When is a cemetery not a cemetery?
According to Rose Mary Knick, a piece of property is not a cemetery when almost no one believes there are bodies buried in the land.
Knick makes no bones about it. She doesn’t buy the idea that there are bodies buried on her eastern Pennsylvania farmland, and she doesn’t want people strolling onto her property to visit what her town says is a small cemetery. Knick, 69, says her town’s ordinance wouldn’t protect her if people injure themselves on her land and sue. And she says if the town is going to take her private property and open it up to the public, they should pay her. She says she believes that the town was trying to make an example out of her for questioning lawmakers’ decisions.
Knick’s neighbor Robert Vail Sr., 85, says Knick knows exactly where there’s a cemetery on her land. Vail’s family has lived in the area since the early 1800s and he says it’s his relatives, at least half a dozen of them, who are buried there. He has a list of them, prepared decades ago by a local historian, and pictures of some gravestones. Vail is seeking a legal right to visit what he believes are the burial places of his ancestors.
The issue is headed to the U.S. Supreme Court for a decision concerning property owners’ rights over the land they own.
You can read the full story in an article by Jessica Gresko in the Associated Press at: https://apnews.com/86ec9d89d4d34579b528845f5f8c1642.
My thanks to newsletter reader Don Brownlee for telling me about this story.