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The Zahniser Cemetery
The Zahniser Cemetery monument, a family obelisk

The question of a "Zahniser Cemetery or cemeteries" is a subject that has received considerable attention and generated much discussion over a long period of time. The current considered view is that there is only one official family cemetery, that being the original unmarked cemetery established in 1826, located 1.2 miles north of Rt. 62 on Hosack Rd. (County Rd 784) outside Jackson Center, Mercer County, Pa. 16133. For a description, a map and a number of photographs of the site see This conclusion is based upon the fact that the Zahniser Foundation holds a quitclaim deed for the 0.47 acre plot of ground that encompasses the burial site which was executed in 1998 between the Foundation and Dennis Jenkins, the landowner of the property surrounding the cemetery. Originally the parcel of land dedicated for the cemetery was one acre (16 perches x 10 perches), but incident to the aforementioned transaction, the Foundation agreed to relinquish ownership of 0.53 acre of the original dedicated plot to Mr. Jenkins in return for his willingness to grant an easement in perpetuity to allow family members access to the property by way of Hosack Rd. The creation of the easement was necessitated by virtue of the fact that there was no specific right of way granted in the original 1826 deed. The Foundation has thus officially maintained the cemetery as an historic site since 1998.

Matthias Zahniser Headstone

The Zahniser Cemetery is notably marked by the presence of a family obelisk adorned with 2 plaques - one dedicated to Matthias Zahniser which was dedicated in 1976 on the occasion of the U.S. Bicentennial to honor the service of Matthias in the Revolutionary War, the second a plaque dedicated in 1996 which recognizes and honors Matthias and his mother Juliana Clemens Zahniser as the forebearers from which all subsequent generations of Zahnisers have descended. It is believed that there have been no interments on the property since the 1890s, and there is some uncertainty as to the total number of people who have been buried on the site. Some believe that the cemetery is the oldest cemetery in Mercer County, but that has not been officially verified. It is also believed, but not verified that the only "non" family member buried on the property is Capt. Cadwalder Jones, a Revolutionary War veteran.

Zahniser Cemetery Monument Plaque 1976
Zahniser Ceemetery Monument Plaque 1996

References to other "Zahniser" cemeteries are generic, ambiguous and seemingly inaccurate. That notwithstanding, it is certainly accurate and factual to note that a multitude of family members have been laid to rest in the Mt. Washington and Bethel United Presbyterian Church cemeteries, both of which are located in Mercer County. This is especially true in the case of the Mt. Washington Cemetery which is located at 1615 - 1757 Bend Rd. in Mercer. In fact interestingly, when you research the cemetery on Google it alternatively refers to it as the Zahniser Cemetery, which is suggestive of why there has often been confusion and speculation as to the possibility of the property being a "second Zahniser cemetery." 

Written By:

Rick Shelby

March 23, 2022

Photography By:

Adam Zahniser 

May 27, 2022

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