A wonderful event was held at Tyler Arboretum on Saturday, January 25. For the second time in Tyler’s history, the Arboretum recognized its volunteers with a national honor, the President’s’ Volunteer Service Award. I act as a certifying agent for the award and have been authorized to administer the award to volunteers such as the outstanding individuals that selfessly donate their time and energy to Tyler Arboretum.
There are four different levels of the award (bronze, silver, gold, lifetime), with each level requiring a different number of volunteer hours earned over a one-year period based upon the age of the volunteer (children, young adults, adults, and families or groups). For Summer 2012 – Summer 2013, I was pleased to certify 31 awards – 20 at the bronze level, 8 at the silver level, 2 at the gold level, and one lifetime achievement award. Congratulations to Joe Cultrara for donating over 4,000 volunteer hours to Tyler Arboretum to earn the Lifetime Recognition! Each volunteer received a lapel pin, award certificate, and a letter signed by the President of the United States of America.
Director of Horticulture Mike Karkowski (far left) and Director of Public Programs Amy Mawby (far right) recognize one of Tyler’s volunteers on January 25.
Previously, 32 volunteers had been recognized with the Presidential Service Award. In a ceremony held at Tyler in December 2012, seven volunteers received the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award: Nick Greene, Wayne Keller, Michael Lenzi, Jack Nixon, Tom Reeves, Doug Robinson, and Pat Vaul.
Note that when you volunteer for Tyler Arboretum, your hours are automatically tracked and you will be notified if you qualify for an award. What an exciting way to be recognized and to celebrate volunteering at Tyler Arboretum!
Some of the visuals and displays from the Maple Sugaring class
Today was my first class at Tyler Arboretum in 2014! I grew up in the New England states, and when I was a kid, we used to travel to Vermont and visit the maple farms to view the sugar maple trees and to purchase 100% Vermont maple syrup. So when I read the description for the Maple Sugaring class in the Winter 2013-14 issue of Tyler Topics, I knew this was a class for me!
Learn about the history of maple syrup making and then venture outdoors to learn the techniques of tapping a tree, collecting sap and boiling it down to create delicious maple syrup in this adults-only program. If you are lucky enough to have a sugar maple in your yard, you may want to try this at home!
… and, it turns out, one of the people in the class with me today was there to learn how to tap a sugar maple in his own yard! He also shared with me how much he learned in the Terrarium Workshop the day before, and we chatted some more as others arrived for the class. The class was led by Tyler Arboretum educator Rachel Ndeto, who did an excellent job with the basics of trees, how they grow, how they can be identified, etc. We started with our class in the barn, looking at different samples of wood to note different features such as tree rings (and a short discussion on dendrochronology!) and tree bark. I also found it interesting that the maple tree is one of four trees in Pennsylvania with opposite vs. alternate branches.
Then, we began focusing on the sugar maple, and how the tree needs to be tapped in the winter during certain temperature conditions – otherwise, the sap will have a different taste. Rachel’s description of not only the branches but the “winged” bark was in all of our minds as we headed outdoors to tap a tree! A short trek in the snow led us to a sugar maple, and Rachel took us through step-by-step how to set everything up.
Rachel drills in to the tree (not that deep!). She drilled at an angle sloped up, so that the fluid would flow down and in to the bucket.
The spile that is then inserted in to the hole in the tree to help direct the draining sap and water. Spiles can be carved out of wood, made of metal or plastic. The size of the spile needs to match the size of the hole drilled in the tree.
The lid is then attached to the spile.
Add the bucket and now… we wait!
Depending upon the diameter of the tree, up to three taps can be placed. On a day with the right temperature conditions, Rachel said that a this bucket would need to be emptied twice a day!
Rachel said that most of what comes out of the tree is water, which needs to be placed in an outdoor evaporator to remove most of the water. Then, what is left in the pan is brought indoors and boiled at a temperature of 219-3/4 degrees (that’s 7.75 degrees F above the boiling point of water) for the material to become syrup. After draining this syrup through a coffee filter to remove any remaining bugs and plant material, we have syrup!
It was fascinating to hear about the different grades of syrup, why trees have to be tapped in the winter, and how 40 gallons of sap from a sugar maple are needed to make one gallon of syrup! And we ended the class on a real positive note – a chance to taste a sample of 100% maple syrup!
This maple sugaring class and taste of syrup is making my mouth water for Tyler’s Pancake Breakfast, taking place Saturday, February 22. Can’t wait!
I found some interesting information from Penn State Extension on Maple Syrup and collecting sap for beginners.
If you read my post on The Burying Ground of the Painters and Tylers, you may have noted the statement, “Papers document that Jacob Painter designed his own grave marker, as sketches for his grave and drafts of the poetry engraved on both his own tomb and on his brother Minshall’s tomb are found among Jacob’s papers.” Someone has asked about the text on the gravestones of Minshall and Jacob Painter, so I thought I would provide the text here, for those that cannot make the trip to visit the cemetery. As you will see, the epitaphs capture their love of nature – and the love one brother had for another.
Minshall Painter was the first of the two brothers to pass away. He lived from March 6, 1801, to August 21, 1873. Minshall has three epitaphs carved in his marble tombstone. This photo looks at the north side of the grave site.
The west side reads:
MY BROTHER ‘ROUND THY PLACE OF REST
WELL MAY THY ONCE LOVED FLOWERS ENTWINE,
NO HEART THAT THROBBED IN MORTAL BREAST
WAS KINDER OR MORE TRUE THAN THINE.
The south side reads:
FOR THEE, NO MORE SHALL VERNAL SPRING
RENEW THE LEAVES ON TREES AND BOWERS;
FOR THEE NO MORE SHALL FLORA BRING
HER CHOICEST GIFTS OF RAREST FLOWERS.
The east side reads:
‘TIS SWEET FOR HIM WHO KNEW THEE BEST,
TO CHERISH THOUGHTS OF THEE THAT KEEP
THY MEM’RY FRESH. WITH HOPE OF REST.
NEARBY THEE IN UNENDING SLEEP.
Minshall’s grave marker has many common tombstone symbols found in cemeteries. An urn represents a soul, or mortality. Any object draped on a tombstone, such as this urn, indicates mourning. In fact, the draped urn is probably the most common 19th-century funerary symbol. The ivy represents immortality and fidelity. Ivy clings to a support, which makes it a symbol of attachment, friendship, and undying affection. The flowers around the base of the urn represent beauty and eternal sleep.
Jacob Painter lived from June 22, 1814, to November 3, 1876. Jacob’s tombstone has many symbols on the north and south sides, with epitaphs carved only on the east and west sides.
The west side reads:
IF FOR HIS KIND SOME GOOD HE WROUGHT,
PERCHANCE REVEALED ANOTHER’S PAIN,
IF HE ONE USEFUL MORAL TAUGHT,
HE HAS NOT LIVED IN VAIN.
IF GRACELESS DEEDS HAVE MARRED HIS FAME,
MADE SAD HIS LIFE THAT ELSE WAS FAIR,
HE SINS NO MORE, WITHHOLD THY BLAME,
IN CHARITY FORBEAR.
The east side reads:
WHEN HE WHO LIES BENEATH THIS TOMB,
FELT LIFE’S WARM CURRENTS THROUGH HIM FLOW
HE WAS THE SPORT OF HOPE AND GLOOM,
OF JOYS THAT COME AND GO.
WHERE TRUTH AND NATURE SEEMED TO LEAD,
THAT PATH IN HOPE AND FAITH HE TROD.
FROM NATURE’S LAWS HE DREW HIS CREED,
AS TAUGHT BY NATURE’S GOD.
Jacob’s grave marker has many more symbols. I have described some of them here.
The oak leaves and acorns can symbolize strength, endurance, eternity, honor, liberty, hospitality, faith, and virtue, in addition to maturity and “ripe old age.” The pansy is a symbol of remembrance. The lily of the valley represents purity, innocence, renewal, and resurrection.
When found on a grave marker, the philodendron is more of a decorative element than being a representative symbol.
The anchor stands for hope. The hourglass represents the passage of time.
In general, trees represnt life. The weeping willow tree, in many religions, represents immortality. The flowers on the left appear to be roses, which represent brevity of life or sorrow. The flowers on the right may be the morning glory, representing morning, youth, the bonds of love, and the Resurrection since the flower blooms in the morning and is closed by afternoon.
If you are interested in learning more about tombstone styles and symbols, I recommend the following books to further your exploration:
Philadelphia and the surrounding region is known for its historic and scenic cemeteries. So which cemetery is the final resting place for the founding Minshall/Painter/Tyler families of Tyler Arboretum? A quick review of the History of Tyler Arboretum webpage will get you up to speed on the names of the family members that owned the Arboretum property for eight generations and the ones I’ll be focusing on in this post.
The earliest documentation I can find for a burial of a Minshall family member is for Hannah Minshall (1782-1838). Hannah, married to Enos Painter and mother of Minshall and Jacob Painter, is said to be buried in an unmarked grave in the Middletown Meeting Burying Ground (also referred to as Middletown Preparative Burying Ground and Friends Hicksite Cemetery, located here on Route 352/Middletown Road). Many well-known Delaware County names can be found on the hand-written burial lists, such as Baker, Sharpless, and Darlington. This property is surrounded by a stone wall and is across the street from the Penn State Brandywine campus.
This area had an immediate need for a burial site for “non-demoninational harmony” (as the Middletown Quaker Hickstie and Orthodox congregations that separated in 1827 both found their own burying grounds no longer adequate, suffering from graveyard overcrowding). Interestingly, Minshall Painter’s written papers for May 5, 1859, mention a visit to his neighbor Thomas Pratt. Minshall had stopped at the Pratt farm, which included the land between the two Quaker cemeteries, as Thomas was “laying out a piece of ground for a cemetery laying adjoining the Middletown [Friends] grave yard.” Bordering that stone wall and between two Quaker burying grounds was the establishment of Pratt’s Burying Ground, what is now expanded and named Cumberland Cemetery on Route 352.
The new burial ground was documented in the May 13, 1885 issue of The Chester Times (see below, and notice a familiar name in the list of purchasers in the third sentence):
A NEW PLACE OF BURIAL A new place of sepulture, know as the Cumberland Cemetery, is a very finely located burial ground. It is situated in Middletown Township, and is part of the estate of the late Thomas Pratt. In February last Townsend F. and Horace P. Green of Media, James M. Smith, John J. Tyler and Thomas Sharpless, of Middletown, purchased the farm consisting of seventy acres and then sold all but eighteen of them, which they reserved for the new cemetery. A charter was granted by the court on April 6. The property will be laid out in lots, with avenues running to all portions of the grounds. The front of the cemetery will be embellished by a stone wall, on which an iron fence of suitable pattern will be mounted. It is thought this place will soon be come popular as a place of interment. It is on high ground, commands a fine view, and will make a fit spot for the living to place their dead. It is only a short distance from Chester. The officers of the association are J. M. Smith, President, T. J. Sharpless, Treasurer, Horace P. Green Secretary.
Minshall and Jacob Painter are both buried in “Pratt’s Burying Ground” (as they passed away before Cumberland Cemetery was officially incorporated in 1885). Papers document that Jacob Painter designed his own grave marker, as sketches for his grave and drafts of the poetry engraved on both his own tomb and on his brother Minshall’s tomb are found among Jacob’s papers. I have seen stories online that Minshall and Jacob wanted to be buried right next to the stone wall, so they could be buried close to their mother Hannah who was buried on the other side.
The final resting spots of Minshall (left) and Jacob (right) Painter. Note that both tombs are next to the stone wall of the Quaker burying site of their other (the meeting house can be seen above Jacob’s grave marker). If you visit this site, take a peek over the stone wall – you will be surprised to see more than tombstones within the stone wall!
The short text below is the only mention I have found of the cause of death of Minshall Painter:
The image above is a screenshot from the article “Some Old Gardens of Pennsylvania” by J.W. Harshberger in the 1924 publication The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 48, No. 4, available online through the Penn State Libraries.
Ann Painter, the youngest sibling of Minshall and Jacob who inherited the property after the passing of her brothers (which contradicts the above article), is also buried in Cumberland Cemetery – but on the complete opposite side of the property in the Tyler mausoleum (described below). She lived from 1818-1914 and was the wife of William Tyler and mother of John J. Tyler. It was John J. Tyler that managed the property for Ann.
John J. Tyler (1851-1930) was married to Laura Hoopes (1859-1944) and is buried in the only mausoleum in Cumberland Cemetery. The structure is located on the one road that bends through the cemetery, named Tyler Memorial Driveway (as pictured to the left). The beautiful and simple mausoleum has a stained glass window in the back and a small marble bench on a granite floor with six tombs inside. When peering through the windows of the door, you will see John J. Tyler in the middle on the right, with Laura at rest below him. To the left is Ann Tyler in the middle, William Tyler on the bottom, and their son William at the top who died in 1873 at the age of 25.
The Tyler Mausoleum at Cumberland Cemetery. Note Middletown Monthly Meeting in the background to the right, along with the Quaker cemetery.
If you want to further your exploration of Cumberland Cemetery, I strongly encourage you to read the undergraduate honors thesis of Eileen Fresta, who earned her B.A. in American Studies from Penn State Brandywine in Spring 2013. Her thesis, titled “A Study of the Cumberland Cemetery in Middletown Township, Pennsylvania,” is freely available online as a PDF file. I believe you will find Chapter 5, Middletown Township Quakers in the Nineteenth Century, of particular relevance and interest. Visitors are also allowed to walk through Cumberland Cemetery during daytime hours.
RANDOM FACT — Perhaps the most well-known person resting at Cumberland Cemetery is Joshua Pusey, the inventor of the paper matchbook! There is a historical marker detailing this accomplishment along Route 352.