P. C. Croll

Excerpts from Ancient and Historic Landmarks in the Lebanon Valley, by Rev. Philip Columbus Croll, Lutheran Publication Society, Philadelphia, 1895. Chapter XXI, pages 203- 210, "A Walk About Steitztown".

"Whether John Light had a house east of the city or whether there were two John Light homesteads on the confines of this town, the writer cannot tell. He knows of the old Light home, northwest of town, and will presently lead his readers thither. But it would seem that one family of Lights had resided east of our city, as the old family burial-plot is found here, which seems more distant than was common from the house, if indeed the "Light Fort" was the first and only Light homestead. At all events, it is in the eastern portion of the farm where the Lights buried their dead. The family plot is found between Weidman and Lehman streets, east of Third, near to or part of what used to be the old Fair Grounds. It is, however, stripped of every vestige of fence or ornamentation. Only a number of old gravestones, several of them broken, mark the sepulture of this pious ancestry of our large family of Lights. The question has come up to the writer, whether these ancestors have deserved nothing better at the hands of their present generation of prosperous descendants, than to be treated with the gross neglect and forgetfulness apparent in these neglected graves. Surely some simple mark of respect is due the memory of these early pioneers, who paved the way to the success and prosperity a later generation is reaping. A little blooming shrubbery were more becoming than a heap of rocks and debris; an enclosure of paling more fitting than a "commons" of stumps, and a few flowers on Decoration Day more appropriate than a decoration of cast-away tin cans and other rubbish by the desecrating neighbors. Oh! When will all men learn that veneration and self-respect that shows itself in keeping green the graves of the beloved dead, and step softly over the mouldering bones of their ancestors? Oh! When will Lebanon, as a municipality, gain authority enough to prevent the theft and vandalism that discourages such suggested improvements that would otherwise oft be prompted by grateful hearts!*

"Our visit (ca 1894) discovered here half a dozen barely legibly inscribed tombstones. A few of them are broken off and defaced. It is a wonder anything is left of them after a century’s exposure to time, weather and vandalism. The following are fac-similes of a few, in which of the spelling and doubling letters and figures are peculiar, the latter indicated by a horizontal line over the letter to be doubled. The first is of red sandstone, others limestone or marble:

(Facsimiles appear here in original manuscript)

"There is another stone, with an epitaph to the memory of still another Johan Licht, born 29th of December 1767, died January, 1814. The relationship is very likely that of son to Johannes Licht of stones No. 2 and No. 3 who, from the agreement in length of married life and the number of children, must have been man and wife. The one of stone No. 1 must have been a brother of same name or, possibly a cousin to the one of No. 3 §.

"*Scarcely had the above wish found a voice in this weekly correspondence before one of many descendants of these Light ancestors, a faithful and veneration scion, Mr. Asaph S. Light, editor of the Lebanon Courier and the present postmaster of Lebanon, instituted measures to have the mouldering bones of these ancestors taken up from these uninviting surroundings and reverently reinterred in the Ebenezer cemetery, about a mile to the northwest of town. Hence a week after this chapter was originally written this old burial plot was no more."

(Croll expresses concerns that these Light graves are far from Light’s Fort; however, Francis extracts the information to support his II John Light.)

§ German-Swiss families often used Johannes as a first name for all the male children (and Maria for the daughters), and perhaps in this family it may have gone something like Johannes only or "Johannes Hans", "Johannes Martin", "Johannes Jacob", "Johannes Henry".

Quotes from Francis' Pioneers