The Sentinel offers “Graves in the Valley” throughout September, looking at some of the famous and infamous people buried in cemeteries of the Cumberland Valley:
Pioneer in the Valley
THE HISTORY: James Weakley and his wife Jane came to this country from Devonshire, England, between the years of 1725 and 1730. According to USGenWeb Archives, they built a log house about one mile north of Yellow Breeches Creek, near the present site of Barnitz Mill, in West Pennsboro Township.
The Weakleys were pioneers in the early days of western Cumberland County, eventually building three mills in the area. Records in Harrisburg show that the Weakleys patented thousands of acres of land. According Frances Weakley’s “The Weakley Family in America,” this strip of land extended from Mount Holly Springs to the Old Stone Tavern, about seven miles long and three miles wide.
James Weakley built the three mills in a mill complex at Barnitz, where he first built a fulling mill and later added a grist mill and saw mill. The mills stayed in the Weakley family for several generations and the mills were known by the Weakley name.
In 1864, the group of mills took on the name of the next family to own them — the Barnitz family, who operated the mill until 1957 when it closed. The mill is still standing and is known as the Barnitz Mill.
HOW THEY DIED: Weakley died in 1772 at the approximate age of 68, several years after his wife. His estate was divided among his three eldest sons, including Samuel Weakley who owned the land where the Weakley Tavern was built on Walnut Bottom Road. James and Jane Weakley are buried side by side at the Meeting House Springs gravesite.
GRAVESITE: Meeting House Springs Cemetery, Meeting House Road, North Middleton Township