General Edward Hand fought during the American Revolution and was buried at St. James Episcopal Church Cemetery in Lancaster City. Other well known soldiers recorded in Veteran Burial records are Lancaster native Major John F. Reynolds. Reynolds lost his life during the first day of fighting at the Battle of Gettysburg in July 1863. Former President James Buchanan was a captain during the War of 1812 and his final resting place is at Woodward Hill Cemetery in Lancaster City. More importantly, this collection documents the lives of over 17,000 Lancaster County veterans buried across city cemeteries and rural family plots. The Lancaster County Archives Veteran Burials record over 200 years of veteran burials spanning the late 1700s through the 1980s.
Beginning in 1885, county commissioners across Pennsylvania were directed to provide burial expenses for Civil War soldiers that were poor and died destitute. Destitute Veteran Burial records were the beginning of a series of veteran burial records kept by Lancaster County government offices. In 1929, county commissioners were directed to compile a record of all soldiers buried across cemeteries in Lancaster County. This project was begun during the 1930s Work Progress Administration and resulted in an inventory of veteran grave markers going back to the American Revolution. Additional compensation was continued by county commissioners through the late twentieth century to pay burial expenses for local veterans. Today these records are an important link to locating cemetery markers that may be in poor condition and finding a veteran ancestor or relative.