Memorializing Village History: The Hickory Grove Cemetery

The Hickory Grove Cemetery currently stands as one of the oldest cemeteries in Northeastern Pennsylvania. The historic burial ground–formally established in 1807, not only contains the final resting places of village residents, but also holds a section dedicated to the former runaway slaves who established communities in Waverly during and after the Underground Railroad Movement. Additionally, the graveyard contains an area featuring eight of the thirteen soldiers who voluntarily served the country during the Civil War. Hickory Grove remains a significant part of the region’s local history and serves as both an active burial ground and preserved link to the past.

CEM46897700_118765265795The Hickory Grove Cemetery began with a gentleman by the name of Elder John Miller; Miller, a 32 year old preacher moved to Waverly (then known as Abington Center) in 1802 from Upstate New York and built a log cabin home along what is now known as Miller Road. From his home, Miller established the First Baptist Church of the Abingtons and held meetings in the homes of members until a formal site was erected in 1821. In 1807, the cemetery was officially established in the village by Miller on a portion of his 326 acre farm. In 1847, the tract was then enlarged and Elder Miller donated another acre and a half parcel towards its development. The location was then formally named Hickory Grove Cemetery due to the large grove of hickory trees surrounding the area. The first board of trustees for Hickory Grove were village residents: Thomas Smith, Dr. Andrew Bedford, Nicholas Reynolds, Reuben Sherman, Nathan Sherman, John Stone, Norman Phelps, Isaac Sherman, Leonard Batchelor, and James Stone. In 1875, the cemetery was expanded again when an additional half acre was purchased from village residents Charles and James Tinkham. In 1883, a lot was purchased for the burial of Civil War soldiers from Waverly; land was purchased again following World War I by the Joseph Bailey Post American Legion for the internment of its members. Subsequent land purchases were made throughout the 20th century as well as efforts to beautify the property. The Hickory Grove Cemetery is located along Miller Road and is currently featured on the Waverly Community House’s Destination Freedom Map. Many of the village members represented on the walking trail are also buried in the cemetery including: Dr. Bedford, Leonard Batchelor, and Rodman Sisson. The grave sites of the freeborn residents and former slaves who later went on to join battle in the Civil War are all located in Row 5. The Comm is currently working on compiling a separate piece which will feature specific burial locations of all individuals on the Destination Freedom Map.

The Hickory Grove Cemetery is a complex cultural landscape encompassing and representing many elements of both national and local history. Since 1807, the location has withstood the test of time and remains commemorative of both individuals and historical time periods within the United States.

2 thoughts on “Memorializing Village History: The Hickory Grove Cemetery

  1. My greatgrandfather Charles Gates Dolson 1867 – 1945, his wife Annie Allen 1867 – 1947 and their youngest son Charles Allen Dolson 1904 – 1979, are all buried in the Hickory Grove Cemetery. I believe that their dairy farm, “Sunnyland Dairy Farm” was closeby on the other side of the Carbondale Road. As I reside in southeast Norway at Rygge, I was wondering if you had anything in your collections about the dairy? I have no photographs of it or the works and would certainly appreciate any response from your collections. Thank you for your kind assistance!


    • Hello Robert,
      Thanks so much for taking the time to read our blog!
      Unfortunately, we do not have anything relating to the Sunnyland Dairy Farm in our Archive Collection. Since the Farm would have been located in Lackawanna County, I suggest contacting the Lackawanna Historical Society to see if perhaps they have any information. I have attached the link to their website, which includes their contact information below. Our Archive collection primarly features pieces related to the Waverly Community House and the Scranton Lace Factory. If you are ever interested in anything related to these subjects, please let me know and I will gladly assist you!
      Link to the Lackawanna Historical Society website:


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