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
Written by Henry James Young in 1976
(1908 ~ 1995)
Click the link above to read about Henry James Young
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".