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TOWN OF CHAMPLAIN
HISTORIC CALENDAR

Essay: The Town of Champlain’s Lost Burying Yards



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2012 champlain
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Essay: The Town of Champlain’s Lost Burying Yards

 
      In the early days of the Town of Champlain, many family burying yards were established as well as two small, public cemeteries in Champlain and Rouses Point.  These cemeteries were used for the first 60 years of Champlain’s history.  About 1858-59, the Glenwood and Maple Hill Municipal Cemeteries were established, as well as St. Mary’s and St. Patrick’s Church Cemeteries.  Shortly afterwards, many burials in the family cemeteries were moved to these municipal cemeteries.  Unfortunately, the removal of burials was not consistent and there are fields today that still contain some of Champlain’s earliest inhabitants.  Another cemetery that was recently re-discovered was the Refugee Burying Ground, which was used by the French Refugees before the establishment of St. Joseph’s Church Cemetery.  It was on the lakeshore farm of Jacques Rouse.  Many American and British soldiers are also buried around town who were casualties in the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.  The locations of these burials are part of the Champlain’s most historic sites.


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 The following is an abridged version of the essay.  Considerably more information is found in the calendar.
 
            In the early days of Champlain’s founding, many family burying yards were established.  These burying yards were placed on family farms for the necessity of quickly burying the dead.  After the establishment of the Glenwood and Maple Hill municipal cemeteries in 1859, some burials in these family burying yards were relocated and the grounds abandoned.  Unfortunately, there are still many of Champlain’s earliest residents in these forgotten burying yards.  Knowledge of where these lost burying yards are located should help to protect them from the plow and the backhoe.
 
            Champlain Town (now the Town of Champlain) had many burying yards in its early days.  In 1799 and 1823, respectively, Pliny Moore and Ezra Thurber each gave their community a small burying yard.  The Joseph King family had one or two off Route 9B at King’s Bay; Isaac Hayford had a large one on Hayford Road; Hiram Shute who lived on McCrea Road had a very large one that was used by many families living in the southern part of the town; Levi Waters, who lived in the western part of the town, had one named after him and Aaron Scott Thurber had one in Rouses Point.  On the lakeshore farm of Jacques Rouse near the Chazy town line was a large cemetery used by the French-Canadian refugees.  This cemetery is now completely abandoned and there is little evidence of its true size.  Many others dotted the town.  Starting in the 1920s, Hugh McLellan and later his son Woody and his wife Hulda, catalogued most of Champlain’s burying yards and today their records are a valuable source of genealogical information.  



Joseph Rowe (1789) - Joseph Rowe settled Champlain in 1788 at the same time as Pliny Moore.  He is mentioned numerous times in Pliny’s sawmill diary of 1788 as he helped to build the sawmill.  Unfortunately, he died a year later in 1789.  Rowe owned three lots including lot 65 which is bounded today by South St. and Church St./Ridge Road.  Route 11 now passes through the center of this lot.  William Fox (who lived on Rt. 276 north of Dewey’s Tavern) was the only person in town in the 1860s who knew exactly where Rowe was buried.  Fox remembered seeing the grave in 1797 and remembered that it had green sod on it and was on the side of a small hill.  He and William Beaumont (the uncle of the future doctor) were to put up a fence around his grave but this was never done.  It was thought that Rowe was buried at the corner of lot 65 and under the intersection of Church St. and South St. near the Dr. Julius Churchill house.  In 1910, St. Mary’s Cemetery was established on the edge of this intersection and hill. 
 Old Burying Yard on Oak Street (1799) - The first public cemetery was given by Pliny Moore to the Village of Champlain and was one acre in size.  The cemetery was on Oak Street (then known as Moore St.) and today the John Rowe house sits on half of the old cemetery land (the other half is on the lot north of it).  The first person buried here was Amasa Corbin.  He was the cousin of Pliny’s wife, Martha Corbin Moore.  For 60 years, many of the village residents, including Pliny and his wife, were buried here.  After 1873, the cemetery was moved to the newly established Glenwood Cemetery. 

 Captain Richard Caldwell (War of 1812) - One notable burial in the Old Burying Yard was that of American army Captain Richard Caldwell who died during the War of 1812.  Caldwell was a member of the 26th Regiment of Foot in General Henry Dearborn’s army.  On November 16, 1812, Dearborn’s army marched from Plattsburgh to Champlain and arrived there on the 19th.  Caldwell was very sick and did not want to be left in Plattsburgh so he rode with his troops to Champlain and boarded at John Thurber’s house (556 Prospect St. today).  He surely had “camp fever” which was the deadly disease typhus as many of the other troops had this.  He died a few days later on November 22 and his funeral was held in the Pliny Moore house.  It was recently determined that he spread the disease to several other residents.  John Thurber, who cared for Caldwell,..........

Lieut-Col. Benjamin Forsyth (War of 1812) - During the War of 1812, considerable military activity occurred in the fields of upper Prospect Street and along Route 276 to the border.  This culminated in the death of Lieut.-Col. Benjamin Forsyth on June 28, 1814 who was shot and killed on Route 276 in an ambush.  He was taken back to Dewey’s Tavern but died before he got there.  The next day he was buried in the Old Burying Yard in an unmarked grave with full military honors.  Deacon David Savage officiated at the funeral as Amos Pettengill, the only minister stationed in Champlain, had left town because of the war.

 It is presumed that Forsyth was buried in an unmarked grave to ensure that the grave could not disturbed by the British-controlled Indians who would sometimes dig up the dead.  Forsyth’s death was avenged in August with the ambush and killing of the British Indian commander Captain St. Valier Mayhew (he was taken to the Pliny Moore house where he died in the basement on August 18; a ..........

St. Mary’s Cemetery on Prospect Street (1860) - The first Catholic cemetery in Champlain Village was laid out on lot 48 at the top of Prospect St. and was 2.5 acres in size.  By 1940, it had 311 stones and 648 people buried here. 

A.S. Thurber Burying Yard (1797/1802) - A family burying yard was established in 1802 on the future land of Aaron Scott Thurber (1818-1869) who lived on Lake Street (his father Edward probably owned this land in 1797 when the first burials were made, including his).  This land was on lot 50 (this includes the land around Lake St. and Stewart St. today) which..............

Old Burial Ground (1823) - The first public burying yard established in Rouses Point was on one acre of land given by Gen. Ezra Thurber in 1823.  The burying yard was on lot 52 and far from any settlements on the lake shore (to keep this in perspective, Rouses Point only had six log cabins in 1803, most of which were situated near the lakeshore).  Elihu Smith was the first person buried in the cemetery as he died on October 3, 1823.   By the early 1860s, many people were buried here including: Horace White (1824, age 8 months), Mrs. Abigail Slater (1828, age 44), John H. Slater (1828, age 18 and died one month after his mother), Leander G. Stratton (1830, age 17), Lucinda White (1836, age 40),  Elizabeth McDougall (1846, age 11), Joel Parker (1849, age 27)...........

Joseph Bindon Graveyard (1832) - Joseph Bindon served in the Revolutionary War as a spy, settled in Rouses Point in 1805 and died in 1832.  His son, Joseph Bindon Jr. (1782-1866), is the owner noted on a 1856 map.  Bindon Sr. had a large farm that was on either lot 56 on the south side of Chapman Street or on lot 60 that his son may have inherited.  It is likely that lot 60........

Oliver’s Ground (before 1831) - Andrew Oliver was born in Athol, Mass. like many settlers who came to Champlain after 1800.  He lived in Bridport, Vermont where he married and in 1806 purchased lot 57 of the 80-acre refugee tract from Justin Smith (Cromwell Thurber owned it previously).  Only 25 acres had been cleared at the time of his purchase.  Lot 57 is bounded north by State Street and south by Chapman Street and runs from the lakeshore westward ..............


Weeks Graveyard (early 1800s) - The Weeks family were some of the earliest settlers in Rouses Point.  Many family members lived along Church Street (Route 276).  A family graveyard was on Maple Street on the property of the former ..............St. Patrick’s Cemetery (1859) - Although not a municipal cemetery, this garden style Catholic cemetery was established on lot 58 on Church Street in Rouses Point at the same time as Glenwood and Maple Hill cemeteries were (noted later).  In 1961, there were 555 stones and 950 people buried here.  ......
St. Joseph’s Catholic Cemetery (1821) - The establishment of St. Joseph’s Cemetery dates to the establishment of a permanent Catholic Church in Champlain Town which was also the first Catholic Church in upstate New York.  After the settlement of the French refugees near the lakeshore in the 1780s, religious meetings were held in the homes of Prisque (Prix) Asselin, Amable Boileau, Francis Monty, Antoine Paulent, Amable Paulent ...........

Perrys Mills Cemetery (1840) - The Perrys Mills cemetery was established on Creek Road on lot 15 (refugee 420 acre lot) in 1840 and was half an acre in size.  The McLellans wrote: “A fairly well-kept cemetery, on the east bank of the Great Chazy River, which flows north, then east, through the hamlet of Perrys Mills.”  Thankful Patterson ........

Murray Grave (1838) - This small cemetery was on lot 16 (refugee 420 acre lot) on Roxham Road.  Only the stone for Catherine Murray was visible in 1941 but there could be other burials here.   The inscription stated: “MURRAY / Sacred to the memory of Catharine, Daughter of Joseph & Lovicy MU[RRAY] [died]  Dec. 15th AD. 1838.  In the 31st year of her age.”   The McLellans wrote: "Top and bottom ...........

French Protestant Cemetery - In 1935, Hugh McLellan wrote a description of the cemetery: “About a mile south-east of the Perrys Mills Cemetery, on a farm formerly owned by Fry Clark, and .............

Shute Graveyard (1802) - This is a public graveyard of three-fourths of an acre in size on lot 109 S&G.  It was established in 1802 near Hiram Shute’s farmhouse.  The first person buried here was the wife of Abijah North in 1802.  The McLellan Cemetery transcriptions state: "This graveyard, known as the Shute Cemetery, is shown on Beer's Atlas of Clinton County on Lot 109 of the Smith and Graves Patent, about two miles south-east of the Village of Champlain.  Nearly a third of the stones have fallen or are broken, and the enclosure is now completely overgrown.  Many of the early settlers of the town are buried here."   Hugh transcribed the cemetery in 1917, 1929, 1935, 1939, and in 1943.  There were 123 stones and 156 people buried here which included 42 unique last names including Shute, Wiley, Moore, Clark as well as Moses H. Mooers (Moses was an Orderly Sergeant in the Revolutionary War and was the brother of Benjamin Mooers), Ebenezer Cooper (founder of Coopersville), William Churchill (Lieut. in the Revolutionary War) as well as many family members of each.  Those serving in the War of 1812 include William J. Churchill, Darius Churchill, Abijah North, Lemuel North, Daniel Moore, Reuben Stetson and Robert Stetson. ..............

Captain Antoine Paulint

            Antoine Paulint (Paulent) was born in France in 1734 and died in Coopersville on September 7, 1813.  After serving in the war, he was awarded lots 165 and 180 of 80 acres and lots 235 and 167 of 420 acres.  The lots were part of the Canadian and Nova Scotia Refugee Tract.   He probably sold some of this land and settled in Coopersville instead.  Also living nearby on Route 9 was Moses Mooers, brother of Gen. Benjamin Mooers and nephew of Moses Hazen who had commanded Paulint. 

 

            The 1798 tax assessment shows what land Paulint owned but not the exact location of his property:  “Antoine Paulent, 500 acres on the Great River Chazy adjoining Graves - Smiths Patt. One Log house ($50). One log Barn 24x20. $820”.  Since he lived in Coopersville, he would likely have been on the bank of the river which would have been on the edge of the S&G Grant as noted. 

 

            Interestingly, Paulint was buried in the Shute Cemetery.  His stone is there today and shows the name of Poland which is an anglicized version of his name.  At the time, the only burial locations for the refugees was on their own land or at the French refugee burying ground on Jacques Rouse’s land on the lakeshore.  St. Joseph’s Cemetery was not established until 1820. 

 

                Paulint may have been buried at Shute’s because his friend and fellow soldier Moses Mooers was buried there in March of the same year.  But there are a few things odd about his stone.  First, most of the French Refugees were very poor and never had stones made for themselves.  We see stones in the refugee burying ground for a few of the second and third generation settlers.  Perhaps his stone was placed there by a son or grandson.  This might be the case as two stones for “Antoine Poland” are found in St. Joseph’s cemetery.  One Antoine served in the Civil War.  Another Antoine was born in 1849 and died in 1936.  A number of other Polands are there too who are related to the two Antoines.  His ............................

Hayford Burying Ground (1809) - This quarter-acre family burying ground was established on refugee lot 93 near Isaac Hayford’s house.   It was laid out in 1809 after the death of Elizabeth Hayford.  In 1937, Hugh McLellan wrote: "This graveyard is shown on Beer's 1869 Atlas of Clinton County on Lot 93 of the Refugee 80-acre lots, on the so-called "Hayford Street".  The inscriptions were copied in 1917; twenty years later but one stone ..............

Charles Moore Ground a.k.a. “The Honey Moore Graveyard” (c1831) - This cemetery was established for the Charles Moore family on refugee lot 156.  Moore lived off of Route 9 just north ...............

Rogers Burying Ground / D.D.T Moore Burying Ground - The Rogers burying ground was for the Elnathan Rogers family.  Elnathan Rogers was the brother-in-law of Pliny Moore.  He married Pliny’s sister Olive and came up with Pliny in 1788 and settled on lot 73.  His house is where the Rock Hill farm is today on Route 9 ............

Dewey Family Cemetery (1812) - The Dewey family cemetery was about one acre in size and was south of the Elias Dewey house and across from today’s high school on Route 276.  The field likely contains the remains of the Dewey, Hamilton, Odell, Newell, Kingsley, Moore and Twiss families.  Lovisa Dewey, daughter of Elias and Lovisa Dewey, was the first person buried here as she died on May 30, 1812 just days before the start of the War of 1812.  American soldiers serving in the war who died after the Lacolle stone mill siege of March 1814 are also buried here.  After the battle, American General Wilkinson wrote: “I have sent forward my wounded who can bear the movement to Plattsburgh or Burlington, and those who cannot will be provided for at Champlain.”  Drusilla Dewey, Elias’s daughter, remembered that the wounded soldiers were laid on the floors of the Dewey family house and in the out-buildings (probably the log cabin and a barn).  The soldiers who died at the tavern were buried in the Dewey family cemetery in “nameless graves” (as noted by another source).  Tradition states that British soldiers who were wounded in the Battle of Plattsburgh were cared for at the tavern, and when they died, were buried in the cemetery.............


Sweet Cemetery (c1846) - The Sweet cemetery was on lot 70 S&G.  The first person buried here may have been a two year old child of Alpha and Eunice Sweet who died in 1846.  In 1934, the McLellans wrote: "In a pasture on the old Sweet Farm, between the north side of the Great Chazy River and the "Rapids Road" [this is really Leggett Road], from which it can be seen, is this uncared-for graveyard.  Many stones are broken and many fallen and partially buried."   There were 19 stones and 22 people buried here including the names of Beaney, Boileau, Davenport, Donaldson and Sweet.  ..............

Pettinger Family Cemetery - The Pettinger family cemetery is another cemetery in Champlain Town that has completely disappeared.  The cemetery was on the original farm of John Pettinger which was on the north side of Leggett Road near the intersection of Mason Road (lot 69 S&G).   John Pettinger was from England and settled here in 1816 after purchasing land from Morris Bosworth.  In the 1860s, his son Joseph operated a large farm.  A large brick house was built in 1846 and used by the family for many years.  The brick house is still standing today but appears to be unused..............

Dudley Farm Graveyard - Moses Dudley (1776-1846) came to Champlain and bought lots 13 and 14 (420 acre refugee lots) as well as lots 96, 56, 61 and the western half of lot 62 (all S&G) starting in 1808.  He later gave this land to his sons Hiram and George (Hiram was a Glenwood ................

Fry Clark Burial Site (1882) - The Fry Clark burial site is one of the few single-burial sites in Champlain.  It is actually very difficult to find this site as it is far from the road and in a wooded area.  Fry Clark owned a lot of land in the mid-1800s around Perrys Mills.  He was buried in 1882 on one of his lots at the end of Southwick Road.  ..............

Downs Graveyard (1826) - The Downs family burying ground was laid out by James Downs in 1826.  The McLellans wrote: "This abandoned graveyard, overgrown with wild flag and roses, is north-west of, and quite close to, the front of the Downs' Farm House, on the 420-acre Lot #12 of the Canadian and Nova Scotia Refugee Tract, near the western border of the Town of Champlain. The farm is now (1937) owned by Mrs. Charles Jones of Bedford, P.Q. and is occupied by a Rabideau."  James Downs and Abel Rider served in the War of 1812..............

Baker’s Burial Ground - A burying yard for the Baker family was on Refugee lot 199 someplace near the Baker house which was present in 1869 as well as in 1948.  Today, several .....................

Waters (Watrous) Graveyard (1842) - The Waters cemetery was established on lot 215 in the refugee tract and was laid out in 1842-44 by Levi Waters after a two year old child named Harriet Waters died.  Besides Waters, the names here include Angell, Baker, Bullis, Matott, Supernaw and Wilson, among others. 

Joseph King Burying Ground (Kings Bay, c1810) - This cemetery was for the Joseph King family who originally settled on refugee lot 33 in King’s Bay in 1802.  King family members buried here include Mrs. Tryphena King who died March 20, 1810, two infant children of Joseph King who died in 1814, Tryphena M. Grange who died in 1833 at the age of 18, Louisa C. King who died August 11, 1836, age 14 and Joseph’s wife Rhoda King who died May 10, 1837, age 58.  ..........

James Valentine Graveyard (Kings Bay) - A small burying ground for the Valentine family was on ............

Rochester Family Cemetery (Point au Fer) - A family cemetery was near the point close to the original Rochester house ....................

Refugee Burying Ground, a.k.a. Wiley’s Point North, the “Ashline Cemetery” or the “Catholic Cemetery” - The Refugee Burying Ground is one of the more important burial grounds in the Town of Champlain.  The cemetery was situated on Jacques Rouse’s farm at the lakeshore.  He is supposed to be buried here along with his wife(s) and some of his younger children.  Many of the first French settlers and their families are buried here, perhaps even Prisque Asselin (1748-1813), the first Ashline to settle in Champlain.   After the establishment of St. Joseph’s Cemetery in 1820, most of the French settlers and their descendants were buried at the church but a few people were still buried on the lakeshore as late as 1889.  Joseph Ashline (and family), who owned the farm in the mid-1800’s, is buried here along with people named Amlaw, Bullis, Dumo, Forsyth, Gorbutt, Honsinger, Patnod, Valentine, and Whyte.  Hugh McLellan was fortunate enough to see the remains of the cemetery in 1922.  ............much more about this including maps..................


Wiley’s Point South (Chazy) - Wiley’s Point South is several lots south of the Refugee Burying Yard, a.k.a. Wiley’s Point North cemetery, and just south of the Chazy town line.  This cemetery is distinct as it was a private family burial ground for the extended Wiley family ...........

Glenwood Cemetery (1859, Champlain Village) - Glenwood Cemetery was established after the site was chosen by Pliny Moore descendant John H. Whiteside.  Whiteside even donated the land for the cemetery.  That same year, on December 19, the Glenwood Cemetery Association was formed and the following people were named as trustees:  John H. Whiteside, George V. Hoyle, W. F. Cook, Timothy Hoyle, Hiram Dudley, Freeman Nye, James Averill, David Finley and William Dodds.  The grounds were dedicated August 3, 1860.  The first burial in Glenwood Cemetery was that of a child named A. Hitchcock.  

 In 1867, New York State passed a law stating that all of the burials in the Old Burying Yard had to be moved to Glenwood Cemetery and the land sold.  A notice in the Champlain Journal of September 20, 1873, declared that the burials would be moved in the coming weeks:  “NOTICE:  Is hereby given that on the 1st day of October 1873, the Trustees of The Glenwood Cemetery Association of Champlain will proceed to remove the remains of all persons that can then be found in THE OLD BURYING ..................

Maple Hill Cemetery (1858, Rouses Point) - Maple Hill Cemetery Association was organized on December 20, 1858 and the original trustees were Alexander Stearns, Warren C. Fairbanks, William J. Crook, Chauncy Smith, Albert Chapman, and Benjamin Webster.  The cemetery was laid out far from Rouses Point on two acres of refugee lot 52 that cost the association $129 ($3,209 today).  Hannah Stearns was the first person buried in Maple Hill as she died on January 28, 1859.  On March 11, 1870, New York State passed a law requiring that all of the bodies in the Old Burying Ground in Rouses Point be moved to Maple Hill.  The removal of bodies occurred around May 31, 1873, when 61 year old David Leonard dug ...............

Point au Fer Revolutionary War Burial Site (1774-1796) - In June and July of 1776, American soldiers in Quebec became sick with small pox and brought the disease back to the garrison they held at Point au Fer.  Over 160 of them quickly died and were buried on the lakeshore in mass graves with only crude stones marking the location.  A few British soldiers may also be buried around here too.  It is known that when British General John Burgoyne camped here in June 1777, some soldiers felled a tree and it landed on a tent and killed three soldiers.  Furthermore,................

The War of 1812 (Village of Champlain, 1812-1814) -  As has been noted, many American soldiers were buried in the Dewey family cemetery in March of 1814 after the failed siege of the Stone Mill in Lacolle.  But in the fall of 1812, typhus (also known as “camp fever” which is spread by infected lice) was brought to Champlain by American troops from Plattsburgh.  Captain Richard Caldwell, as well as John Thurber, Samuel Newell and his daughter, were infected by him and a fellow soldier and died.  Caldwell was buried in the Old Burying Yard in the village, John Thurber someplace in Rouses Point (later Maple Hill) and Samuel Newell and his daughter at Dewey’s Tavern (later Glenwood). ...........


The Commons Cholera Burial Site (Rouses Point, 1832) - In 1832, 40 people in Champlain Town died from the disease called cholera, which is caused by a parasite found in tainted food and water.  Cholera is the fastest killing disease known to humans and one could be dead within three hours of ingesting the parasite.  The disease would usually strike an entire household and kill many of the occupants.  Two quarantine ...............

The Removal of Burials to the Municipal Cemeteries - It has been noted throughout this text that many burials in the family burying yards around town have been moved to the two municipal cemeteries.  But the removals seem to have been done haphazardly.   Even more confusing is whether the stones only were moved or the stones and bodies moved together.  Another cemetery .....................

The McLellan Cemetery Transcriptions - Starting around 1917, Hugh McLellan gained an interest in preserving the inscriptions found on gravestones in municipal and family cemeteries around Champlain Town, Franklin County (Vermont) and Lower Quebec.  Most of his work was done in the mid-1930s at the height of the Great Depression and his son Woody and his wife Hulda continued this hobby into the 1960s.  In a letter written in 1941, Hugh noted that he had completely copied 110 graveyards, 89 partial graveyards and a total of 8,423 stones.  His concern at the time was that many .............



2012
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                essay on champlain cemetery


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All images in the 2012 calendar are courtesy the Special Collections, Feinberg Library at Plattsburgh State University College, the Clinton County Historical Association in Plattsburgh, the
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