Famous Gravesites

Janet Thomson, wife of the first pastor of First Presbyterian Church. Hers is the oldest marked grave in Cumberland County.

Michael Bupp, The Sentinel

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:

Janet Thomson

THE HISTORY: Janet Thomson was the wife of the Rev. Samuel Thomson, who was the first installed pastor of Meeting House Springs Church located two miles west of present Carlisle, and pastor of Silver Spring Church at the same time.

Thomson died Sept. 29, 1744, age 33. It is believed that her gravesite is the oldest marked grave west of the Susquehanna River. She was buried under a red sandstone slab bearing an engraving of the family coat of arms that includes a helmet, gauntlet, a deer’s head and a hunting knife.

Since 1734, the Meeting House Springs Cemetery has been the final resting place of some of the earliest families to settle the county. “It’s the beginning of our history,” Richard Tritt, a member of First Presbyterian Church on the Square in Carlisle, told The Sentinel in a story published in 2015. “They were the first wave of settlers.”

HOW THEY DIED: There is no known cause for Thomson’s death.

GRAVESITE: Meeting House Springs Cemetery, North Middleton Township

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