Shrub cleanup reveals graves
The Scouts also cleaned up another township cemetery.
By MARY GRZEBIENIAK
PETERSBURG -- Local Boy Scouts have uncovered some local history here.
Several members of Troop 119 of Springfield Township recently spent an evening tearing out shrubs that had grown so thick they were hiding the tombstones of Peter Musser, founder of Petersburg, and several of his family members.
Zonda Haase, president of the Springfield Township Historical Society, said the formerly hidden area includes the graves of Musser; his wife, Margaret; his mother, Eve; his daughters, Katherine Ruidisell and Eve Warner; his son, Peter; and several grandchildren.
Haase said she hopes to make the cemetery a continuing project.
Clearing the site revealed several other tombstones of unknown origin in the area of the Musser family graves. Haase said the next step is to research records to find whose tombstones they are. Eventually, she hopes to somehow set off the area of the Musser family graves.
The Musser family migrated here from York, Pa., in the early 1800s and in 1807 were given a deed to property in the area signed by President Thomas Jefferson. Petersburg had become a booming town by 1899, she added.
The burial sites are in the Old Springfield Cemetery on state Route 170 about a mile and a half south of Springfield High School.
Haase said the Scouts did other work in the cemetery, which also holds the graves of Revolutionary War soldiers.
They righted some old tombstones that were lying on the ground. They also did general cleanup at the Summers Cemetery on Springfield Road.
She said the Scouts agreed to do the work after she told them the history of the township and pointed out there was an important historical site that nobody could see.
She was happy to involve local youths because this is "one of the paramount ways children can appreciate where they came from. These are their roots."
Troop members and leaders were recently honored by Springfield Township trustees for their work at the cemeteries. Scouts honored were Dustin Davis, troop senior patrol leader, Cody Ortz, Nick Davis, Tyler Keltz, Zack Valentine, Ricky Mercer, Matt Tentinger and Chris Hughes. Their adult leaders are Scoutmaster Keith Chapman, assistant Scoutmaster Richard Mercer, Mike Hughes, Bob Beil, John Davis, Jerry Tentinger, and Willie Ortz. Haase said Jerry Tentinger donated mulch and equipment for the work.