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High Court Hears Cemetery Case
News Bytes 10/5/2018 10 Comments

Rose Mary Knick doesn’t believe there are bodies buried on her eastern Pennsylvania farmland. And she doesn’t want people strolling onto her property to visit what her town says is a small cemetery.

Six years ago, Knick’s town passed an ordinance that requires anyone with a cemetery on his or her land to open it to the public during the day. The town ordered Knick to comply, threatening a fine if she didn’t. Knick’s response? Fighting all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. “Would you want somebody roaming around in your backyard?” she asks.

The Supreme Court isn’t going to weigh in on whether there’s a cemetery on Knick’s land. Instead, it’s considering whether people with property rights cases can bring them to federal court or must instead go to state court.

Knick says her town’s ordinance wouldn’t protect her if people injure themselves on her land and sue. And she says if the town is going to take her private property and open it to the public, they should pay her.

Knick says she’s never seen any gravestones or other evidence of a cemetery. Her land does have some rock fences and several areas where there are rectangular, flat rocks on the ground. “Are they a marker? I have no clue,” she says.

Knick’s neighbor Robert Vail, Sr., says there’s a cemetery on her land. Vail’s family has lived in the area since the 1800s. He says some of his relatives are buried there. All he wants, he says, is to visit Knick’s land a few times a year to clean up, plant a flag, and pay his respects to his relatives.

Knick marvels at how far her case has gone. “I never dreamed in a million years that I’d be at the Supreme Court defending my property rights.”

(AP Photo: Rose Mary Knick speaks outside the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday, October 3.)

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Most recent comments

Wow! First Comment BTW

Wow. You'd think they'd actually check to make sure she does or doesn't have grave sites on her property.


that is very interesting... but also kind of creepy to think that people might be buried in her backyard! Somebody down the road from my house has people buried in there backyard because thats where a graveyard used to be but they moved the graveyard and so now there is gravestones in there backyard (and l line in Pennsylvania just like Rose Mary Knick)! I may not have people buried in my back yard but we do have kittens! And l agree with you Anna C.

l live in P.A.

l live in P.A.


Wow! This is interesting....I wouldn’t want someone in my backyard during the day though so I understand if she wants her privacy.

bethany, jt's sister

i live in pa too... I definitely agree with Rose Mary Knick because even if there was graves in my yard, I would definitely NOT want people allowed to be roaming on my property,,,,

Its Her property if She doesn

Its Her property if She doesn't Want people walking on her land they should walk on her land she should put up a fence and call it privet property


A bit off topic but...who's happy that Justice Kavanaugh is finally in? I am!

I don't know. Maybe she

I don't know. Maybe she should sell her property to the town or something. It doesn't seem right for them to force her to let whoever wants to onto her property.
By the way, yes Isaac, I'm glad they finally made a decision. That was taking forever!


I totally agree with you Anna C! There must be some way to compromise.

I live in AL

I live in AL but there is a road in my neighborhood that goes through a cemetery. Part of the cemetery is also on peoples property I definitely would NOT want ppl wandering around my back yard!!!

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