Elder William Purdy (Pastor of the Baptist Church of Palmyra
Township) and Silas Purdy settled in the Wallenpaupack Valley in the second
wave of settlement in the 1780s.
Starting in 1810 the Purdy family buried their family members on small knoll
looking out to the east about 100 yards from the Wallenpaupack River. A
small stream ran along the north side down to the Wallenpaupack, about 35
feet below. The spot was a very nice location for a peaceful graveyard.
was also going to be about ten feet under the waters of Lake Wallenpaupack.
Pennsylvania Power and Light Company petitioned the courts
in 1924 to move the cemetery as part of the Lake construction. Part of the
application was a map of the present and
proposed location of the cemetery. They were
granted permission, and they hired George Teeter to move the remains from
the cemetery to a location on higher ground at the back of the Purdy farm.
Originally they thought there were only about 20 graves in
the cemetery. However, as Teeter worked he found 54 graves. He
documented everything he found and the new location (see
map) where he interred the
remains (see a copy of the list he made here).
After 1926 the cemetery was mostly ignored. Some of the neighbors would
clean up from time to time, and the VFW kept flags on the graves of several
veterans (including Silas Purdy).
Title to the cemetery passed through several paths to the Society. Marshall Purdy's
retained half interest in the cemetery when they sold the farm. One of them died intestate and
her interest passed to her sisters, one of who sold her half of the half
interest to the Pennsylvania Realty
Investment Company. Pennsylvania Power and Light transferred title to most
of the uplands to its subsidiary Pennsylvania Realty Investment Company,
including the unspecified interest in the cemetery. When PRIC was dissolved,
all its remaining assets, including the unspecified three-quarters interest
in the Purdy cemetery transferred to PP&L (the predecessor to the modern PPL Electric Utilities
Corporation). One quarter of the interest in the cemetery still rests with
the heirs of Sylvester and Emeline (Purdy) Swingle.
In 2010 PPL not only transferred title to the cemetery to
the Society, they also donated money for the restoration of the cemetery.
Charles McGinnis and Mark ODell purchased the upland portion of the Purdy
farm from Pennsylvania Realty and Investment Company in 1954. They developed
the property into Sandy Shore development. Their standard lot size was about
100' by 100'. The Purdytown Cemetery lot stayed with the developers until
they sold all remaining lots (including the 100' by 100' lot surrounding the Cemetery) to George Canova. Unknown to Mr. Canova, he still held the
title to the land surrounding the cemetery in 2010. He and his wife Joan
graciously donated their interest in that land to the Wallenpaupack
With a grant from PPL the Society contracted to have the trees that were
hazarding the cemetery removed. With additional money from multiple private
sources, our volunteers led by Bob Ammon completed the restoration and
improvement work, including resetting the stones, landscaping and building a stone
wall to mark the historic portion of the cemetery. On 12 October 2013 with
the help of the Honesdale Chapter of the DAR, we held a re-dedication
ceremony. You can read the program from the ceremony
here (the file is rather large).