We get by with a little help from our friends. And this coming Saturday, November 19 at 1 PM sharp, thanks to the kindness of Captain Howard A. Crawford, USAF, MSC (Ret) who is the Commander of the West Chester American Legion Post 134 (Bernard Schlegel Post) there will be a simple ceremony courtesy of the Captain and other members of the Chester County Veteran’s Council including Kelby Hershey of the WCU Student Veteran’s Center.
Captain Crawford learned of Eagle Scout Luke Phayre’s project to clean up Ebenezer (Luke is part of Willistown Boy Scout Troop 78), and wanted to help those of us in the community who love Ebenezer to honor the USCT soldiers buried at Ebenezer. This honor will also extend to the old souls buried there. I am so thrilled this is happening as it was my black Civil War soldier, Joshua Johnson who first inspired me to write and care about the ruins of Ebenezer AME.
Captain Crawford can be reached at email@example.com
At 1 PM the following will happen:
A small honor guard, taps will be played, a small dedication prayer by an American Legion Chaplain.
This might very well be the very first time the USCT soldiers buried here have ever been honored like this. We also expect some veterans of every branch of service throughout Chester County.
The address of Ebenezer was 97 Bacton Hill Road, Frazer, PA when it was an active church. For those not quite sure where Ebenezer is, they are next door to the Malvern Courts Mobile Homes at 94 Bacton Hill Road in Frazer, and not far from where Bacton Hill Road meets 401 (Conestoga Road).
Please be advised that there is not really off-street parking available, so park along the side of the road with care and caution.
Media and members of the public are encouraged to attend. In a nation currently torn asunder by varying political factions and beliefs, those of us involved at Ebenezer are humbled by this kind gesture on the part of Chester County veterans who believe in our quest to save Ebenezer and honor those buried here. So please, we most kindly request that people leave their politics at home if they choose to attend.
As a related aside, Ebenezer is in the news once again today:
For the most part, historic burial grounds do not get the same attention that is paid to birthplaces or battlegrounds. In Pennsylvania, some historic cemeteries have been relocated and the land redeveloped; other sites are neglected and overgrown; and some have been completely lost….
On the list of priorities for historic preservation, cemeteries tend to rank low. But there is some movement to protect the sacred grounds.
“These places deserve to be saved,” said Carla Zambelli, who is working to research and preserve a long-overlooked graveyard in East Whiteland Township, Chester County. “Those people meant something to someone.”
…While historic buildings and other sites have opportunities for government protection on local or national historic registers, cemeteries are rarely designated on such lists….Many of the older cemeteries have become wards of the state or their local towns because the original congregations or organizations that operated them have faded or moved on….Survival falls on the caretakers or institutions that may still run them and their “financial wherewithal,” explained Aaron Wunsch, an assistant professor in University of Pennsylvania’s historic preservation program….The Ebenezer AME cemetery is one of 42 burial grounds of black Civil War troops identified so far by the Pennsylvania Hallowed Grounds Project, launched in 2009 to raise awareness of these cemeteries and establish ways to preserve them. The small volunteer group received a grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation to host annual gatherings of preservationists and caretakers who share strategies to meet the challenges of protecting the burial sites.