Tag Archives: cemeteries

Colyer Cemetery

The Colyer Cemetery is in Altoona, Blair County, Pennsylvania. It sits at the top of a steep hill overlooking a large valley. The cemetery is located on private property of a business on Mill Run Road.  It is surrounded by a decorative black iron fence. The main monument is approximately five to six feet tall and bears the names of John Colyer, his wife, Margaret on one side, Susan Colyer and Joseph Colyer on another side and Clara Kelly is on the opposite side of Susan and Joseph.


Susan Colyer, Colyer Cemetery, Altoona, PA

Colyer Cemetery, Altoona, PA


Main monument inscriptions:

John Colyer

Born: April 30, 1803

Died: Oct. 19, 1876

For I know that my Redeemer liveth and that He shall stand at the latter day up on earth and though after my shortcomings destroyths my body yet in my flesh shall I see God.

Margaret Colyer

Wife of John Colyer

Born: June 24, 1808

Died: Jan. 20, 1893

Asleep in Jesus blessed sleep from which no one ever wakes to weep. A calm and undisturbed repose unbroken by the last of foes.

Susan Colyer

Born: Oct. 3, 1839

Died: Aug. 1, 1872

Sitting at the feet of Jesus and clothed in her right mind.

Joseph M. Colyer

Born Jan. 10, 1850

Died July 16, 1859

Suffer the little children to come unto me and forbid them not for of such is the kingdom of Heaven.



Daug of

C.H. & C.E. Kelly

Born May 9, 1873

Died Aug 4, 1873

Budded on earth to bloom in Heaven


The other tombstones in the cemetery are:


Charles H. Kelly

Oct 8, 1849

Apr 21, 1919

Candace E. Kelly

Apr 10, 1847

Apr 16, 1913

John M. Kelley

Son of C.H. & C. E. Kelley


At Rest

Maggie A. Kelley

Wife of S.S. Showalter


A sleep in Jesus

Mary E.

Dau. of C.H. & C. E. Kelley


At home in Heaven

Alex F. Kelley


Solomon Showalter

July 24, 1861-June 18, 1908

(interment per obituary)

Emanuel Duck

Died Dec 23, 1914

(interment per obituary)

Merle Moorhead

Died Aug. 18, 1904

(interment per obituary)


Seven of the above named people are my direct ancestors.

Solomon & Maggie Showalter-great-grandparents

Charles & Candace Kelley-2x great grandparents

John & Margaret Colyer & Alex Kelley-my 3x great-grandparents










Old Tombstone Symbols

The Mississippi Genealogy & History web site has pictures and meaning of some of the old symbols that are shown on tombstones. Even though these symbols  are in Mississippi, I would suspect that they would be valid in other states as well.  Worth checking out.

Click on the link to view the symbols Tombstone Symbols.

Minor Changes Made

I have made some minor changes to the blog.  A new page was added and several now are listed as a sub-heading. Here are the changes:

The Poetry page is now a sub of the Guthrie Album.

The Obituaries and Death Certificates pages are now a sub of the Cemeteries page.

So when you are looking at things be sure to see the sub-pages too.

James Lee Showalter

My grandfather, James Lee Showalter was born November 1, 1898 in a log cabin at Allegheny Furnace near Altoona, Blair County, Pennsylvania. His mother was Margaret Kelley died in 1901, before he was 3 and his father, Solomon Showalter in 1908, when he was 10. Grandpa and his sister Grace, were sent to live with other relatives. Grandpa for some reason, seems to have been shuffled more often with different relatives.

I’m not sure why, but grandpa did not have a happy childhood and ran away from home a few times. Most of his grandparents and uncles were involved in the coal mines and they were determined that grandpa was going to work in them too. Well, grandpa had other ideas!

I have a seven page handwritten memoir(a copy of a copy) that grandpa wrote in 1970. The handwriting is very hard to read and the copy is poor. Grandpa ran away, for the last time, around 1914 or so and it was then that he changed his name to Fred James Lewis. Apparently, he had worked for a farmer named Lewis and took his last name. He finally settled in Toledo, Ohio.

In April 1919, he enlisted in the Army. He lied about his age, said he was 21 but wasn’t even 18. He met a nurse, named Eunice Marie Misson. They both worked for the same family and on November 21, 1919, they were married. They had 4 children, one being my mother. My grandparents were married almost 42 years when grandma died August of 1960.

My grandfather’s parents, two sisters, grandparents and great grandparents on his mother’s side are all buried in a small family cemetery known as the Colyer/Kelley Cemetery in Altoona, Blair Co., Pennsylvania. The cemetery is very difficult to get because it sits on top of a big hill, at the back of an auto recycling place. You have to go through the recycling place to get to it and the owner is not crazy about people going up there. I guess if you call ahead and make special arrangements, he will allow a person to go up to visit the graves. Years ago, several distant cousins of mine in the Altoona area sent me photos and the BCG Society did a plot diagram of the cemetery. At one time the cemetery must have been really nice. There was an old-fashioned wrought iron fence that enclosed it but the last photos I saw, nature was taking its course and the whole area was pretty overrun with weeds.

In reviewing funeral home records, I ran across an entry where 3 graves were removed from the Colyer/Kelley Cemetery and moved to Fairview Cemetery. There was no reference as to whose graves were moved and but a notation that no headstones were provided was listed. I suspect that the 3 graves were for Bessie, Pearl and Solomon Showalter, grandpa’s 2 sisters and his father especially since, theirs were the only unmarked graves in the Colyer/Kelley Cemetery. All the other graves are marked and accounted for. I thought this move was very strange. His mother’s headstone reads, Maggie A. Kelley-Wife of S.S. Showalter. It almost seems as if the Colyer and Kelley families had something against the Showalter families. I am still trying to understand and figure out what happened.

My grandpa said he “did not have a happy childhood”, but stated his life with my grandmother was “the happiest 42 years of his life”!

I miss them both a lot and their memories are deeply seated in my heart but the genealogy research has kept their memories alive in my mind too!