A small family cemetery was established about 1831 on the family property about ½ mile west of Swatara Station, along the road known today as Old West Chocolate Avenue. The original location was designated on the map of
Derry Township in the Dauphin
County Historical Atlas of 1875, p. 69. The oldest burial appears to be that of Abraham Balsbaugh who died on
May 12, 1831. Two of those buried in this small family cemetery, John Hiram Balsbaugh and his wife, Mary, were found in their home, victims of asphyxiation from coal gas. They died on
December 25, 1895. A car wash is located on the property at the approximate site of the cemetery in 2004.
According to information printed in The Hummelstown Sun,
September 8, 1899, “Mr. H. W. Balsbaugh has agreed to have all bodies exhumed, 8 in number that are buried in the old family ground near his residence in Swatara and re-interred in the cemetery at
Hummelstown, Pennsylvania. Messers. Charles and John Greenawalt have been employed to remove the handsome monument and markers from the plot and at the same time the limestone wall will be removed. The work will require less than two weeks.”
The eight badly weathered stones inscribed only with initials or family relationships, and two monuments (with a total of eight names and the death date for each) are now found in the
Hummelstown Cemetery (entrances located on both Railroad or John Streets). Stones and monuments are set off from rest of
Hummelstown Cemetery by a limestone curbing.
The stones from the original
Balsbaugh Cemetery were recorded in 2000. Additional information about these early settlers may be available by contacting the Derry Township Historical Society at
40 Northeast Drive, Hershey PA 17033 or by contacting us by email.
We would be happy to conduct a cemetery search or do more extensive research for you. The cemetery search would include all
Derry Township cemeteries plus others that are closely associated with our township. Most of the names in our cemetery database are not available elsewhere on the Internet. The cost is $5 per surname and you may supply up to three alternate spellings (total of four).
If you find your ancestors in
the list below and require additional information, please
For more thorough research, please request a copy of our research policy. In addition, our
obituary list and our name index of “lost and found” ancestors may be of interest to you. Please check our main
library page for these and other links, as we continue to update our information on line.