Tucked away in the rolling farmland of western Lancaster County, 36 small tombstones rise from the fresh snowpack like candles on a cake. As the morning sun rises above the distant hills, a squirrel dashes across the snow and up a nearby pine tree—the only sign of life on this frigid winter day.
Ten miles separate this remote spot in Washington Boro from the F&M campus, and it seems like much more. But a link between the two dates back to 1963, when the College inherited the Herr-Peart Cemetery. Acclaimed local artist Caroline Peart, who is buried in the small brick-walled graveyard along with several family members, left the property to F&M in her will. It was part of a larger gift of $565,000 and all of her artwork, which is housed in the permanent collection of F&M’s Phillips Museum of Art.
Honoring the terms of the agreement, F&M has been paying to maintain the site for the past half-century. The cash donation underwrites scholarships for F&M students who are residents of Pennsylvania and, preferably, Lancaster.
The College also owns a larger burial plot in Lancaster Cemetery at the east end of Lemon Street. The idea for an F&M cemetery began to take shape in 1854, when alumni of Marshall College discussed the possibility of moving the remains of their College's first president, Frederick A. Rauch, from Mercersburg to Lancaster after the merger of Franklin & Marshall Colleges. The F&M Board of Trustees approved the purchase of ground in Lancaster Cemetery, and Rauch's remains were reinterred there in 1859.
Others buried in F&M's plot in Lancaster Cemetery include Clause Wolff, a longtime supporter of the College; members of Wolff's family, including his daughter, Mrs. Theodore Appel, and her husband, F&M professor Theodore Appel; former F&M presidents Emanuel Vogel Gerhart and Thomas Gilmore Apple; former professor and librarian John Kieffer; and Japanese alumnus George Kinzo.
Additional reporting by Jason Klinger.