by Pat Krug and Adam Farabaugh.
(Photo for the Mirror by Laura Dunham)
Larry Hoover of Loretto looks over the four forgotten graves that are in the process of being restored at a wooded site off the Loretto/Chest Springs Road.
The grave site, about 36 feet by 36 feet in area, has four grave sites, according to Larry Hoover, whose great, great, great, great-grandfather, Andrew Anderson, is buried there.
In 1952, the land where the graves are located was deeded to the Cambria County Historical Society, with a 12-foot right-of-way leading to the grave sites granted.
In 1976, the local Boy Scouts were recognized for cleaning "The Forgotten Graves."
The Larry Hoover file
Family: Hoover and his wife, Kathy, have six children.
FYI: Hoover grew up in Loretto and graduated from Penn Cambria High School. He is retired as a general manager of a manufacturing company in Lincoln, R.I. He and his wife owned and operated the Spring Hill Bed and Breakfast in Loretto for nine years before it closed.
Edward and Joan Farabaugh and their son, Adam, who recently obtained the property, live adjacent to the right of way leading to the grave site.
"I have lived here in the area all my life and didn't even know the grave site existed," Joan Farabaugh said.
The Farabaughs moved to the farm in 1968. Now their grandson Ryan, a Boy Scout and a freshman at Penn Cambria High School, has a goal in working toward his Eagle Scout pin. He intends to make the grave site and its proposed improvements as part of his project.
"It will be interesting to see just what these volunteers do with this project," Joan Farabaugh said. "My only hope is that they may find more grave sites."
The Farabaughs are allowing visitors to use their yard for parking if they want to walk the 700 feet from the road to see the grave site.
"We will continue to keep the area mowed," Joan said.
Hoover said now the objective is to encase the cemetery corner pins in concrete so they may not be disturbed in the future. Also planned is a replacement of the broken headstone of Anderson, and work is to be done on the replacement of "The Pioneers of the Alleghenies" sign that was located on the highway.
Finally, a general clean-up of the graveyard will be held by the volunteer workers with trimming being done within the cemetery plot.
Hoover thanked the Cambria County Historical Society for its efforts in restoring "The Nugent Cemetery Tract."
"It will probably take us two years to complete the restorations," he said. "It is through the efforts of many family members and concerned residents that the Forgotten Graves of the Pioneers, where true and hardy pioneers are buried, that we will make sure that they are never forgotten."
The small graveyard nestled in the woods contains the graves of Jane Nugent (1729-1800), Patrick Nugent (1732-1801), Andrew Anderson (1762-1834) and an unmarked stone.
"Local tradition," Hoover said, "holds that Indian remains lie with the unknown Native American settlers."
Interestingly, on the lettering of the Nugent headstones, there was not enough room for all of the words, and some words like "born" and "was" were carried over to the next line.
Hoover and his cousin, Dave Sunderland of Nashville, Tenn., are looking forward to starting the project and are organizing family members for help.
"We just want to follow in our parents' footsteps," said Sunderland, who was always interested in the heritage and work toward preserving the graveyard.
Dave Huber, president of the Cambria County Historical Society, commended Hoover and all those who plan to work on the project, recognizing them for their efforts in "remembering the site and the loved ones buried there."
"It's wonderful how these family members have come back and found their relatives," Huber said.