Explore Buffalonians’ stories at “Bringing Concordia to Life” on June 23rd

Historic Concordia Cemetery, 438 Walden Avenue at Sycamore Street, will host a tour with presentations and portrayals of past Buffalonians who will share stories of their lives and adventures, on Saturday June 23, 2018 at 11 a.m. The event is free and the public is invited to attend.

Uniformed members of Echoes Through Time, an organization dedicated to the preservation of battlefields and education about the civil war, will tell the story of Buffalo’s famous 1st New York Light Artillery, better known as Wiedrich’s Battery, and how it earned its place in history at the battle of Gettysburg.

Participants will meet Rosa Jackson Lumpkin, who, when she passed away in 1991 at the age of 115, was the oldest living American. She was born to former slaves in Georgia on July 17, 1876. Rosa was a wonderful story-teller and will share her unique insights of the many historical moments she experienced with you.

You will also meet 21 year old Pauline Guenther who just arrived in Buffalo after a journey at sea aboard the Barbarossa from Germany seeking a better life. Pauline kept a diary of her journey and experiences at Ellis Island, and she will share the thoughts, observations, hopes and dreams that she recorded.

The story behind the only tombstone in Western New York to have a curse on it will be explained. Louis John Henry Schmand was only 17 years old when he set out on a journey to discover America in 1877 by “tramping” and was murdered 4 weeks later in Euclid, Ohio. You will learn why his distraught mother Katherine had a curse on the soul of her son’s murderer inscribed on Louis’ tombstone.

The tour will follow the Concordia Foundation’s annual meeting at the historic cemetery which will begin at 10 a.m. and is also open to the public. The Foundation was created in 2011 to support and assist Historic Concordia Cemetery in preserving the heritage of the cemetery, its grounds and buildings through promotion, community outreach, education and events.

Formed in 1859, Concordia Cemetery is one of the oldest cemeteries in Western New York. The land, which was originally part of lot 51 on the Holland Land Survey, was owned by John and Magdelene Stellwagen. Located on Genesee Plank Road it was sold in 1859 to three German Lutheran churches to be shared as their burial ground: St. Peter’s German Evangelical Church founded in 1835, St. Stephen’s Evangelical Lutheran Church organized in 1853, and First Trinity Lutheran Church founded in 1839. The term ”concordia” means harmony, and is a reference to the coming-together of the three church congregations to share this property.

Encompassing 15 acres, the cemetery is the final resting place for thousands of early residents of Buffalo, including over 500 war veterans of which about 130 are Civil War soldiers. Currently there are over 17,000 people of all ethnic backgrounds and religions buried here.

In 2008 both New York State and the United States government recognized its historical significance by adding it to the New York State Register of Historic Sites and the National Register of Historic Places. The cemetery is a non-profit organization with no paid staff whose volunteers were recognized in 2011 by Preservation Buffalo Niagara with their prestigious annual award honoring the cemetery’s work in Neighborhood Conservation.