A historic cemetery in East Allen Township
I recently made my semiannual visit to the historic Horner’s Cemetery in East Allen Township. The cemetery was part of Craig’s Scotch-Irish Settlement founded in 1728. The cemetery is the oldest cemetery in Northampton County. The first burial there was in 1747.
Ten years ago, my friend Peggy Moser organized a group of dedicated volunteers who cleaned and restored the cemetery. A 10th anniversary program will be held there 1-4 p.m. Sept. 22 on the cemetery grounds, 4965 Nor-Bath Blvd. The mission is to raise funds to place name plates on unreadable tombstones.
In this serene atmosphere rest men who fought in the American Revolutionary War. Walking through the cemetery, one remembers the men and women who helped forge a new nation. Nineteen veterans of that war and two generals — Robert Brown and William Lattimer — are buried there, along with the early settlers of the Scotch-Irish settlement.
The most prominent citizen buried there is Gen. Robert Brown, the son of Samuel Brown and one of the first 13 people to settle there in 1728. Robert Brown was born Dec. 25, 1744. With the approach of war, Robert Brown and his neighbors joined the Northampton Militia. The chaplain of the unit was the Rev. John Rosbrugh, a Presbyterian minister.
Their training was basic, but with courage and determination, they would engage the British Army on many Revolutionary War battlefields. Brown would be promoted to lieutenant and, with his comrades, fought bravely, only to be captured in New York by the British at Fort Washington. They were imprisoned in an old church; the conditions were horrible. For the first few days, they were given wormy crackers to eat.
While in prison, Brown used his blacksmith skills and actually used what funds he had to buy food for the prisoners. Hundreds perished. Brown was later transferred and held on the British ship Judith. Eventually, he was paroled, pledging not to rejoin the militia.
Brown returned to the militia and was promoted to general. During his service, he met Gen. George Washington, and they became friends.
The war was costly. Many men were lost, including Rosbrugh, who was captured at the Battle of Trenton and executed. Gen. Brown would be invited to Mount Vernon, where General Washington presented a gift of two chestnut trees. One was named the Friendship Tree. The majestic tree was damaged by lightning in 1921. Today, it is a symbol on the East Allen Township flag.
When Gen. Brown returned home, he married and built a home in Allen Township. In 1842, a section of Allen Township was organized as East Allen Township. Gen. Brown continued to serve our nation when he was elected as Northampton County’s first Pennsylvania senator. This highly respected citizen and soldier died Feb. 26, 1823, and was buried in Horner’s Cemetery.
Gen. Brown is buried in a corner of the cemetery under a simple stone. The service of Gen. Brown and his fellow veterans has faded into history. Their everlasting monument is the nation they fought to create, the United States of America.
Hope some of you visit the cemetery and walk through a page of local history.
We will be back in two weeks. Hope you are still reading!