Hess Cemetery, Conestoga Twp., Lancaster County, Pa.

The Conestoga Area Historical Society

David Hess Family Cemetery Restoration Project
Sickman's Mill Road
Conestoga Township
Lancaster County, PA

A special thank you to John R. Hess Sr. (1883-1967) of Quarryville, Pa. who for many years maintained the Hess Family Graveyard. To read more about John R. Hess and his efforts, click here.
Send Comments to Frank Hess at

The David Hess House, built circa 1850

A thank you to Dave "Neighbor Dave" King for his assistance and use of his truck in this project.

July 16, 2001 - On this date I had the pleasure of accompanying a group of fellow Hess's and Hess descendents around to several "Hess Historical" sites in Lancaster County. One of the places we stopped to tour was the former David Hess homestead located just west of the intersection of Sickman's Mill Road and Sandhill Road in Conestoga Twp. David Hess (1784-1873) and his first wife Magdelena Boyer built the home (a stone farmhouse) in 1850. The home was built on the same land that was willed to David Hess by his father David Hess, [Sr.] (1746-1815). The home, barn and other out buildings have all been beautifully restored and are well maintained by the present owners. After touring the home we then directed our attention to a hill that directly overlooks the homestead. On this hill it was reported we would find the old Hess Family cemetery. The cemetery when last visited by some of the members in our group was reported to have contained about 50 gravestones, including the graves of David Hess [Sr.] his wife Anna (Keeport) Hess. In addition most of David and Anna's children, and even some of their grandchildren are also buried there along with some friends and neighbors.

David Hess Farm Cemetery, July 2001, this is what we found, or all we could find in July during our tour of the David Hess Homestead, in Conestoga Twp.

Once we arrived on the hill we were surprised to find the site heavily overgrown with vines most of which was Poison Ivy, briar bushes, tall grass, and even small trees. In fact it was so overgrown we were not able to initially observe any trace of the cemetery. After diligently searching the area for about 15-20 minutes we finally were able to locate a gravestone. In all we found only 3 stones that day. It was obvious that this site had not been maintained for some time and was in very great need of some maintenance. It was then I made the commitment to return in the Fall to uncover and free the old cemetery from the jungle that had consumed it.

Once I received permission from the present owners to proceed with the clean up, I began to recruit family members to assist me with the project. In September my wife and I scouted out the site and were able to identify the 4 corners of the cemetery. I also visited the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society and found some old pictures of the cemetery as well as several older listings of who had been buried there.

November 10, 2001 - On this beautiful (unseasonably warm) fall day a group of Hess's and other Hess descendents converged on the cemetery and began clearing away the various forms of underbrush and other vegetative growth. It was not too long before the old cemetery was again basking in the sunlight of that warm November day. Forty-nine gravestones in all were uncovered. Some of the gravestones where just simple fieldstones on which no visible marking were noted, while others were engraved but no longer legible. Some of the stones were still upright, while others were badly leaning. Only two had fallen over and one was badly entangled in the roots of one of the trees.

Of those that were still legible several were inscribed in German, including the gravestones of David Hess [Sr.] (1746-1815) and Anna Keeport (1751-1835). David Hess [Sr.] was the son of Michael Hess and the grandson of Hans Hess. It was Hans Hess who had come from Switzerland to Pennsylvania in 1715-17 and had settled in nearby Pequea Twp. David Hess [Sr.] had become an owner of a large amount of land (over 200 acres) in the "River Corner" area of Conestoga Twp. It has been reported that David Hess [Sr.] had several farms there. He and his wife Anna Keeport had 10 children including four sons (Daniel, David [Jr.], John, and Michael), and six daughters, (Barbara, Nancy, Elizabeth, Fronica, Maria, and Susanna). When David died in 1815 he had in his will that the land be divided up follows; Michael received 72 acres, John a farm and 91 acres and the majority of the land (110 acres) including the home plantation was willed to his son David (Jr.). The land that David [Jr.] received is the same land that the 1850 stone farmhouse and cemetery are located on today. David [Sr.]s son Daniel had previously received his share prior to the will.

The work continues. Steven Hess of Enola, clearing brush away from the David Hess Cemetery (11/10/2001).

David Hess [Jr.] , was born in July of 1784, and had been married twice, first to Magdalene Boyer (1786-1843), and second to Martha Lipp (1800-1873), all three are buried in the cemetery. It has been reported that David Hess [Jr.] died in 1873 he had put in his will that the cemetery and the drive to the cemetery be given to Hess descendents forever.

Help arrives from Connecticut (Ben F. Hess, IV and Family) 11/10/2001.

Those assisting in the David Hess Cemetery Clean-up Project are listed as follows along with their relationship to David Hess [Sr.];

1. Edward Keagy Hess, Jr., great x3 grandson. (Edward SR, David, Edward, John, David SR)

2. Christopher E. Hess, great x4 grandson (Edward JR, Edward SR, David, Edward, John, David SR)

3. Frank W. Hess, great x4 grandson (Edward JR, Edward SR, David, Edward, John, David SR)

4. Steven A. Hess, great x5 grandson (Frank, Edward JR, Edward SR, David, Edward, John, David SR)

5. Marian (Eshleman) Schreiner, great x5 granddaughter of David Hess through his son John (1785-1823) , the father of Anna (Kauffman) Hess.

6. Benjamin F. Hess III, great x4 grandson (Benj. F.JR, Benj. F.SR, Benjamin B., Edward, John, David SR)

7. Rosalie Hess, wife of Benjamin F., III.

Here is a group shot of some of those who helped clean up the cemetery. The gravestone in front is that of their ancestor John Hess (1785-1823).
From left to right; Frank Hess, Edward K. Hess, Ben F. Hess III, Marian Schreiner, Chris E. Hess, Steve A. Hess, Ben F. Hess IV, and the three girls in front are Karen Katelyn McLeod, Megan Rose Hess, and Kathryn Mary Hess.

8. Benjamin F. Hess IV, great x5 grandson (Benj. F.III, Benj. F.JR, Benj. F.SR, Benjamin B., Edward, John, David SR)

9. Mary Ellen Hess, wife of Benjamin F. Hess, IV.

10. Megan R. Hess, daughter of Benjamin F. III and Mary E. Hess, and great x6 granddaughter of David Hess

11. Kathryn Mary Hess, daughter of Benjamin F. III and Mary E. Hess, and great x6 granddaughter of David Hess

12. Karen K. McLeod, great x6 granddaughter (Lisa Hess McLeod, Benj. F. III, Benj. F. JR, Benj. F. SR, Benjamin B., Edward, John, David SR)

13. Michael F. Hershey (brother-in-law of Frank Hess), and the official photographer of the David Hess Family Cemetery Project.

Making some progress.......11/10/2001

For many of us in the group it was the first time we had met one another, having only conversed through emails after having "found" one another online while doing genealogy research via the internet.

Work completed for 11/10/2001, David Hess Farm Cemetery.

The cemetery project is not done, in fact we are planning to continue the work in the Spring of 2002. Ongoing will be the maintaining of the site, (weeds cut down) and the resetting of some of the stones that are badly leaning. Long-term plans are to look into the possibility of having a fence or stone wall built around it and a memorial marker with a dedication to David Hess [Sr.] and all his descendents.

The following stones were identified and recorded following the clean up of the cemetery on 11/10/2001.
A = row one from left to right and, B. C. and D are rows 2, 3, and 4 from front to back.       

Loc. Name DOB DOD Age Additional information & Relationship to David Hess Sr.
A1 E.H.H                
A2 Elizabeth Kreider     Jan. 23, 1845 1 yr 9mo 24dys German Script; Daughter of Michael Kreider (1811-1877) & Maria H. Shenk (1716-1902). Michael being the son of Michael Kreider & Elizabeth Hess
A3 M. H.             Believed to be Michael Hess
A4 D. H.             Believed to be David Hess
A5 fieldstone,             Kreider
A6 Unreadable                
A7 EH                
A8 Jacob Hess Jan 1 1812 Aug 30 1843 31 7m 30d German Script: Son of David Hess Jr. & Magdalena Boyer (Beyers)
A9 Michael Hess Aug. 29, 1815 Sept. 14, 1815     Fieldstone with German Script. Son of David Hess Jr. & Magdleena Boyer
A10 Magdalena Boyer Hess Aug 21 1786 Jul 29 1843 56 11m 1d German Script: First wife of David Hess Jr. (1784-1873)
A11 David Hess [Jr.] 9 Jul 1784 Mar 16 1873 88y 8m 7d Son of David Hes Sr. &; Anna Keeport
A12 fieldstone             No visible markings
A13 Martha (Kreicer Lipp) Hess Sep 22 1800 Jan 6 1873 72 3m 14d Second wife of David Hess Jr. (1784-1883) Daughter of Jacob Kreider (1777-1845) & Susanna Miller (1799-1839). Martha's first husband was Christopher Lieb Lipp, d. ca. 1836.
B1 Michael Kreider Dec 20 1770 May 1 1851 80y 4m 11d Married to Elizabeth Hess. He was the son of Jacob Kreider (1735-1818) & Barbara Quickel (1742-1814)
B2 A.H.                
B3 Elizabeth (Hess) Kreider Dec 24 1779 Sep 12 1834 54 8m 18d Wife of Michael (1770-1851) & daughter of David Hess Sr., & Ann Keeports
B4 E K                
B5 Elizabeth Kreider Aug. 4, 1803 June 11 1804;     Slate/German Script/ Daughter of Michael Kreider & Elizabeth Hess
B6 JH                
B7 .....ES KREIDER Nov. 22, 1800 Aug. 18,1801     Slate broken - German Script - Believed to be for Johannes Kreides, son of Michael Kreider and Elizabeth Hess.)
B8 fieldstone             No visible markings
B9 fieldstone             No visible markings
B10 Anna Zercher Jan 1 1818 Dec 27 1820     German Script - Daughter of Heinrich Zercher & Anna Shoff. Granddaughterof David Hess, Sr.,& Anna Keeports.
B11 Jacob Zercher March 22 1822 Sept. 13 1825     German Script. Son of Heinrich Zercher & Anna Shoff . Grandson of David hess, Sr. & Ann Keeports.
B12 D H H                
B13 Christian Hess     May 30 1806     Fieldstone
B14 David Hess Sr. Jun 19 1746 Sept 23 1815 69y 3m 4d German Script. Son of Michael & Barbara Hess and the husband of Anna Keeports. David's grandparents (Hans & Magdalena Hess were 1717 immigrants to what is now Lancaster County, Pa.
B15 Anna (Keeport) Hess Oct 1751 Aug 20 1835 83y 10m German Script. Wife of David Hess Sr. and daughter of Daniel Keeports & Anna Groff Kreider.
B16 David H. Hess Feb 11 1847 Mar 6 1848     Son of Christian Hess & Elizabeth Haverstick
B17 Infant son Hess         12 days Infant son of Christian Hess & Elizabeth Haverstick.
B18 Elizabeth Hess Dec 5 1856 Dec 22 1856     Daughter of Christian Hess & Elizabeth Haverstick
B19 Aldus Hess July 18, 1860 Aug 11 1860     Son of Christian Hess & Elizabeth Haverstick
B20 Elias Hess June 3 1854 July 8 1863     Son of Christian Hess &; Elizabeth Haverstick
B21 Aaron Hess May 15 1848 May 4 1864     Son of Christian Hess & Elizabeth Haverstick
C1 George Warfel Aug 25 1783 Feb 25 1833 49y 6m Unknown if or how he may be related to the Hess Family
C2 David Hess 1795 October 17, 1798     Den C storden. Field stone with German Script.
C3 Johannes Derendinger March 9, 1802 Jan. 28, 1835     German Script: Son of John Derendinger & Barbara Hess. Barbara being a duaghter of David Hess, Sr. & Anna Keeports
C4 M.D.     1804 31 10m 4d Slate: Might be for a Michael Derendinger, son of John Derendinger & Barbara Hess.
C5 J. A.             Believed to be Jacob Ayle, who died Jan 24 1837 (age 25y 4m 6d). Married to Fronica Hess (1810-1899) the daughter of Daniel Hess (1784-1840) & Anna “Nancy” Lein (1784-1872). This Daniel being a nephew of David Hess, Sr.]
C6 A. K.             Might be a stone for Anna (Hess) Kauffman, daughter of Daniel Hess & Magdalena Ament.
C7 Fieldstone             Found buried in 20041
C8 John Hess Sept. 7, 1785 March 3, 1823 37 yrs 5 mo 26 dys Son of David Hess, Sr. & Anna Keeports. John Hess married Catharine Keagy (1785-18671
C9 John Kauffman     Sept. 14,. 1838 4y 8m 11 d Son of Daniel and Anna (Brenner) Kauffman. Daniel being a son of Johannes Kauffman & Anna Hess
D1 Elizabeth (Hess) Gall July 25 1781 Sept. 22 1861 80 1m 26d Wife of Jacob Gall & the daughter of Samuel Hess (1785-1819) & Anna Martin (1760-1822) Niece to David Hess, Sr.
D2 Jacob Gall Aug.1 1768 April 14 1847 78 yrs 8 mo. 13dys Husband of Elizabeth Hess
D3 field stone             No visible markings
D4 David Hess     Dec 23 1795 3y 9m 2d German Script: Son of Daniel Hess and Magdelena Ament
D5 Daniel Hess March 6 1769 April 7 1840 71y 1m 1d German Script: Son of David Hess & Anna Keyports
D6 Magdelena Ament Hess Feb 24 1772 Jul 13 1849 77y 4m 19d German Script: Wife of Daniel Hess
D7 Catherine Kaufman Aug. 14 1819 Sept. 6, 1836 17y 0m 23d German Script: Believed to be the daughter of Johannes Kauffman & Anna Hess.
D8 Unreadable                
D9 Johann Kauffman Jul 19 1788 Apr 19 1839     German Script: Married to Anna Hess. Note on stone states, "born in village of Kauffman, Manor Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania" He was the son of Joseph D. and Mary Kauffman.
D10 John Kauffman May 21 1822 Jul 16 1847 25 1m 24d Son of Johann Kauffman & Anna Hess;

Following are the names of the ten (10) people who where previously recorded as being buried in the graveyard (as per the records found in the files at the Lancaster County Historical Society and the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society). At present these gravestones appear to be either missing or are the ones no longer legible or only have an inscription of initials on them.
Samuel Hess Feb 5 1826 1828 2y 4m 3d Son of David Hess Jr. and Magdalena Boyer
Susanna Kreider Aug. 1, 1802 Aug. 10, 1802     Daughter of Michael Kreider & Elizabeth Hess
David Kreider July 29, 1824 Oct. 13, 1825     Son of Michael Kreider & Elizabeth Hess
Anna Kauffman May 12, 1794 July 1, 1838 44y 4 m 19d Daughter of Daniel Hess & Magdalena Ament & wife of Johann Kauffman (See C6)
Maria Kauffman                
David Derendinger March 2, 1802 Jan. 8, 1833     Son of John Derendinger & Barbara Hess
David Derden     1815     Fieldstone (David Derendinger ?)
Sophia Hess March 28, 1811 Sept. 24, 1817     Daughter of John Hess and Catherine Keagy
Michael Hess No Date         Maybe the same as A3 or A9
Mary (Maria) Stauffer Jan. 16, 1797 Feb. 16, 1848 50y 11m 29d Daughter of David Hess, Sr. & the wife of Frederick Stauffer (1791-1875)

On September 12, 2004 my son Steve & I decided it was time to pay a visit to the David Hess Cemetery. Not having been to the cemetery since July 3rd I was not too surprised to see that the grass had grown to about 2 to 3 feet in height. The cemetery was last cut back on June 11th. When last there is July my wife and I had treated the ground with a herbicide. Despite the significant growth of grass, gone was the poison ivy, sumac and other brush type plants. The herbicide has obviously helped.

Steve and I were able to knock it down with a power weed whacker and then cut it further with a small lawn mower. Afterwards I spayed the ground (especially around the stones) with another light dose of herbicide. Overall it continues to look pretty good. We will return later in the fall once there has been a heavy frost or two to re-cut it and rake it out.

Frank W. Hess
Enola, PA

Before cutting on 12 Sep 2004

During cutting 12 Sep 2004

After cutting on 12 Sep 2004

Picture Update 2008

Comments or questions about the cemetery can be directed to Frank W. Hess

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