HANOVER TWP — The Sunday afternoon rain did not put a damper on Heritage Day at the Hanover Green Cemetery.
Heritage Day is designed to educate the public on some of the key figures that have contributed to the Wyoming Valley’s rich history.
Benjamin Carey (1763 – 1830), who Carey Avenue is named after and was one of the original settlers of the Wyoming Valley, was one of the main attractions.
Bob Keiser is on the board of directors at the cemetery and is the great-great-great-great-grandson to Carey.
“My family came over on the Mayflower in 1630 and settled in the Plymouth colony,” Carey said. “Eventually they made it to the Wyoming Valley.”
Keiser placed a wreath on his ancestor’s new headstone as part of the restoration process.
Keiser dressed as an American Revolution soldier.
“We are all big on history here at Hanover Green,” he said. “I think it’s important for us to preserve our local history, to save it for the younger generations.”
Kathleen Smith, president of the Daughters of the American Revolution Shawnee Fort Chapter, whole-heatedly agreed.
“We need to highlight our local history,” Smith said. “I’m just proud to be one of the many people to do it.”
Smith and her organization are looking to replace deteriorating grave stones and install new ones.
“Often times we see stones from early settlers, patriots from the Revolutionary War and American Revolution headstones that are severely weathered or damaged.” Smith said. “Once the inscription on the tombstone fades away, there is no way to tell who it is, so we put our best efforts forward to prevent that.”
The preparation for Heritage Day is no easy task says Smith.
“It’s important to honor our patriots and recognize everything they did,” she said. “However, we have to do our research on the patriot, to prove his service. Once we get permission, we are full-steam ahead.”
Smith and Keiser not only help with the historical upkeep of the cemetery, but they have played an instrumental part in the preservation of another historical local site.
The two helped in the effort to save the Zebulan Butler house from demolition. The Zebulan Butler house is the oldest house in Wilkes-Barre and is currently in the process of becoming a museum.
The house is currently owned by the Wilkes-Barre Preservation Society.
“We not only volunteer manual labor and time, but we are hosting fundraisers there for it’s upkeep,” Smith said.
The cemetery has representatives from every American war or conflict dating back to 1776.
Some of the planned festivities included a discussion by a local historian on the Battle of Wyoming, two cemetery tours and everyone’s favorite – food.
“These people really did exist,” Keiser said. “They settled the Wyoming Valley, and they are the reason why we have what we have today.”