This is just a lone grave located on the back roads from Harrison Valley
It is near the Schofield, English Family, and White's Corners Cemeteries - on the same road as the old airport in Harrison Valley
Submitted & Photo by DONNA ALLEN
This was found in a collection of
The Cemetery with One Grave by Maude C. Reed
Who was she, this woman who lies in her own private cemetery on top of
State Road Hill in Harrison Township Potter County?
There is a story behind this simple marker smudged by wind and rain darkened by the snows of many winters. The iron fence that surrounds it sturdy and true and the grass cut by the Consolidated Gas Co who now owns the land.
Can you imagine on the darkest of nights, a solitary man trudges his way from the house under the brow of the hill, struggling to pull behind him the coffin he had just finished making? He pauses to wipe the sweat from his face and looks around. Far down the valley not a light is showing and gloom shrouds the countryside. Is this some murderer burying the victim of his dastardly deed?
Back in the house, hunched against the hill, Jonas Youker sits with his two small children, his face contorted with grief for his young wife who nursed him and her babies through the ravages of smallpox, then weakened and weary, took the disease herself and in this house in the very next room, she died.
There were no kindly neighbors to call on, No one would come near this house of pestilence, so her brother had built the coffin himself, the sound of hammering echoing through the small house. Then he had entered the room of death and without the aid of the husband, still weak and beside himself with grief, he pulled the body of his sister from the bed, along with the feather bed under her and the quilts over her. After nailing the coffin shut, he dragged it from the house and made his torturous way up the hill. He dug the grave, his soul shivering as the spade struck stones with a screech, and then sobbing in grief and exhaustion, dumped the coffin in the ground ,and piled the earth high over it.
The next day a message went out for all to remain inside when night fall came. For miles around people cowered inside their homes with bolted doors and covered windows while the brother took a torch to the house and burned it to the ground, praying he had destroyed the germs with it.
How powerful was the memory of this woman. Years later her son, who now lived in Michigan and kept up a correspondence with Lyman Rooks, a neighbor, wrote a letter. He begged Mr. Rook to write him back at once. "You have been constantly in my mind all this afternoon, and I'm truly concerned." Mr. Rook consulted the diary he kept and found that on that afternoon he had been painting the fence around that solitary grave on that lonely hill.
Although the family is long since gone, there are many people who stop at this unique cemetery, read the inscription on the marker, often take a picture, and leave mystified, wondering, "Who was this woman?"
YOUKER, Sallie Jane (Kibbe). Spouse of Jonas. Born 7-23-1823, died 5-11-1861. Age: 37y 9m 19d - Dau of David and Emily C. (McNutt) Kibbe.
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Last Update August 28, 2008