The Historic Midland Cemetery

The Midland Story, Its History


The history of Midland Cemetery is a simple one. The burial site was started circa 1795 for the purpose of burying those who were working on or near the old farm which later became known as the Kelker Farm in the 1800. Midland did not actually get its legal name until around 1877. Midland Cemetery holds the remains of those who once were in servitude bondage either from another state or Pennsylvania and became free. Reading of the various headstones and in research we have noted veterans interred in these hallowed grounds are the United States Colored Troops, which were the Black men who volunteered to serve during the Civil War, the Buffalo Soldiers, who fought in and open up the West (Campaign). Headstones show soldiers of World War I and II, followed by the Korean War.

Aside from the various military men and possibly a few women (still researching), there are also the many leaders of the community. Ministers of churches which are still functioning in the Steelton, Harrisburg and Swatara Township area such as Monumental AME, Mt Zion Baptist, Goodwin Memorial, Beulah Baptist and the First Baptist Church to name a few. They are buried alongside of their deacons and deaconess and many of their church members.

Throughout the cemetery you will find family plots with and without headstones or markers. Over the years of restoration and reclaiming the cemetery we have found numerous amounts of babies, young children and teenagers. Some of the youth attended the “School for Colored Children” known as the Hygienic School, which was part of the Steelton School system.

Midland has wrapped its arms around the Black doctors, mothers and fathers, brothers, sisters and even the known abolitionist. Midland also has a Negro league baseball player, a writer and publisher of a local newspaper who was also Steelton’s first Black Councilman in the late 1800. It holds the remains of persons from our area that seemed to be ahead of the times. As you stroll around the graves you can get a picture of American life and how these folks contributed to history.

The pictures above are from the first years, right near the alley.

The following pictures shows the Pennsylvania Conservation Corp helping with cutting down trees. If you look close enough you will see the houses across Kelker Street. This angle is from standing at the top of the hill near the middle driveway.