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Northwood Cemetery Company records


Held at: Downingtown Area Historical Society [Contact Us]PO Box 9, Downingtown, PA, 19335

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Downingtown Area Historical Society. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

The Northwood Cemetery Company (Downingtown, Chester County, Pennsylvania) was incorporated in 1871 with the goal of establishing and maintaining a burial site beautified through art and nature. The first managers of the Company were Caleb Baldwin (President), J. Havard Downing, Joseph R. Downing (Secretary), John P. Edge (Treasurer), George T. Jones, Eber Garrett, W. M. Ogelsby, Isaac T. Lewis, and R. D. Wells. Although its address is given as Downingtown, the physical location of the cemetery is just outside the borough limits, perhaps in compliance with a 19th century Downingtown ordinance forbidding burial within the borough limits.

Northwood Cemetery is the burial place of U.S. Congressman (Pennsylvania 9th District, 1947-1967) Paul Bartram Dague (1898-1974); Walter Evans Edge (1873-1956), who served as New Jersey Governor (1917-1919, 1944-1947), U.S. Senator (New Jersey, 1919-1929), and U.S. Diplomat (Ambassador to France, 1929-1933); and Abraham Robinson McIlvaine (1804-1863), a U.S. Congressman (Pennsylvania 7th District) from 1843-1849.

It should be noted that Northwood Cemetery in Downingtown should not be confused with Northwood Cemetery in Philadelphia. Northwood Cemetery in Downingtown is still active as of 2014.


Northwood Cemetery Company. Constitution and By-Laws. 1871. Document viewed in collection.

This collection consists of administrative, financial, and burial records for the Northwood Cemetery Company located in Downingtown, Chester County, Pennsylvania.

Administrative records include: stockholders' meeting minutes; treasurer's and other reports, 1938-1974, 1990s; officer appointments; records of stockholders and shares owned, 1871, 1895; audits and quarterly reports, 1940s-1960s; and a small amount of correspondence. There is also a small amount of membership materials recording names of members and dues paid, 1900-1910, 1940.

Financial records include: stock certificates, ledger accounts and cancelled checks for subcontractors (often people who dug and maintained graves or carved headstones/memorials), particularly for John Good; account ledgers (income and expenses), 1903-1951; income and bank statements, 1940; legacies (money received for perpetual care), 1930; bank books of deposits made, 1940; payroll records, 1940; and contracts regarding employment, insurance, upkeep, and other things, 1950.

Burial records include: a burial register, 1871-1907, recording almost 1,000 burials listing name, date and cause of death, and age for individuals; a plot ledger with records of plots sold and notes about various burials, 1871; deed books with receipts for sale of cemetery plots, 1902-1950; and an alphabetical listing of graves, 1950.

Part of this collection is unprocessed, but there is an inventory on-site for the portion that is processed.

Gift of Northwood Cemetery Association, 2014.

Summary descriptive information on this collection was compiled in 2012-2014 as part of a project conducted by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania to make better known and more accessible the largely hidden collections of small, primarily volunteer run repositories in the Philadelphia area. The Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories (HCI-PSAR) was funded by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

This is a preliminary finding aid. No physical processing, rehousing, reorganizing, or folder listing was accomplished during the HCI-PSAR project.

In some cases, more detailed inventories or finding aids may be available on-site at the repository where this collection is held; please contact Downingtown Area Historical Society directly for more information.

Downingtown Area Historical Society
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Celia Caust-Ellenbogen and Sarah Leu through the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories
This preliminary finding aid was created as part of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories. The HCI-PSAR project was made possible by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
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Contact Downingtown Area Historical Society for information about accessing this collection.

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