Rusyn cemeteries provide some of the most lasting and informative evidence of the characteristics and personalities of a given Rusyn immigrant settlement. In Pennsylvania, the large majority of Rusyn churches have their own cemeteries. In urban areas like Philadelphia, Erie, and Johnstown, large Catholic or nonsectarian cemeteries serve alongside or instead of parish cemeteries as the final resting place of many Rusyn immigrants. And parish histories typically describe the establishment of a cemetery, or at least the year the land was purchased.
However, there is a third category of Rusyn cemetery whose history can be difficult to document. These are "independent" cemeteries founded by Rusyn immigrants and/or their children, usually in rural areas not directly served by a Rusyn church, but not exclusively so.
(this section updated 10/20/15)
I'm aware of at least 7 independent Rusyn (/Russian/Ukrainian) cemeteries that exist apart from any church, in Pennsylvania:
- Ss. Peter & Paul Cemetery in Duryea, Luzerne Co.
(chartered as St. Peters Russian Greek Catholic Cemetery Association of Duryea in 1914)
- Ss. Peter & Paul Eastern Greek Catholic Cemetery in Freeland, Luzerne Co.
(chartered as St. Peter & St. Paul Eastern Greek Catholic Cemetery of Freeland in 1935)
- St. Nicholas Russian Greek Catholic Cemetery in Nicholson (Starkville), Wyoming Co.
- St. Mary's Russian Orthodox Cemetery in Pittsfield, Warren Co. (mainly Ukrainians are buried there, though)
- Carpathian Russian Greek Orthodox Cemetery in Pleasant Mount, Susquehanna Co.
- St. Mary's Russian Cemetery in Thompson, Susquehanna Co.
- Saints Cyril & Methodius Ukrainian Catholic Cemetery of the Postupack Families Association in Weatherly, Carbon Co.
Through serendipity and the kindness of people affiliated with the Nicholson and Thompson cemeteries, I have very useful information on their founders and the date and circumstances of their founding.
Please get in touch if you have any useful information to contribute about any of the others, or let me know about any I may never have encountered.
Here's some views of most of the above-named cemeteries.
Ss. Peter & Paul Cemetery, Duryea, Luzerne Co.
St. Michael Russian Greek Catholic Cemetery, Nicholson (Starkville), Wyoming Co.
Carpathian Russian Greek Orthodox Cemetery, Pleasant Mount, Susquehanna Co.
St. Mary's Russian Cemetery, Thompson, Susquehanna Co.
Saints Cyril & Methodius Ukrainian Catholic Cemetery of the Postupack Families Association, Weatherly, Carbon Co.
Original material is © by the author, Richard D. Custer; all rights reserved.