The October tour at the Gilbert cemetery sponsored by the Chestnuthill Township Historical Society was a tremendous success with 175 people attending. It was organized by Nancy Christman.
The tour began at the Conrad Kresge monument and ended at the Kresge Mausoleum with 25 stops in between including the story told by a woman whose home is next to the cemetery.
It began in the old section and continued in the cemetery's new section, ending at a table offering refreshments.
There were two October 20 birthdays celebrated with a round of "Happy Birthday" after many years when the day was not acknowledged. They were for the birthday of Cassandra "Kresge" Meckes and the 208th birthday of Jacob Kresge.
Nancy Christman said they thought about locating the grave of a person from each war and military unit but there were too many. However, many were included.
One of the oddities was a double-sided stone with Timothy Kresge, 1836-1911 who was a member of Co. F Pa. Infantry on one side. The second side was for his brother, William Gregory.
Norman Burger said the Kresge monument honored one of the early settlers' families.
Conrad Kresge settled in the Forks and married Anna Margaret Kohl. Their first four children were born at the Forks and an additional eight were born after the move to Chestnuthill Township.
The monument depicts 1760s settlers (the father and son) being attacked by Lenapes who were upset about the Walking Purchase during which the settlers had runners and claimed more land than they would have had they walked.
Son John was wounded by an arrow and died. The stone was brought by railroad to Palmerton, on to Kunkletown and by wagon to Gilbert.
Alvin and Cora Burger, Norman's grandparents, had 13 children. Five of them died before the age of 4.
Janet Johnson spoke about Jacob W. Kresge, the grandson of Conrad. He served during the Civil War in Co. F 176th Regiment as a private from 1862 to 1863.
She also told about Cassandra Kresge Meckes who was married to Franklin Pierce Meckes and the daughter of Levi Kresge and Isabella G. Ziegenfuss. Cassandra and Franklin had no children.
George Otto Duty served during World War II in the Atlantic Theater with the U.S. Navy. He was born in West Virginia but after the war got a job as an electronics engineer in the Poconos. He passed away on Dec. 24, 2002.
He and his wife, Shirley Dean Duty who passed away in 1990 and is buried next to him, had no children.
Adam Hufschmidt had a large family. He could have been a line rider. Christman is going to try and get more information about him.
Nicholas Hawk purchased rifle barrels at Boulton (Jacobsburg). He may have been an apprentice at the Henry shop before starting his own shop. He was known for his ability to work with both metal and wood. When his home was sold the new owner donated the gunmaking equipment to the Jacobsburg Historical Society.
There are even celebrities of sorts. Grace Kelly is buried in Gilbert but her husband was Robert, not Prince Rainier. There is a Henry Kissinger but his stone could not be found.
Edith and George Foden were both in the military: George as a Staff Sergeant in World War II and Edith as a member of the Woman's Auxiliary Army Corps in World War II.
On a sadder note, Christman talked at several gravestones about the many young children who died.
There is a Kresge family mausoleum cared for by the Kresge Foundation. When it was broken into, the Tiffany window was replaced with masonry and it has been sealed permanently.
Members who participated either as speakers or in other ways were Norman Burger, Harvey Burger, Sterling Burger, Janet Johnson, Barbara Fritz Wogan, Nancy Christman, Dorothy Baclawski, Stuart Thody, Kathy Getz, Nancy Gehr and Dianna Russell
For next year the Society is considering a tour of the Brodheadsville Cemetery. This year the Gilbert Cemetery was not prepared for the 175 people who showed up, expecting 25. For future tours the audience will be split into smaller groups.