Grounds


The cemetery lies on the southern slope of the Allegheny River just a few miles upstream from the rivers junction with the Monongahela to form the Ohio. Rock outcroppings here are sandstone and shale, with gravel beds revealing river gravel of both sandstone and granite. Much of the latter is debris carried by glacial action.

During the last Ice Age, some 20,000 years ago, the Wisconsin glacier advanced to a point midway in Butler County. The ice is estimated to have been one mile in thickness. In its movement across what is now Canada, New York, Michigan and Ohio, the ice ground away granite shield rock and transported it in the ice itself, leaving behind chunks of granite called erratic boulders, many rounded and even polished by centuries of movement by ice and water. Much of the river valley has been formed by centuries of melt water flowing from ice.

In the monuments of the cemetery there are four major stone forms: sandstone, limestone, marble and granite. Sandstone markers are typical of the early graves since sandstone was the local stone. In latter years, as transportation developed, marble, limestone and granite were shipped from other locations. The cemetery lies on the western slope of the great Appalachian Plateau, one of the most ancient mountain systems in the world. Beneath the surface are great deposits of oil and gas, and in many locations actually outcropping onto the surface are coal beds which were formed some 600 million years ago - one of the world's richest deposits. In addition, salt deposits here at varying depths indicate the presence of an ancient salt water sea.