Land in the village of Ridge Valley was conveyed by Henry Guittleman to Peter Wagener and Phillip Barnd in 1792 to be used by the Lutherans and Reforms for a church, schoolhouse and graveyard. Additional land was conveyed to St. John’s by C. M. Hartzell in 1896.
The cemetery property consists of three parts. The first is the old cemetery next to St. John’s. This is the oldest section and, as you can imagine, many of the names on the tombstones were in German and now most of the stones are illegible. There is a Revolutionary War and a Civil War grave there (marked by flags) and records that we do have show that there are 125 infants buried is this section. The second section (on the other side of the bridge on Allentown Road) known as the Hetrick Cemetery also contains many very old tombstones. With today’s traffic on Allentown Road, this section is not very accessible. These two sections are jointly owned by both churches. The third section west of St. John’s is totally owned by St. John’s and is the only area where graves are still available to those that have a connection to either of the churches. They are not available to the general public. According to our records, the first burial in this section took place in 1902.
Several years ago a memorial/meditation garden was established at the bottom of the newest section by the Robert McCluskey family for those who desire to scatter their loved one’s ashes, and have an inscribed memorial plate placed on a plaque in St. John’s sanctuary.
For many years the care of the cemetery was overseen by a committee made up of St. John’s members and it became a non-profit corporation in 1961. Over the years the UCC church had representation at the committee meetings and in 2009 their congregation voted to officially have representation on the corporate board. Today’s board is made up of eight members, three from Ridge Valley UCC and five from St. John’s.