Preserving Community and National Heritage...
Shreiner-Concord Cemetery in Lancaster, Pennsylvania holds many characteristics of a public park. It was originally laid out in 1836 on two adjacent City building lots and was developed as a cemetery open to the public. During this period, burial grounds mostly were privately owned by individual families or were affiliated with private institutions or on church properties. This property was established as Concord Cemetery by Martin Shreiner Sr., (1769-1866) clockmaker and a fire engine maker.
There are more than 40 known veterans of military service buried at Shreiner-Concord Cemetery, most from the Civil War. Records indicate four African Americans are interred here, but the remains of others also may be present; research is continuing. Included among those of African descent are Jonathan (1832-1915) and Anna Eliza Sweeney. Jonathan was a member of the U.S. Colored Troops.
The graves of the Sweeneys are fittingly located immediately to the east of the plot of Shreiner-Concrod Cemetery's most notable person, U.S. Congressman Thaddeus Stevens (1792-1868). Stevens, a radical abolitionist, Underground Railroad activist, industrialist and newspaper publisher was the "father" of the primary civil rights amendments to the U.S. Constitution. "The Old Commoner," as he was called, chose to be buried here because rules established by Martin Shreiner were not restrictive based on race, as were other cemeteries in Lancaster at the time. The Site includes a state Historical Marker dedicated to Congressman Stevens, installed by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission in 1950.
Stevens' role in American history is being re-evaluated as his legacy is becoming more broadly known. A native of Vermont, he moved first to York, PA and then to Gettysburg, before moving to Lancaster in 1842. He was a resident here until his death. Stevens' long-time property manager and confidante, Lydia Hamilton Smith (1815-1884), bequeathed funds for the perpetual care of Stevens' grave site.The exteriors of the Lancaster City homes of both Stevens and Smith have been restored as part of the Lancaster County Convention Center , which opened in 2009. These historic buildings are located just a few blocks away from Shreiner-Concord Cemetery at the center of the historic City of Lancaster. Under the direction of LancasterHistory.org , (Lancaster County's Historical Society), the Thaddeus Stevens Home and Office and the adjacent Kleiss Tavern eventually will be developed as educational and interpretive center and a major heritage tourism destinations of national significance.
As an appropriate compliment to these historic properties, the Shreiner-Concord Cemetery will continue to be the focus of on going maintenance, community events, historical research and long-term improvements to ensure the beauty and value of this historic site for future generations. The greater Lancaster community annually observes Stevens' birthday on or about April 4 at a graveside ceremony, sponsored by Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology of Lancaster. Stevens bequeathed funds to establish the College, originally called Stevens Trade School when it opened in 1905.