Memories of the Mattawana Cemetery

‘Sis’ Norton honored for 50 years of service

Submitted photo
The entrance to Mattawana Cemetery in McVeytown.

It was back in 1967, I was only 35 years old when the late James Rodgers and the late Charles Hambright approached me and asked me if I would consider becoming the secretary/treasurer for the Mattawana Cemetery Co.

After a brief time of thinking it over, I decided to take on the position.

To get off to a good start, I said to my late husband, Jim Norton, I will see how it goes to sell a lot and you and I will make the first purchase. Jim wasn’t sure about that, but he went along with it, and, then many years later I came up with the idea to buy our monument and that didn’t go over so good, but he said “You do whatever.” Got that mission accomplished.

I had to learn how to make the contacts when a grave needed to be opened. When I took over, Bill Hanawalt dug the graves by hand and the mowing was done with reel mowers and hand trimmers.

Then along came the backhoe era and power mowers and weed whackers.

Submitted photo
Carrol ‘Sis’ Norton was recently honored for her 50 years of service to the Mattawana Cemetery in McVeytown.

This made for a much easier way to take care of the cemetery. Now it is zero turn mowers, and they cut the mowing time in about half.

I learned to take care of business regarding the cemetery and saw to it that all bills were paid and all contacts were made regarding various concerns of the company.

The cemetery was updated over my tenure in office. New roadways were made, driveways were resurfaced and installed, markers repaired, trees were removed, wall was repaired.

I loved when the light came on to illuminate our American flag, and electricity was put in the storage building, and will never forget the Memorial Day services once held at the cemetery. More recently the gates and plaques were painted, and a beautiful sign now identifies the cemetery.

It has been a rewarding experience and I met wonderful people who are pursuing their hobby of genealogy and working on their family trees.

Then there is the time of sadness when the call came that a grave needed to be opened at the cemetery.

I worked with wonderful men and women over this period of time and they allowed me to be in charge.

My thanks to all to whom I have come in contact with over these 50 years. There were moments of tears, and then laughter.

I guess when we think cemetery we think of death. A lot of years ago a youngster asked my Mom when his Gram passed away, “What is it like to die” and my Mom said to him, “It is like going from McVeytown to Mattawana, you cross over the bridge.”

Many people wonder why it is called the Mattawana Cemetery. A card that has been in the secretary book for years says, and I quote, “The land for cemetery obtained from Casper Dull farm, which land was all situated in Mattawana, on both sides of the river. McVeytown, at that time, was known by the name of Waynesburg. It was not called McVeytown until 1795.”

At one time, the residents of the town had the option to rename the cemetery McVeytown Cemetery, but all were in agreement to let it be called the Mattawana Cemetery.

To think God has allowed me to serve as an officer of this company for 50 years is unbelievable, and my late husband, Jim Norton, was very supportive of me. Jim served as president of the company for many years.

A beautiful tree has been planted in the cemetery to honor me by the officers and directors of the cemetery company. My thanks to them for doing this for me.

An appreciation gathering hosted by me and my sister, Marj Davidson, was held at the Burnham OIP Oct. 26, and before the meal, Dean Dunmire shared a beautiful blessing.

The following officers of the Mattawana Cemetery Co. and guests in attendance were, Jeffrey, Kimbra and Martha Moist, Kirby and DeeAnn Anderson, Marvin and Mary Henry, Brent, Dean and Kay Dunmire, Ronald and Susie Pecht, Marj and me. Jill Pecht was absent, as she was finishing up a mission trip to Africa.

At the gathering I was given a beautiful wooden box. When you open it, inside is a stunning clock and a plaque regarding my 50 years of service to the company. Thanks again to the officers and directors of the company for the beautiful gift.

Officers of the Mattawana Cemetery Co., Inc. are: Kirby L Anderson, president/director; Marvin C. Henry, vice president/director; Jeffrey A. Moist, secretary/treasurer/director; Jill Pecht, director; and Brent Dunmire, director.

It was a privilege to serve my community over the years and would do it again in a heartbeat.