New Woodstock Cemetery, Town of Cazenovia, Madison County, NY

compiled by
the late Daniel H. Weiskotten

compiled from the Sexton's Records,
files of Lorenzo State Historic Site,
Newspaper Obituaries,
Town of Cazenovia Death Certificates,
Church records, and
family histories and descendants.

posted 11/17/2001
last updated 5/30/2002

The Cemetery is located next to the New Woodstock Baptist Church
in the Hamlet of New Woodstock, in the southern portion of the Town of Cazenovia.

Because of the size of this cemetery, with 1,642 known burials, I have had to break these files into four equal-length sections:
A-D   E-K   L-Q   R-Z


NOTE ABOUT THIS LIST:  There are 1,642 names in this listing.  There are definitely many more buried in this cemetery but for which no record has been found or created, such as the Dryer Family and persons buried after 1959.  The primary source for this list is the 1959 transcript of the Sexton's Records, containing 1,566 names, compiled by Leon Peters.  The Lorenzo List draws heavily from the Sexton's List but it only contains 684 names, of which 63 are unique to the Lorenzo List and are not found on the Sexton's List.  My research has found 13 others who are buried here according to their death certificates, and one whose obituary gives this cemetery as the place of interment.  Also, there must be many recent burials that are not given here as only 11 of the people on the the Lorenzo List died after 1959 when the Sexton's List was made and the cemetery is still very active.  There is no year of death given for 32 others who have stones but may not be buried here and at least one is mentioned as having been buried elsewhere.

The basis for this compiled listing is the 1959 transcript of the Sexton's Records by Clyde B. Wood and copied by Leon Peters in 1959.  This is an excellent source, but is now nearly over 40 years old.  A second list has been compiled by the staff at Lorenzo State Historic Site and this was kindly sent to me by Russ Grills the former Site Manager.  In order to mitigate the differing data in these lists I also consulted the Town of Cazenovia Death Certificates (1884-1917) obituaries and death notices in local newspapers as compiled by Roberta Hendrix (1808-1850), and local church and family records.  Some material from various sources has been kindly shared by descendants.  (If you know of any additional or correct information please let the caretaker know!!!)

In comparing these two lists it was seen that there were many differences and a few additions.  The biggest difference was between the dates given on the Sexton's List and what I found in other sources.  Sources such as Death Certificates, obituaries, and church and family records often differed by several days and it became clear that the Sexton's List gives dates of when the body was received or buried and not the actual date of death.  That problem has necessitated making massive notation of the source so that researchers will be aware of the problems in the list.  I have not examined the stones or the Sexton's Records myself, so I cannot assure accuracy on any of these entries, except that it is as true as possible to the sources that I used and noted.


I know little of the history of this large cemetery except that although the apparent date of founding is 1814, there are several burials of people who died in 1808.  Several cemeteries in the area were founded in 1814 (Evergreen, South, Union, Delphi Falls) but they all have earlier burials which appear to have been brought in at a later time from other burial grounds or which were individual burials in a family plot made before the cemetery was formed as a community burying ground.

The earliest dated burial in the New Woodstock Cemetery is that of 36 year old Samuel Cotes, who died in January 1808, age 36**.  Four others also died in 1808, so the beginning of the cemetery data is quite distinct, and this cluster of deaths, perhaps from a sickness, may have been the impetus for starting the cemetery.
** The list from Lorenzo indicates that Adelaide Morse died January 1, 1808, age 6 years.  She was the daughter of Isaac Morse who lived next door to Samuel Cotes (1800 Census).

This data will need revision based on the new combined listing

One of the main goals of my work in compiling cemetery records has been to study the demographics of the communities in and around Cazenovia.  The New Woodstock Cemetery presents a well preserved and broad sample of mortality data that extends through nearly 200 years of the community's history.

The data, summarized only very briefly below, shows that the people buried in this cemetery are probably a very intact representation of the actual demographics of the surrounding population.  At LEAST they represent a good statistical sample of the mortality of the community, with the very slight difference in the numbers of males and females and all ages being insignificantly.  Aparently the persons buried in New Woodstock were equally subject to the foibles that befall cemetery data (no stones, no written record, removals, ...)

Sex Ratios:
There are 1572 people on this list (up to 1959).  The sex could be determined for 1550 of these people, of which 751 are males and 799 are females (22 undetermined).  These numbers show that the ratio of Males to Female, 48.45% to 51.55%, is just the opposite of the natural birth ratio which has always slightly favored male births (recently it was 51.45% to 48.54%).  Analysis by decade shows that this ratio remained fairly steady throughout the history of the cemetery, with only 5 out of 16 decade ranges having a higher count of males than females, and by only a few individuals each time (1800s = 6:1, 1860s = 71:67, 1870s = 61:56, 1920s = 66:61, and 1950s = 47:42).  In the decade of the 1940s the numbers were equal (54:54).  The large difference in males to females in the decade of 1800 might be attributed to the paucity of data available, but also perhaps to the fact that at that time many of the settlers in this new region (settled 1793) were healthy young adult males.

Age at Death and Life Expectancy:
I have not yet created proper demographic Life Tables to study this data but have compared the ages at death of people in each decade.  The results are remarkable in showing the increase in life expectancy through time as well as the sustained quality of the data over time.  There was little difference between the life expectancies of males and females, although males tended to have higher ages before 1870 and women tended to have higher ages after 1870 (1820 being the exception for males, and 1890, 1900 and 1930 being the exceptions for females).  The decade of 1860 saw the early death of many men in the Civil War, and the corresponding drop in the average age at death in that decade is noticable, the soldiers, numbering at least 15, accounted for over 10% of the deaths in that decade.

ChartObject Life Expectancy, New Woodstock Cemetery, 1808-1959

Disease and Contagion:
One of the things that I hope to be able to determine in this larger study is the health of the general population and how it changed through time.  While we tend to think of disease as taking people in close succession, it is clear that this is not the case with this population, and many families suffered several losses over a period of months or a year and not in the matter of days.

I have found several cases where families suffered a number of deaths in a short period of time and which might be attributable to communicable disease for which te early settlers had no defense or cure.  The Dryer family deaths in the fall of 1842 are particularly noteworthy, having been described by a local historian, but, although the family lived near the cemetery and are probably buried there, their burial place is not know.

A unique cluster of deaths is seen in the dates of the oldest burials here.  Between January and March 1808 five people died and form an unusual cluster of dates that was clearly not part of the usual mortality pattern.  Two of the people who died where 36 year old Samuel Cotes and his 6 year old adopted son, Liberty J. Talman Cotes.  The first of this cluster to die was the Cotes' immediate neighbor, Adelaide Morse, age 6, and in February and March two other nearby neighbors, John Leet, age 25 and Ruby Underwood, age 23 also died.  No mention of this community loss has been found in histories or family records.

Other lesser incidents of clustered death are scattered across the decades, with several families being struck by losses in the 1860s and indicating periods of general ill health among the community.  These include the two Brown children who died a few days apart in mid 1862, four Churchward children who died within a month in late 1862, four Clarks who died between mid 1862 and early 1863.  There are other examples of families suffering several losses, such as the three Clarks who died within two months in 1834.  the difficulties of childbirth are also very noticible with several instances of women dying at the same time as their infant or shortly thereafter, and the common event of men having multiple wives who died at young ages.  Several cases of elderly people or couples dying at or near the same date were also seen while typing the list.  I have done very little analysis on this venue and others cases will surely be disclosed in the more detailed analysis that will be done.

1918 Influenza
I have done a simple count of the number of deaths in each year for a few years before and after to see if the 1918 influenza was evident in the cemetery population.  While I should expand the years to give a fuller picture of the pattern, and I should also take a look at the Death Certificates on file with the Town of Cazenovia, as well as local newspaper accounts and obituaries for a more complete picture, it is clear that there is some evidence that 1918 had more deaths than usual.

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