Randall: The Rural Graveyard Movement, in Weedsport and Beyond | Lifestyles



I imagine some people have wondered why they would ever name Weedsport Rural Cemetery as “rural”.

Why not “Gates of Heaven” or “Evergreen Hill”, or such an eloquent name? The answer is that Weedsport was part of a movement started in 1831 in Massachusetts, in an area between Watertown and Cambridge. There it was decided to build a new cemetery, the Rural Mount Auburn Cemetery, which would be located on hilly terrain, breaking away from the traditional cemetery and colonial era cemeteries where it was important to bring so many people. in the ground in the limited available space. It was felt that a cemetery should be beautiful and park-like – in fact, the word “cemetery” is derived from the Greek to mean “a place to sleep”, rather than a cemetery. The 174-acre Mount Auburn Rural Cemetery is significant because it started a rural cemetery movement across the country.

The rural-type cemetery was intended to convey a park-like atmosphere to those buried there and to visitors. Other cemeteries would soon follow, including Oakwood in Syracuse, Mount Hope in Rochester and Albany Rural, as well as Weedsport Rural in 1860. At Weedsport, “God’s Acre” on South Seneca Street was near full capacity, with no possibility of expansion. , and it was obvious that the growing community had to find a new site. A committee was formed of several city movers and agitators, including WJ Donovan, MC Remington, CC Adams, OW Burritt, CC Caywood and SW Treat. At a subsequent meeting attended by many interested townspeople, the bylaws were drafted under the name of the Weedsport Rural Cemetery Association, as they had decided to follow the lead of Mount Auburn and others. In due course, a board of directors was appointed and on July 2, 1860, it was decided to purchase the original 8.75 acres for $ 787.50. In 1880 it was necessary to purchase much more land, as the original areas had been largely used by the “silent tenants of death” from nearby towns and villages eager to be buried in the beautiful surroundings. Park-like in Weedsport Rural, which was now planted with pines (which are now huge).



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