The Brodhead-Linderman Cemetery: Descendants work on clean up and restoration

This post is devoted to Part II of the cemetery restoration efforts undertaken by James & Barbara Brodhead over recent summers; although they live in Washington State–far from their ancestral roots in Pennsylvania–they have made it their mission to see to it that broken and downed stones of Brodhead family ancestors receive the care and respectful restoration they deserve. As you may recall, the first post was devoted to the repair of Cornelia Dingman Brodhead’s gravestone in the Mauch Chunk Cemetery in Jim Thorpe, PA.

This post focuses on their work in the Brodhead & Linderman Cemetery, part of the Brodhead-Courtright Farm Burial Ground, which is very much off the beaten path, within the territory of what once was Wheat Plains farm. The farm was established by Garret and Jane Brodhead after the Revolutionary War, and here in the Brodhead & Linderman Cemetery lie Richard Brodhead (Garret & Jane’s 3rd son) and his wife Hannah Drake. They and their family members resided in the Wheat Plains house for many years. So, once again, without further ado, here is a description of Barbara and James’ efforts in James’ own words (apart from a few spots where I have left clarifying notes in [brackets]; also, please click on images to see enlarged versions–the tile mosaics can be viewed as slideshows):

"Wheat Plains"

“Wheat Plains,” the old Brodhead Homestead, Pike Co., Pennsylvania

Lt Garret Brodhead served in the Continental Army and as part of his “bounty” for service he was given a land grant along the Delaware River near present-day Dingman’s Ferry. The farm he established in the 1770s was named Wheat Plains. The farm remained in the Brodhead family until 1865 and then it was purchased back by Robert Packer Brodhead in 1894. Robert’s family held the land until the Federal Government took (some say stole) the land under eminent domain in preparation to build the Tocks Island Dam in the 1970s. The dam was supposed to control the occasional floods [One terrible flood occurred in 1955 with the tail end of Hurricane Diane, killing 75 in the Brodhead Valley, alone], but for several reasons the dam was not built. The lands were not returned to the owners. Many of the homes, farms, and hotels were demolished because of squatters (hippies) living in the then empty buildings. When the project was cancelled the land was turned over to the National Park Service.

The sad state of the Wheat Plains house

The sad state of the Wheat Plains house, 2013

The house at Wheat Plains is one of the few remaining homes in the area. Unfortunately the National Park Service is not maintaining the home and it is destined to be destroyed when it is deemed unsafe. Parts of the original log home are integral to the structure. Garret’s son Richard owned and lived in the home for many years.

Wheat Plains house exterior, 2013

Wheat Plains house exterior, 2013

Across the road and on a rise between the fields and the river lies the Brodhead & Linderman Cemetery. The family plot contains the headstones of Richard (d. 1843) and Hannah (d. 1831). Their son Richard (1st of 2 sons named Richard, d. 1809 @ 2½ yrs. old) and his sister Eliza (d. 1814 @ 10 months old) are also buried there. There is a wrought iron fence with a gate surrounding the plot. “Brodhead & Linderman” is cast into the gate. It is unknown who put up the fence and Hannah’s current headstone, but the inscription on the back states “This sacred memorial erected March 2nd 1869”. Richard and Hannah’s daughter Rachael married Dr. John Linderman. It is logical that the Lindermans were the benefactors. [John purchased the Van Gordon property, adjacent to Wheat Farms, after he got his medical license, and built a house on it in 1817 -- see past post].

A foot stone, as found

A foot stone, as found

There are several other stones other than the foot stones, but no marking can be discerned. The plot is too small for many more internments so there was probably no plan for the Linderman family to bury others there.  Next to the family plot on the road side of the hill are buried Van Gordens and others. Moses Van Gorden married Charlotte Newman Easton following the death of her husband Calvin Easton. It is not known how this Moses is related to those interned there. The Moses here may be the father of Charlotte’s husband, Moses. Calvin and Charlotte Easton are the parents of Ophelia Easton who married Richard and Hannah’s grandson Andrew Jackson Brodhead.

We have made two trips to the area. The first was in 2011 and then again in 2013.

Summer 2011

In 2011, we met Leroy and Bobby Cron, longtime residents of Dingman’s Ferry and members of the Dingman’s Ferry and Delaware Township Historical Society. We had sent a letter to the Society and asked for family information. Leroy took us down an access road next to a corn field. He pointed into the woods and stated that the cemetery was in there. He was correct, but nothing was visible from that vantage point.

The cemetery in 2011, as found

The cemetery in 2011, as found

The next day we met with a park ranger who helped us find the cemetery, and using his skills as a former surveyor, he looked at the Park Service map and then said “I am going up there.” And he walked off the road and into the brush. A few minutes later he called out “I found it!” The only thing visible through the brush was part of the cast iron fence.   We had to climb over downed trees and push our way through the brush to get there. The ranger stated that even though the National Parks owns the land, the cemetery is still owned by the family.

James dealing with a fallen tree

James dealing with a fallen tree

There was a tree that had been growing inside the plot that died and fell over damaging the fence. Hannah’s headstone was knocked over by the tree and was broken in half. Richard Jr and Eliza’s head stones had been tilted. According to Leroy a local Boy Scout troop, as a service project, cleaned up the cemetery in the late 1990’s, but the bushes rapidly regrew. The fence showed signs of having been painted.

We had about two hours left in our schedule to do what we could do. The ranger station loaned some tools to us. We started calling the sticker bushes “Grab-me-gotchas” because they were long and ‘viney’ and after cutting them, when we tried to throw them outside the fence the Grab-me-gotchas would somehow wrap around our legs and poke us through our pants. We also cut up the tree.

*******************************************************************************************************************************
Summer 2013

In 2013 we returned with the supplies we needed to do some of the repairs. We ordered a headstone repair kit (medium kit 3-6 stones) from Polymer Concrete Inc. (http://www.tombstonerestoration.com) and had it shipped to Myer Country Motel where we stayed. We had to again find the plot because of the rapid re-growth of the brush.

After cutting our way in, we began cleaning up Hannah’s headstone. When the headstone was originally set, the gap between the stone and the base (tongue and groove) should have been filled with molten lead, but it was not done. The first task was then to clean out the dirt and abrade the surfaces to be joined with a wire brush. Masking tape was put around the joint to protect the other surfaces from excess epoxy. The epoxy was mixed and put on the surfaces with a paint brush and extra epoxy used to fill the gap described. The surfaces of the break in the stone were then abraded. Wood stakes were clamped vertically to the lower half of the stone using ratcheting squeeze clamps. The stakes provided a means to align and secure the two halves. The epoxy was applied and the parts fitted together. The upper half of the stone was then clamped to the stakes. Extra epoxy was pushed into the gaps where the stone had chipped when it broke. A couple of days later we returned to remove the clamps and clean up.

We will be returning this year and will give all the stones a good scrubbing, paint more of the fence, and try to slow the growth of the brush. We may also give some attention to the Van Gorden family stones outside the fence, if our time allows. Below is a description of how to find the cemetery.

*********************************************************************************************************************************
If You Go

Along the trail in 2013

Along the trail in 2013

The access road is located north of the Wheat Plains farm on the east side of Hwy 209. Coming south from Milford or Dingman’s Ferry, just past the Briscoe Mountain Rd, is the McDade Trail Access Road. The road sign is hard to read at highway speeds, so look for the Pocono Environmental Education Center sign.

Turn left on the access road and follow it to the end (locked post). From there walk about ½ mile.

McDade Trail marker; red arrow points to the twisted tree.

McDade Trail marker; red arrow points to the twisted tree.

At mile marker 15.5 (left hand side) stop and look to the right and look for the twisted tree. Enter the bushes between the twisted tree and the tree to the left. You are facing the direction of the cemetery. White paint dots were sprayed on the trees on right and left side of the “trail”.   The cemetery is about 100 yards from the road as the crow flies. Be sure to dress in clothes that cover you, and protect yourself from ticks and other insects. Rubber bands or duct tape and a good bug spray around the bottom of your pant legs acts as a good barrier. We did not find any ticks in the five trips to the cemetery.

We are looking forward to our next trip to Dingman’s Ferry to visit the Brodhead/Linderman Cemetery and Wheat Plains Farm. We feel a special connection to our family there.

How to get there

How to get there

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Categories: Brodhead, Brodhead-Linderman Cemetery, Cemeteries, Linderman, Monroe Co., Stroudsburg | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “The Brodhead-Linderman Cemetery: Descendants work on clean up and restoration

  1. Kevin DePuy

    Can’t wait to thank James and Barbara personally at the August reunion.

  2. It’s very heartwarming to see how the cemetery is being restored.

    • It is indeed wonderful to see the old stones getting the attention they deserve. Fighting the regrowth is definitely an ongoing battle! Hope you had a great 4th!

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