A non-profit, non-denominational, public cemetery with its shady groves and panoramic views of the Laurel Mountains, Unity Cemetery provides a peaceful final resting-place for people of all denominations.
A land grant dated March 1, 1774, and signed by William Penn's grandson, John Penn, established a burial ground and meeting place for the Presbyterian congregation at Unity. This original land purchase, near the historic Forbes Road was approximately sixty acres, for which Robert Hanna, Joseph Irwin, William Lochry, and Samuel Sloan paid one penny sterling per acre-the equivalent of $2.40. Today the cemetery encompasses over 234 acres.
Until the 1860s there was no official caretaker or sexton at Unity Cemetery. When a loved one passed away, friends and relatives would open the grave on the family plot, and those in attendance at the funeral service stayed at the gravesite until the last shovel of dirt was placed on the grave. Many of those early graves were unmarked, so it is impossible to say when the first burial took place. The first recorded burial was that of Moses Watson, a Revolutionary War soldier, who died in 1782.
Many others who helped to shape our community and our nation have been interred here: JOHN PROCTOR (1824), on whose land the first local Presbyterian services were held, had been a Colonel in Forbes Army in 1758. He served as the first sheriff of Westmoreland County at its forming in 1773, and organized the first regiment of militia at Hannastown in 1775 under the famous Rattlesnake Flag with it warning, "Don't Tread On Me." WILLIAM FINDLEY (1821), a Captain in the Revolutionary War, was a member of the first legislature of Pennsylvania and also a member of the convention to ratify the Constitution of the United States. BENJAMIN BEATTY (1834), a soldier in the Revolutionary War, crossed the Delaware with George Washington on December 24-25, 1776. ARCHIBALD MELLON (1835) came from Castletown, Ireland, and settled in Westmoreland County. He and his wife, Elizabeth Armour, were the great-grandparents of Andrew Mellon, Secretary of the Treasury, under three presidents.
Buried here are veterans of all wars: Revolutionary War - 32; War of 1812 - 6; Mexican War - 2; Civil War - 144; Spanish-American War - 11; as well as an ever increasing number of veterans who served in the wars of the 20th century.
When the Unity congregation was dissolved in 1920, the property and church were transferred to the Unity Cemetery Association, whose fifth president, Ralph R. Sloan, Jr., is a decendent of Samuel Sloan, one of the founders of Unity Cemetery.
Office: 8:00 - 4:00 Monday thru Friday. Evenings and weekends by appointment.
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