Brodhead family descendants repair Cornelia D. Brodhead headstone

Mauch Chunk Cemetery sign, Jim Thorpe, PA

Mauch Chunk Cemetery sign, Jim Thorpe, PA (PHOTO CREDIT: James and Barbara Brodhead)

I recently heard from James and Barbara Brodhead, who are cousins of mine—James and I share the same great grandparents, Andrew Douglas Brodhead and Margaret Lewis Martin. It was only a few years ago that we made initial contact, quite by chance, on the Internet. This post is part one of two posts on this blog being devoted to their efforts to tidy up and restore some Brodhead family headstones, and with so many old headstones crumbling all across America, perhaps their work will inspire you just as much as it has me! I asked them whether they required permission to undertake this work, and they were advised that since they were family, they were welcome to do what they could. So here, without further ado, is Part I of their project, in James’ own words. Enjoy!

Cornelia Dingman Brodhead (1797-1885), daughter of Daniel Westbrook Dingman (1774-1862) and Mary Westbrook (1774-1851)

Cornelia Dingman Brodhead (1797-1885), daughter of Daniel Westbrook Dingman (1774-1862) and Mary Westbrook (1774-1851)

Cornelia Dingman Brodhead was born on October 3, 1797, in Dingmans Ferry, Pennsylvania. Her father was Judge Daniel W. Dingman and her mother was Mary Westbrook. Cornelia is buried next to her husband, Garret Brodhead, whom she married at age 16 on November 25, 1813. They are both buried in the Upper Mauch Chunk Cemetery in Jim Thorpe, PA. I am the third great-grandson of Cornelia and Garret.

Garret Brodhead (1793-1872), son of Richard Brodhead (1771-1843) & Hannah Drake (1769-1832)

Garret Brodhead (1793-1872), son of Richard Brodhead (1771-1843) & Hannah Drake (1769-1832)

As I have a great interest in my family history, in the fall of 2011, my wife, Barbara, and I went to Pennsylvania in search of family history information. We visited the cemetery in Jim Thorpe and located the family plot owned by the Hon. Albert Gallatin Brodhead, Garret and Cornelia’s oldest son. It is situated on the edge of the hill next to the Asa Packer Family Plot. Sadly, we found Cornelia’s headstone had been knocked/fallen over, the center stone was missing, and the base had been moved about 6 feet from its original location. Cornelia’s headstone was laying face up but was about 2/3 buried in the ground.

The Albert Gallatin Brodhead plot in Upper Mauch Chunk Cemetery, Jim Thorpe, PA; Garret Brodhead's stone is visible in the foreground right corner.

The Albert Gallatin Brodhead plot in Upper Mauch Chunk Cemetery, Jim Thorpe, PA; Garret Brodhead’s stone is visible in the foreground right corner.

During our travels, as a way to show respect for our ancestors, we determined to clean the moss and dirt from any family headstones we had found. We carried a kit with a bucket, jugs of water, Simple Green, brushes, plastic putty knives, etc. We knew that Cornelia’s headstone was going to take a lot more effort to fix, so we began planning to make the necessary repairs the next time we would visit.

Cornelia's headstone lying on the ground next to Garret's marker

Cornelia’s headstone lying on the ground next to Garret’s marker

In August of 2013, we were able to return to Pennsylvania; the repair of Cornelia’s headstone a priority on this trip. We were staying in Milford, and we took the 70 mile drive to Jim Thorpe. I began by digging around her headstone and standing it up. (The estimated weight for the base and headstone was approximately 250 lbs each.) A neighbor boy loaned us a shovel. The base, I skidded on wood strips that we had brought, until I returned it to its original location. The base was then leveled. I walked, (tipped back and forth); her headstone over next to the base, then tipped it on to its back onto the base.

4_Cornelia Dingman Brodhead Headstone 5 copy

5_Cornelia Dingman Brodhead Headstone 7 copy

6_Cornelia Dingman Brodhead Headstone 10 copy

7_Cornelia Dingman Brodhead Headstone 12 copy

8_Cornelia Dingman Brodhead Headstone 14 copy

9_Cornelia Dingman Brodhead Headstone 17 copy

Because of the limited space and the weight, and after several attempts, I was unable to stand the headstone up onto the base. I began to say a silent prayer, asking for help. As I finished and looked up, I could see that Barbara was also praying. It was late, and so we drove back to our motel.

The next morning we went for a walk and found that our planned route was unsafe, (no sidewalks), and so we took a different route. As we were going down a side street I saw a bridge crane and said, “That’s what we need to lift the headstone up!” We realized that we were looking at a shop where they engraved headstones. The foreman, after listening to our dilemma, told us that we would have to slide the stone off the base and stand it up. Then using wood blocks, (cribbing), the stone is tilted side to side and front to back and the blocks are inserted under it. Thus the stone is walked up to the required height and slid into position. He also gave us four small plastic squares to place under each corner and then told us to use 50-year silicone to seal the stone to the base. It worked just as he said.

9a_Cornelia Dingman Brodhead Headstone 17 copy

9b_Cornelia Dingman Brodhead Headstone 17 copy

9c_Cornelia Dingman Brodhead Headstone 17 copy

9d_Cornelia Dingman Brodhead Headstone 17 copy

9e_Cornelia Dingman Brodhead Headstone 17 copy

9f_Cornelia Dingman Brodhead Headstone 17 copy copy

9g_Cornelia Dingman Brodhead Headstone 17 copy

9h_Cornelia Dingman Brodhead Headstone 17 copy copy

9i_Cornelia Dingman Brodhead Headstone 17 copy
When we return next time we will thoroughly clean all of the Brodhead headstones and put gravel where there is a rain water runoff problem.

This project has helped us feel closer to Garret and Cornelia.

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Categories: Brodhead, Dingman, Dingmans Ferry, Mauch Chunk (Jim Thorpe), Mauch Chunk Cemetery Jim Thorpe PA | 8 Comments

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8 thoughts on “Brodhead family descendants repair Cornelia D. Brodhead headstone

  1. Kevin DePuy

    I met James and Barbara at last Augusts reunion in Stroudsburg and they had said they were out repairing headstones.  Thanks for sharing.

    Kevin

    Like

  2. Thank you for posting this. It was interesting how we felt closer to them and actually talked to them as we worked. This is a good experience for children so they can learn about their ancestors.

    Like

    • Thanks for sharing your experiences with this blog’s readers!

      Like

    • This is so wonderful. I loved seeing all of the pictures and reading again about my parents’ project. I am sure they are grateful for the work you did and that you didn’t give up when it didn’t seem possible to fix the headstone. Prayer is powerful!

      Like

  3. Use round wheels next time, James! Those 2×4 wheels are just too lumpy.

    😉

    Like

  4. Catherine McGinley

    I’m a descendent of John Brodhead, son of Daniel Brodhead and Hester Wyngart, brother of Garrett. Fascinating to see all the pictures, and to be researching the Brodheads !!

    Like

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