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Memorial Services at Picture Rocks

By Staff | May 31, 2012

Some of the many participants in Memorial Day services held at Picture Rocks were: (Front l-r): Jordan Tripp, Samantha Thompson, the Rev. Ron Turner, Beth Cooley, Lena Carichner, and Ann Hess. (Row 2): Robert Ferrell III, Michael Pawlik, David Shultz, Nancy and Barry Hodge, Robert Carichner.

Following its establishment in the early 1900’s, the first person interred in the Picture Rocks Cemetery was Michael W. Ferrell. According to descendant, Robert Ferrell III, Master of Ceremonies at services Sunday, May 27, he’d also been a veteran of the Civil War.

Of his ancestor, Ferrell said, “At age 18, he came to Forksville from Fortage, New York. After joining and serving three years in the war, he re-enlisted and in 1864 was captured and taken to Libby prison.” Later he was transferred and confined at three other sites until arriving at Salisbury. Due to the deaths of 3700 prisoners while incarcerated there, Salisbury was noted as the second most infamous prison.

Three years following Ferrell’s discharged in June 1865, he wedded Mary Elizabeth Little and moved to Picture Rocks in the late 1800’s.

At last Sunday’s service, the tradition of two sixth grade students from the George A. Ferrell Elementary School continued. A “Boy and Girl of the Year” is selected and as such, they are included in the annual service.

The 2012 honorees were Samantha, daughter of Jennifer and Robert Thompson, who recited “In Flanders Field; and Jordan, son of Michele and Joseph Tripp with “The Gettysburg Address.”

Guest speaker was Mr. Michael Pawlik, East Lycoming School District Superintendent. Pawlik listed the numbers of fatalities from several wars. He suggested ways of paying tribute to them. “Achieving success in high school and further education, and also putting others ahead of ourselves, we need to imitate their courage and learn from them,” he said.

Enforcing the Memorial Day tradition, the superintendent said, “This time should not be primarily thought of as the beginning of bar-b-que season or opening pools, it should be about the few who served to benefit the many.” Pawlik concluded by saying, “Without heroes, we are all plain people.”

Included in the service were vocal selections by a combined community choir. The group was directed by Nancy Starr Hodge with keyboard accompaniment by Lena Carichner.

The Hughesville High School Band with Mark Boyer, Director, played two selections including “The Star Spangled Banner.”

The color guard was under the direction of Commander Abe Pittenger, from the Glenn Sharrow American Legion Post #35 of Hughesville.

Annually the services are sponsored by the Picture Rocks Lions whose current officers include President David Shultz, 2nd vice president Beth Cooley and 3rd vice president Robert Ferrell III.

Pastor Ron Turner of the Picture Rocks Baptist Church, offered the invocation and benediction.

Members of the East Lycoming Historical Society attended to focus emphasis on Civil War soldiers during these years of the 150th marking of the struggle. Identities of those interred at Picture Rocks include Joseph Artley, David J. Converse, John Eaton, Charles H. Eddy, Michael W. Ferrell, Daniel S. Fiester, Freeman J. Persun and Willard W. Pickering,

The society welcomes any information pertaining to these and any other Civil War soldiers of the East Lycoming area. ELHS is located at 66 S. Main Street, Hughesville, with hours Fridays and Saturdays 10-3.