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Historical landmark cemetery gets community TLC

| Monday, July 1, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Graves at Lobb's Cemetery on Walton Road in Jefferson Hills.
A military veteran's grave at Lobb's Cemetery.
Graves at Lobb's Cemetery on Walton Road in Jefferson Hills.
A sign directs visitors to graves of Civil War combatants.
A grave in front of a gazebo at Lobb's Cemetery in Jefferson Hills.
Randy Jarosz | For The South Hills Record
A cannon in front of an outdoor amphitheater at Lobb Cemetery, built by Eagle Scout Brandon Oskin of Troop 231.

Lobb's Cemetery on Walton Road in Jefferson Hills dates back to the Whiskey Rebellion in 1794.

Declared a historical landmark in 1992, the grounds have been in need of some upkeep.

“If it isn't kept up, it disappears,” said Joyce Schmidt, West Jefferson Hills Historical Society president.

NRG Elrama power-plant employees recently helped out at the cemetery during their annual “Global Day of Giving.”

The activity is a companywide initiative.

Mark Weinheimer, plant supervisor, decided on the location after learning about an Eagle Scout project by Thomas Jefferson alumnus Brandon Oskin last year.

Oskin built an amphitheater, seating area and flower boxes as part of his service project. He wanted to see the landmark used beyond Memorial Day.

“I was talking to a friend and mentioned we wanted to do something for a community. He directed me to Jeff Oskin, Brandon's dad,” Weinheimer said.

Weinheimer was joined by Elrama power-plant representatives Becky Siudela, Ethan Russell, Bob Lippert, Greg Thompson and Dave Becze. The group realigned fencing, planted flowers, straightened headstones, and painted the flag pole and cannon.

“It's good to give a little back to the community,” Weinheimer said. “A lot of us didn't know it existed. And the history was really interesting.”

Originally a part of Virginia, the cemetery also was home to the Yohogania Courthouse, which has since been removed, Schmidt said.

The historical society would like to construct a learning center in its place.

The cemetery is home to soldiers including Lt. Alexander Beall and Capt. Thomas Walker, who died in a 1795 smallpox epidemic. Indian burials and soldiers from World War I, World War II and Vietnam can be found on the grounds.

Lobb's Cemetery is the host of an annual Memorial Day service and class field trips in which archaeologists teach students how to investigate the land and identify sunken earth as unmarked graves.

Brittany Goncar is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5803 or bgoncar@tribweb.com.

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