[CGAA letterhead here]
To the members of the historical committee,
On August 18,2006 I met with Ted R. Meckley at his home, 258 Lindy Road, Seven Valleys, for about 45 minutes. Although he was preparing for a business-related trip to Mexico, he was willing to meet with me for that time.
Born in 1947, he remembers attending Bupp’s Union Sunday school from the time he was a very small boy. When I asked him whether he remembered anything about the first five directors of the Bupp’s Union Cemetery Association, who took office in 1936 and whom I named for him, he recalled only one: Harvey Lentz. He was a veteran member of the Sunday school, Ted said, who from time to time had a part in the program, regularly wearing his perfect attendance badge, complete with its long, long string of annual award attachments.
Ted remembered very little about how the cemetery association operated in its early years. When I asked him to identify Harry Leader, Jacobus, to whom a 1937 deed was to be returned after it was recorded in 1962, he remembered the name. When I asked him to identify Raymond E. Meckley, to whom the 1966 deed, recorded in that year was returned, he said that Raymond Meckley is his father. After one or more strokes, he now suffers from dementia and is in a nursing home. For many years Raymond Meckley was one of the director of the Bupp’s Union Cemetery Association and for a long time was its treasurer.
As a teenager Ted was chosen superintendent of the Sunday school, which for years attracted enough interest in the neighborhood to be a functioning organization. Ted told me what some have told me in the past. Persons attended the Sunday school and then went to worship services in the congregation of which they or their parents were members. Ted also told me what others told me in the past. For many years these congregations were four in number: Salem Lutheran and Reformed (now United Church of Christ) in Jacobus, the Methodist church in Jacobus, and the Codorus Church of the Brethren.
As long as Bupp’s Union Sunday school was what has been described as a functioning organization, the weekly offerings received were enough to meet the few expenses required to keep the church (or more properly meetinghouse) and graveyard in acceptable repair. The day came when that was no longer the case. By about 1990 Sunday school attendance had dropped to about twelve. The few remaining members decided that the time had come to discontinue the school. Ted remembers that these few members belonged to either the Lutheran or United Church congregation in Jacobus.
The end of the Sunday school raised the immediate question of what to do with the graveyard. It is evident from what Ted told me and from an account which appeared in the York Daily Record on November 23, 2002 (for which he contributed much of the information) that he recognized the historical character of the graveyard and the need to preserve it. It is also evident from the same source that he believed the best way, and maybe the only way, to accomplish this was by making the meetinghouse available on easy terms to a religious organization which would also care for the graveyard.
According to Ted, about the time the Sunday school ceased to function - he did not know the exact time - the board of directors of the cemetery association was reorganized. It then consisted of himself as president, Gary Shearer as vice president, Charlene Shearer as secretary, Raymond Meckley as treasurer, and Glen Doll as member.
Ted told me that on several occasions about this time he tried to interest some or all of the four former associated churches in supporting the cemetery association financially, but to no avail. He also named several Glatfelters to whom he had spoken about support, but none seemed interested enough to bring the subject before the board of directors. I have no recollection of its ever being mentioned in a board meeting.
About 1987, and thus before the Sunday school was abandoned, a small congregation known as Souls’ Haven Temple Baptist church began using the meetinghouse and caring for the graveyard. On at least one occasion the association board paid the church for its work. About 2001 Souls’ Haven left to merge with another congregation elsewhere.
In an effort to attract a new tenant, the cemetery association placed a notice in a newsletter of the York County Council of Churches. A response subsequently came form a group affiliated with the American Catholic Church in the United States. The discussions which followed resulted in an agreement which altered in a major way the authority for the cemetery association.
Ted Meckley told me that sometime during the year 2002 the remaining members of the board of directors of the Bupp’s Union Cemetery Association resigned their offices and persons representing what was called Resurrection Church at Bupp’s Union succeeded them as directors. Nothing of this transaction, he assured me, was committed to writing at any time.
The account of this transaction as found in the November 23, 2002 edition of the York Daily Record reads as follows:
The association agreed to give the building and cemetery to Resurrection as
if the property was being passed on from one generation to another Meckley
says. In return, the congregation has promised to keep the building and
cemetery in good condition.
Ted told me that all of the known records of the Bupp’s Union Cemetery Association were turned over to the new directors. He was not certain of the volume of these records, but he believed that some of the documents were quite old. The monetary assets of the association, consisting of a bank account and several certificates of deposit, were also turned over.
The congregation of Resurrection church at Bupp’s Union did not last long. By early May 2006 there was a “for rent” sign in a meetinghouse window. Several of the officers of the American Catholic church concerned with Bupp’s Union are no longer affiliated with it.
In my August 10 letter to Ted Meckley, I explained to him that the historical committee of the Glattfelder Association wanted to determine whether there is a functioning Bupp’s Union Cemetery Association and, if not, how it might be reactivated. My interview certainly provided what was for me some new information on these topics. Interesting enough, without any prompting on my part, Ted told me that he would be willing to contact some of the church officials still interested in Bupp’s Union if we are interested in attempting to reactivate the cemetery association under new auspices. The only thing he would not be willing to do is become a board member again, if only because he has no relatives (at least known relatives) buried in the graveyard.
Charles H. Glatfelter
Copy to Henry B. Leader
This document is a transcription of Historical Committee Letter which was scanned from Dr. Charles H. Glatfelter's typed document.