David Beecher
Elizabeth Altland
Jacob Burcher
Mary Catherine Beecher
Elizabeth Burcher


Family Links

1. John Harvey Berkheimer

Elizabeth Burcher 1 2 3 4

  • Born: 30 Jul 1873, Mount Joy Twp., Adams, PA 1
  • Christened: 16 May 1875, Barlow: Mount Joy Lutheran Church, Adams, PA, USA 1
  • Marriage (1): John Harvey Berkheimer about 1898
  • Died: 2 Feb 1955, New Oxford, Adams, PA at age 81 3 4 5
  • Buried: 5 Feb 1955, New Oxford: New Oxford Cemetery, Adams, PA 3 4

   FamilySearch ID: K8TB-16V.

  Noted events in her life were:

1. Census in 1900 in Mount Pleasant Twp., Adams, PA. 6 The 1900 census recorded John Berkheimer, farmer, 30, born Mar 1870, living with wife Elizabeth, 27, Jul 1873. They were married for 2 years and she had birthed no children by 1900. They and their parents were born in Pennsylvania.

2. Newspaper: New Oxford Item: By the will of Mrs. Lydia Burcher, late of Hanover, $300 is bequeather to Elizabeth Berkheimer, and a similar sum to Annie Geisler, both of New Oxford., 1 May 1919, New Oxford, Adams, PA. 7

3. Cause of Death: accident, kerosene stove exploded and ignited dress of victim, 4th and 5th degree burns on entire body, 2 Feb 1955, New Oxford, Adams, PA. 4

4. Obituary: Gettysburg Times: Mrs. Elizabeth Berkheimer, 88, Fatally Burned in New Oxford; Clothing Ignited Filling Stove on 3 Feb 1955 in Gettysburg, Adams, PA. 3 Mrs. Elizabeth Berkheimer, 81, was burned to death Wednesday afternoon in her home, 109 E. High St., New Oxford, after her clothing was ignited as she was filling the fuel tank of a kerosene stove.

Her body was found by New Oxford firemen when they broke into the home after having been summoned by neighbors.

Mrs. Lawrence Byers, who lives in the other side of the double house in which Mrs. Berkheimer resided, said she heard bumping sounds next door and hear the elderly woman call "Mamie," Mrs. Byers' first name.

Coroner Called from Inquest

Mrs. Byers was unable to get into the Berkheimer home where the elderly woman resided alone. She notified neighbors and the fire department was called.

Dr. C. G. Crist, Adams County coroner, was called away from an inquest at the court house and went to New Oxford with Pfc. David James of the Gettysburg substation of the state police.

Investigators said there were indiciations that Mrs. Berkheimer had been filling the fuel tank of the old-style kerosene stove when her clothing became ignited. The tank on the two-burner stove was located between its two burners.

Body in Living Room

Mrs. Berkheimer's clothing was burned off and she was seared from head to foot by third degree burns. Her body was found in the living room near a front window. Curtains were ablaze there and clothing on a clothes tree near a locked hall door also were on fire, indicating Mrs. Berkheimer may have tried to escape through that door but found it locked.

The kitchen was afire in two places and there were flames at the stove. A partly filled kersene can stood a few feet from the stove but was not burning. Caps for that can and for the fuel tank were missing.

Firemen estimated $250 damage to the property by the fire. The house is owned by Mrs. William Brightner of New Oxford.

Services Saturday

Mrs. Berkheimer was a native of the county and had lived in the New Oxford area all her life. She was a daughter of the late Jacob and Mary (Beecher) Burcher. Her husband, John Berkheimer, died in 1911.

She was a member of the First Lutheran Church at New Oxford.

The only survivors are nieces and nephews.

Funeral services Saturday at 10:30 a.m. at the Fred F. Feiser Funeral Home in New Oxford with her pastor, the Rev. Dr. George E. Sheffer, officiating. Interment in the New Oxford Cemetery.

Elizabeth married John Harvey Berkheimer about 1898. (John Harvey Berkheimer was born on 15 May 1870 in Abbottstown, Adams, PA 6 8, christened on 13 Jun 1870 in Abbottstown: St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church, Adams, PA, died on 23 Sep 1911 in Oxford Township, Adams, PA 3 8 and was buried on 26 Sep 1911 in New Oxford: New Oxford Cemetery, Adams, PA 8.)


1 Ancestry.com, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Church and Town Records, 1669-2013, Historical Society of Pennsylvania; Historic Pennsylvania Church and Town Records; Reel: 670. PA > Adams > Barlow > Mount Joy Lutheran. Online Image 47.

2 Gettysburg Republican Compiler (Gettysburg, Adams County, PA.), 26 Apr 1919. Page 2. Obituary of Mrs. Lydia Burcher.

3 Gettysburg Times (Gettysburg, PA), 3 Feb 1955, page 1 & 3. Mrs. Elizabeth Berkheimer Fatally Burned in New Oxford.

4 Ancestry.com, Pennsylvania, U.S., Death Certificates, 1906-1968 (Original data: Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates. Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.), Death Certificate 9867. Elizabeth B. Berkheimer. Father Jacob Bucher. Mother Mary Beecher.

5 Gettysburg Times (Gettysburg, PA), 3 Feb 1955, page 1. Mrs. Elizabeth Berkheimer Burned to Death.

6 1900 United States Census, https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MS1Z-NHX John Berkheimer, Mount Pleasant Township (north part), Adams, Pennsylvania, United States; citing sheet 3A, family 57, NARA microfilm publication T623, FHL microfilm 1241354.

7 New Oxford Item (Gettysburg, Adams County, Pennsylvania), 1 May 1919.

8 Ancestry.com, Pennsylvania, U.S., Death Certificates, 1906-1968 (Original data: Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates. Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.), Death Certificate 86747. John H. Berkheimer. Father C. M. Berkheimer. Mother Mary Lillich.

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