Ashland Cemetery was laid out in
June, 1865 by D.M. Ettinger, a civil engineer of York, Pennsylvania, on a tract of about twelve acres lying within the
eastern limits of the borough of Carlisle. Although a private and unincorporated venture owned by Col. William M. Penrose,
to guarantee its policy some kind of trusteeship was needed, and the operation was described at the time as "an organization
of a few individuals on the 20th of June, 1865;" the "few individuals" were Col. Penrose, Alexander Black Ewing, I.R. Egbert
and Gen. James M. Allen. The cemetery was dedicated with public religious exercises on 8 October 1865 and soon thereafter
came into use. Ultimately, as several older and smaller cemeteries in Carlisle were closed, many bodies and gravestones
were transferred from them to Ashland. The United States government purchased a portion on the north side, the Soldiers'
Lots, on 19 September 1878 and there reinterred five hundred Union soldiers of the Civil War, mentioned in Item 1380 of the
present listing; their bodies were transferred, we are told, from a cemetery in Maryland. For some years, this portion
of which constitutes a United States military cemetery received the bodies of other soldiers as well, but is now closed.
Ashland's ground plan is intricate
and beautiful; within a serpentine pattern of wooded walks and carriage ways are laid out some fifteen hundred lots measuring
ten by sixteen feet. For many years such lots were sold in fee simple, with right of access and no provision for care
of lots once sold; consequently there had been no central record of interments. All deeds to lots sold more recently
contain however an agreement for permanent care. On 30 January 1952 the Penrose heirs sold out to the Ewing family.
The present owners and trustees are Seymour A. Ewing and William M. Ewing; they are great-grandsons of the above-named Alexander
Black Ewing, who came to Carlisle from Middletown in 1849, was apprenticed to a cabinet-maker, and began his own business
in 1853, as cabinet-maker and undertaker. He and his descendants have continued as undertakers ever since, probably
longer than any other firm in America.
Although the Ewing Brothers have
no record of the Ashland internments as such, their record of the sale of lots since 1865 is complete, and of course the records
of their family's undertaking business are extensive. In 1901, Jere Zeamer, a tireless promoter of the study of local
history, enumerated the inscriptions in Ashland, as he had done in many other Cumberland County cemeteries, and in 1973 the
present compiler made a new enumeration. After the 1973 listing was completed and typed it was chastening and instructive
to compare it with the available transcript of Zeamer's work and to investigate discrepancies; that task was carried out in
1975. For the present the further task of comparing these enumerations with the obits in the local newspapers must be
deferred; at the Cumberland County Historical Society, John Fralish has been assiduous in preparing a card file of those obituaries,
beginning with the earliest published in Carlisle. Since even tombstones, even compilers sometimes err, genealogists
are advised to consult the Fralish file as well.
Written by Henry James Young in 1976
(1908 ~ 1995)
Click the link above to read about Henry James
Ashland Cemetery is approximately
12 acres in size and is located on the eastern side of Carlisle along the York Road. This historic cemetery has
been owned and operated by William and Seymour Ewing for more than 50 years and is the only active cemetery
within the Borough of Carlisle. Please check back often as we bring additional pictures online and continue
to keep the Carlisle community informed on the availability of lots and the development of several memorial
gardens in the near future.
The pictures shown below are
those of the "Civil War Soldiers' Lot". This portion of the cemetery is regulated by the Veterans Administration
through Indiantown Gap National Cemetery. There are several individual gravesites of known and unkown soldiers, and a
monument on the site that marks the final resting place for 500 U. S. Civil War Soldiers, of which only 35 were
identified, and "The Others Are Known But To God".