The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

The Valley

August 26, 2013

New Berlin Gathers Once in a Blue Moon

NEW BERLIN — A third of four Union County Bicentennial cemetery walks have now been completed with New Berlin area citizens gathering hillside in this historic village on the eve of a blue moon. An estimated walking audience of 150 people followed the 17 member acting troop impersonating a varied collection of New Berlin characters across two centuries. The two hour program was replete with historical dress, artifacts graveside from the lives of the departed courtesy of the collections of family and the New Berlin Heritage Association, and a most glorious late summer evening of perfect weather. Cookies and punch were served graveside…probably a cemetery first. The New Berlin Fire Company was on hand to light the path with spotlights as the walk finished in darkness.

Among the faithfully departed who returned for this Bicentennial event was a farmer, gunsmith, chair maker, Civil War officer, butcher, clockmaker, early environmentalist, millwright, Union County’s then oldest surviving World War I veteran and member of the New Berlin Band, college founder and superintendent, and the renown fiddler Harry D‘Addario. Gripping stories were told by several about their premature departures, and a full-accounting of New Berlin during World War II was relayed through the diary entries of Kathryn Smith café owner. Primers were offered on such genealogy giants for Union County as Seebold and Spangler. Most characters and stories were relayed by direct descendants of the deceased.

The New Berlin Cemetery Walk was sponsored by the New Berlin Heritage Association in cooperation with the New Berlin Cemetery Association. Heritage members James and Diane Lengle directed this cemetery first for New Berlin.

Early cemetery walks were held in New Columbia and Lewisburg, and the fourth and final cemetery walk will be held near Halloween on Oct. 27 in Mifflinburg. More information may be found about this walk and other Union County Bicentennial events at It is not too late to become immersed in this county-wide celebration as there are more than 20 events remaining before the official closing ceremony on Nov. 22. Union County was created in 1813 when an act of the Pennsylvania General Assembly carved out of Northumberland County the area that is today both Union and Snyder Counties.

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