Last Revised on 19-Jan-2014
The cemetery came into existence around 1894, and there
is an inscription on a stone of one John Holzinger, that says John was the
first person interred in the cemetery, and he died October 1894. At the
time, the deeded owner of the property was a Sarah A. Steyer (nee Dennis), wife
of Edward Steyer. Edward had just sold his brick-making business in 1891,
at the age of 67, so it seems plausible that he was contemplating retirement,
and by 1894 had started to inter on his wife’s land. Edward’s wife Sarah
died a year later in 1895, and by that time it is apparent from the stones and
layout of the cemetery that there had already been quite a few interments on
the land. There are no early documents stating the original intention of the
cemetery, nor the intended or planned physical layout, until 1896, where there
is mention in a deed of some of the sections by letter, e.g. “Section A”,
“B” etc. Records show that Edward’s son, Calphenus, was issuing deeds to
plots in the cemetery in 1906, with pre-printed deed forms, indicating that the
cemetery was being run in earnest as a business. When the laws in the
When the cemetery property was purchased by the present owners, Roy W. and Jeffrey M. Schreffler in September 2007, there were already nearly 5000 interments estimated, with 3000 memorial stones present, and the land has become about 95% used up. There remains today space for about 300 graves as a standard vault burial.
Here is a chronological history for the cemetery so far:
30-Apr-1824 - Edward Steyer was born in Upper Hanover Township, Montgomery County, PA, the grandson of a German Immigrant, Nicolaus Steier.
Circa 1860 – Edward Steyer (family) is a “saloonkeeper”
Circa 1862-1863 – Edward Steyer participates in the American Civil War (at the age of 37, with wife and two children at home).
23-June-1879 – Cemetery property is deeded to Sarah A. Steyer (b1828, nee Dennis), wife of Edward Steyer (b1824), from George & Martha Blank.
Circa 1886 there is a Silk Mill built at the bottom of Goepp St., where it dumps out onto Mauch Chunk Road (see map of Bethlehem ca1874)
18-May-1891 - Edward Steyers sells the Brickyard operation to Groman Bros. (Source: Bethlehem Daily Times Newspaper, 18-May-1891 - on microfilm at BAPL)
ca June-1892 - Bethlehem Daily Times Sesquicentennial Industrial Edition newspaper publishes the offering for land in Bethlehem Heights (North Side)
21-Oct-1894 – John
Holzinger b28-Feb-1824 dies 21-Oct-1894, and is the first person buried at
11-Dec-1895 -Ed & Sarah deed a plot to a Jacob Stuber - this deed has the signatures of both Edward and Sarah, note the spellings of the surname.
28-Dec-1895 – Sarah A. Steyer, wife of Edward Steyer,
dies intestate (without a will) so cemetery property reverts to her heirs,
Sarah is buried at
21-Jan-1896 – Sarah A. Steyer heirs transfer the cemetery property via deed to Edward Steyer; mention is made of Brick Kilns on the adjoining property.
27-May-1901 – Tract 4 Property owned by
Circa 16-May-1902 – Edward Steyer deeds the cemetery property to his eldest son, Calphenus Jacob Steyer (b abt 1850).
Circa 1906 – Calphenus and Mary Steyer’s signatures appears on a plot deed dated 22-May-1906 indicating they are active in selling burial plots at Fairview
7-Dec-1907 – Edward Steyer dies and is interred in Fairview Cemetery, next to his wife Sara. His second eldest son, Marcus Steyers, takes over the cemetery.
Circa 1907-1908 the Silk Mill expands on the Geisinger
property, displaces the “
Abt 1913 – Calphenus Steyer dies, and wills the cemetery property to his eldest son, Roy Edward Steyer (b abt 1888).
Abt 1928 – The State of
abt 1929 - Map
of Fairview Cemetery - note the trolley car tracks going North on New St.,
then going East on
25-Jun-1929 – Marvin Marcus Steyers is granted an Undertaker's license by the State of PA to practice Undertaking. (Image courtesy Long’s Funeral Home ca Mar-2008)
23-Jan-1930 – William Gerlach - “First person to be
buried by Marvin Marcus Steyers at
- he was only
23yrs old at the time – the note was made in the handwriting of his father,
21-Jul-1930 – Roy E. Steyer and his wife, Amy I. Steyer
(nee Klingel) deeds the cemetery to “The
16-Aug-1932 – Someone measures a big Maple tree on the property and records the circumference.
26-Jul-1934 – First mention of using a “Lehigh Concrete Vault” for a burial (Vault measured 76”x28”x27”high).
22-Oct-1935 – First mention of using a “
4-Jul-1937 – First mention of using a “
Circa 1937-1941 & 1946-1949– Glenn Edward Steyers (b1925), Great-Grandson to the cemetery founder Edward Steyer, digs graves and does maintenance at the cemetery.
7-Oct-1937 – Marcus Steyers dies, and his third oldest son, Merle E. Steyers et al, takes care of the cemetery.
9-Feb-1938 – First burial to take place in the NEW “Annex” part of the cemetery, a George B. Ruth (16mos old) Section C Annex, plot 10.
28-Mar-1938 – First Burial from the “Marvin Steyers Funeral Home” recorded in the record books.
26-May-1938 – First mention in the records of a “cement vault” being used, typically they lined the grave with brick or block and put on a slate roof afterwards.
Circa 1944 – Marvin Marcus Steyers founds the Steyers
funeral home at
Circa 1943-1949 Merle E. Steyers logs entries into the burial records, and keeps a diary of the work that is done on the cemetery grounds by Glenn Steyers et al.
28-Sep-1951 – Merle E. Steyers dies, recordkeeping for the cemetery by his daughter, Claire A. Bachman (nee Steyers) wife of George Bachman, continues.
Circa 1964 – Clifford E. Steyers dies and the Steyers
Funeral Home at
Circa 1986 – Cemetery is put up for sale by the county under an order of Involuntary Dissolution.
6-Nov-1986 – Claire A. Bachman dies. From 1951 thru 1985 (34 consecutive years) it appears that Claire, or someone, cut out the Obituary of every burial and pasted it in a record book.
23-Feb-1987 – Fairview Cemetery is sold to Mary A. Croll by the executors, Glenn E. & Gloria J. Steyers and George R. Bachman, Widower of Claire A. Bachman, and is Incorporated.
6-May-1989 - Fairview Cemetery is sold by Mary A. Croll to Robert Sheesley et al, after having it for only two short years. Bob maintains the cemetery for the next 18 years.
10-Sep-2007 - Fairview Cemetery is sold to Roy W.
& Jeff Schreffler, of
19-Aug-2009 Fairview Cemetery becomes a 501(c)13 Tax Exempt Non-Profit organization in the State of PA