Monthly Archives January 2017

The rural cemetery of Rombout is a sacred land: Dateline

Anthony P. Musso

Located on the north side of Route 52, just west of its intersection with Route 82 in the town of Fishkill, Rombout Rural Cemetery was established in the mid-18th century as the cemetery for the Presbyterian Church of Rombout. The package contains the remains of more than 500 people buried there since it opened.

In 1747 a church congregation was formed, but the construction of a physical church was not completed for three years. That said, a member of the LaDue family was buried there in 1747, officially establishing its status as a burial place.

Judge Theodorus Van Wyck and other family members helped found the church in Brinckerhoff, a hamlet in the city, and Reverend Chauncey Graham was appointed its first pastor; he led the congregation for its first 23 years.

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During the Revolutionary War, when a smallpox epidemic affected troops at the nearby Fishkill Supply Depot, the Presbyterian Church at Rombout – as well as the Trinity Church in the village of Fishkill – was used as a military hospital to treat soldiers. Dr James Thatcher supervised the operation at Brinckerhoff Church.

The place of worship of Rombout suffered a fire in 1830 and was quickly rebuilt. However, when a second fire caused significant damage to the structure in 1866, church officials decided not to rebuild. In August 1885, the congregation was formally dissolved by order of the New York State Supreme Court in a special session held in Poughkeepsie.

“As the church was not going to be rebuilt after the second fire, it was dissolved and possibly incorporated into another local congregation,” said Lisa Daley, member of the Rombout Rural Cemetery Association. “State law prohibits the sale of a cemetery by a non-profit entity for profit or for any reason other than the cemetery. Any transfer of ownership must be made and approved by the courts.

The proposed transfer of ownership to the new Rombout Rural Cemetery Association was drafted in September 1885 and the transaction was finalized with a document filed in Orange County three months later.

While the ruins of the church have been cleared from the land, the space it once occupied remains intact.

“We have no evidence that the earth has been officially decommissioned,” said Daley. “Frankly, even if we did, historically it made sense to leave the space open so people could see where the church was. If you look at the patch from the right angle, you can see where the building foundation lines are.

Although the church has disappeared, the cemetery continued as an active entity. Among the buried personalities are General Abraham Van Wyck, Dr William Annan, and Colonel and Mrs Jacob Griffin. The latter couple owned Griffin’s Tavern, the ruins of which today stand along Route 82, just east of All Angels Road. During the American Revolution, the tavern was an important meeting place for Patriot activity and was frequently visited by Washington, Lafayette, Putnam, and Steuben, as well as many soldiers from the Continental and French Army.

In recent years, the association of cemeteries was in danger of disappearing. Fishkill resident Arnold Restivo has started contacting family members of those buried at the Rombout rural cemetery to alert them to impending action. In response, the association was relaunched in November 2013.

Since that time, the association’s trustees have mapped the cemetery land and located the existing plots and sections that are currently available for sale. Along with local residents, association administrator Ethan Dickerman found the graves of veterans that represent the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Civil War, World War I and II, the Korean War and Vietnam War.

“Another notable person buried in the cemetery is John Haight, captain of the 7th Regiment during the Revolutionary War, and subsequently served as a judge in Putnam County,” Dickerman said.

The council oversees all plot transactions and information for burial can be obtained by calling 845-393-4793.

Dateline ”appears on Wednesday. To suggest a topic, email Anthony Musso at [email protected]

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Security camera shows latest vandal to damage Green Lawn cemetery – news – the Columbus Dispatch

Yellow warning tape flapped in the wind, crisscrossing the entrance to a mausoleum erected nearly 100 years ago.

It is the latest sign of vandalism at Green Lawn Cemetery, where more than 600 graves have been damaged over the past two years at a cost of over $ 1 million.

The latest incident happened on January 9 when a man entered through a broken fence and damaged a mausoleum and eight burial sites before grabbing a handful of American flags from the graves of veterans and lighting them. He threw the burning flags into a heap of brush – an act captured by a security camera – before leaving the cemetery.

“The fences are a lot like locks. They keep honest people out,” said Randy Rogers, administrator on the Cemetery Volunteer Council.

The cemetery houses the graves of five governors and five Medal of Honor recipients, including Civil War veteran Ovid Smith, whose headstone was damaged by vandals on August 14.

The 360-acre Green Lawn Cemetery was founded in 1848 and designed by a landscape architect to be a rural cemetery that would offer peace and quiet.

Many personalities are buried there, including Samuel Bush, a grandfather of President George HW Bush; comedian James Thurber; and Cromwell Dixon, a 19-year-old who was the first person to fly over the Continental Divide.

The damaged mausoleum is where Al G. Field was buried 96 years ago. He was known for his minstrel shows which toured 46 weeks a year in the Midwest and East Coast and an extended tour in the South, according to Dispatch records.

“Minstrel shows are a mixed part of our history. On the one hand, they have perpetuated a lot of racist stereotypes,” Rogers said. “On the other hand, they also introduced a certain black culture to white Americans when they had the black minstrel shows.”

Field’s shows were notable in that he also hosted a separate show with an all-black cast, Rogers said.

Field’s grave was disrupted a few weeks ago when a vandal attempted to smash the glass on the front doors. The doors had been replaced with safety glass after a previous incident. This time, a point had cracks around the point of impact.

At the back of the mausoleum, shards of stained glass in purple and blue hues remain around the frame of a window. Its replacement will cost around $ 3,500.

Cemetery staff could not reach any of Field’s descendants. There may not be. This has been a challenge for many damaged historic burial sites, leaving the cemetery association to find the money to pay for repairs.

“Everyone is saddened and heartbroken by this. Everyone is angry about it,” Rogers said.

The Columbus Landmarks Foundation held a walking tour of the damage on Sunday, with all proceeds going to restoration efforts.

Rogers later said more than 80 people attended and someone donated $ 3,500 to repair the stained glass.

Columbus State Community College created a course this semester that allows students to map damaged burial sites to aid cemetery employees.

A page for cemetery restoration was set up a few months ago, and nearly $ 6,000 was raised through this effort and Sunday’s walk.

Central Ohio Crime Stoppers, which offers the $ 1,000 reward, posted photos of the latest vandalism in hopes that someone will present a tip leading to an arrest.

“This is no trivial case of vandalism. It is repeating itself,” said Kristen McKinley, chairman of the board of Central Ohio Crime Stoppers.

Anyone with information can call 614-461-TIPS (8477), submit a tip online at or message CRIMES, or 274637, and use the keyword CMH.

The director of the dispatch library, Julie Fulton, contributed to this story.

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