WEBSTER, NY (WROC) — George Baker with Union Webster Cemetery on the corner of Woodhull Road, says the graves here date back to at least the 18th century.
“We have Revolutionary War veterans here, we have Civil War veterans, all the wars that have been in this county,” Baker says, adding, “These stones are 200 years old and deteriorating rapidly, we going to lose them.”
Genealogist Cherie Wood with the Daughters of the American Revolutionsays that every plot here is a story, their preservation – especially the Revolutionary War-era sites – is essential for the future.
“It’s not just stones…it’s people who just…founded our city,” Wood explains.
The effort is now underway to preserve at least four of them with permanent bronze markers. They hope to get donations. But the work does not stop there. Recently, sites have been found by the dozens – people they say helped settle Webster, then known as “North Field”.
Scattered orange poles and patches of sunken dirt mark the spots. Based on the burial positionings, Baker says some of the resting places could even be Native American (Christian burials generally face east-west… some of the other graves in question face north, leading Baker to speculate that they may be of Aboriginal origin).
“We have people buried here that we don’t even know…we used ground penetrating radar to help us locate (them),” says Baker. Ground radar was provided by ‘On-brand localization‘, with operator Wayne Coleman donating his time to the cemetery.
While it’s difficult to identify these people, Baker says it’s important to know where they rest. The plan is to eventually get markers for these places, marked “Known to God”.
“It’s about preserving history because if we don’t, who is going to?” said Baker.
When it comes to preserving the four Revolutionary War-era graves, the cemetery is looking for donations. If you would like to know how you can help, Baker would be honored to speak with you.
You can call the cemetery at 585-265-2890.
The cemetery is also planning a July 30 reenactment co-hosted by the Daughters of the American Revolution and local veterans organizations.
(Fun fact: you may have noticed that we mentioned that the cemetery is off Woodhull Road. Buried at the cemetery is a cousin of Abraham Woodhull. Woodhull was a member of the famous “Culper Spy Ring” which provided intelligence directly to General George Washington during the Revolutionary War. As Baker told us, at the time, if one family member was part of a spy ring, the whole family was “in”.