Trail Life troop will be recognized for work at ‘forgotten’ Salem cemetery
Tucked away on Mark Drive, just south of Delmont in Salem Township, is a cemetery that dates back to the Revolutionary War.
And thanks to the efforts of Trail Life USA Troop 2717, the Lessig Riddle Cemetery — named for the former owners of the farm in that area and referenced in Tracy Searight’s 2012 book “Salem Township and Delmont” — has a brand new fence and landscaping, and the American Legion will recognize the troop for its work at an open house on Friday in Export.
The project was spearheaded by Byron Scott of Delmont, who owns the property.
“There was no formalized church in the immediate area, so the land was donated and served as a cemetery,” said Scott. “The veterans who were buried there were only under about two feet of soil, so they piled stones and created barrows. Those stones got spread out over time and some have now been stacked in a head-stone formation.”
Neighbor John Kilpatrick has also taken care of the cemetery over the years.
Troopmaster Joe Eveges said the troop undertook the project in late spring.
“It’s really sort of a forgotten place,” Eveges said. “(Byron) put out a call for someone to help build a new fence. I happened to see it, reached out to him and let him know we were available and interested.”
Troop members finished the project in a day, with materials provided by Krill and other members of the Delmont American Legion. Krill serves as the post’s commander.
Today, the cemetery is a stately, quiet, shaded place with a few formal headstones amid graves that are mostly marked with a nondescript flat stone driven into the ground.
“We cleaned it up and put in the new fencing,” Eveges said.
Recognition from the American Legion will be part of the troop’s open house, set for 7-9 p.m., Friday at Keystone Christian Church on Washington Avenue in Export. They will also present the troop with a flag which has flown over the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. It will fly on a flagpole in a small sitting area created by the Delmont American Legion.
“We’ll have some activities like a Nerf shooting range that kids really seem to love, and Scout-oriented things like knot-work and camping basics,” Eveges said.
The open house serves not only to recruit new children into the organization, but also to tout the Scouts’ accomplishments over the past year.
“We took a trip to Gettysburg and a couple boys earned badges for activities we did during that camp out,” Eveges said. “So we’ll award those badges. We also have plans to participate in Wreaths Across America, to get that cemetery registered so we can get wreaths to lay at Christmas-time.”
The open house is at Keystone Christian Church, 5875 Washington Ave. in Export.
Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Patrick at 724-850-2862, [email protected] or via Twitter .