Erieville Cemetery, Town of Nelson, Madison County, NY
Data derived from work of Mike Marris, with comparison to a 1915 list
1,506 names, several unmarked shale field stones
1806 - Present
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Because of the size of this cemetery, with 1,506 known burials, I have had to break these files into four equal-length sections:
Location and Description of the Cemetery
Cemetery lies in the "heart of Downtown Erieville" and is
said to have been the site of one of the original churches in the
community. It is today operated by a cemetery association which
for many years has taken great care to preserve its occupants and
provide a good home to newly deceased persons.
The oldest part of this cemetery is on the top of the westernmost knoll and on its south side. The stones are in rows 10 feet apart with about three feet allotted for each grave. The stones face west (road to the west) and they appear to be at the foot of the grave in the old part (the text faces away from the grave). Only a few unmarked field stones are found in the old part. The existing list for this cemetery was supposedly made about 1915 but there are a few entries for people who died after 1915 - it appears that the 1915 list was copied by Meyer et al. and they or someone else added names at a later time, or that the 1915 list was typed up at later
time with some additions. The cemetery was surveyed anew in 2001 by Mike Marris, and this listing is primarily based on his work.
For many years all that was available for this large cemetery was a list made about 1915 by an anonymous transcriber. It was an excellent list, but some errors had crept into it by the time it was typed up in the available form some time in the 1950s. A small number of later burials and genealogical information had also been
added to the old list, making it an imperfect snapshot of the cemetery's interments.
In 2001 this cemetery was carefully surveyed in its entirety by Mike Marris who has posted his work on his own web page:
Mike has kindly allowed me to combine and compare what was on the 1915 list to what he found in 2001, so I may use it in my larger Cemetery Project, and to post here. Not only did he record many later burials, but he also cleared up a number of errors from the old list. My heartfelt thanks to Mike for doing a daunting project that I just never was able to get around to before I moved away.
With that said, there are still plenty of errors in the list (or more correctly on the stones) and I found a number of dates and names that do not match with other dates such as obituaries and census records. Some day I hope to get to the cemetery and look at some of these troubles and see what the stones say for sure.
Observations from the data
Having a new reading of this cemetery, and having it in computerized format has allowed for some interesting analysis:
- A total of 1,506 names, or at least stones with data on individual people (some were broken with no names found), were noted by Mike Marris. This is nearly double the 834 or so that were on the 1915 list.
- There are 684 new names added by Mike, and the rate of interment is quite steady with an additional 60 or so people being buried there each decade.
- The ratio of males to females is opposite of what would be expected naturally (1:1.05, 715:748 [43 unknown]) (the 1880 Nelson Census has a natural ratio of 1:1.02, 815:836). The reason for this is not known although soldiers who died and were buried away from home may account for the difference.
- Sixty (60) Veterans are identified, but many more known soldiers are seen but not so marked on their stones.
- Month of death analysis is unusual in that there are no seasonal peaks as expected, but a generally steady rate throughout the calendar year (give or take 50), excepting a low (n = 32) in July and a high (n=67) of August deaths.
- Rate if interment by decade grew gradually throughout the 19th century, reaching a peak of 114 buried in the decade of 1890-1899. The rate gradually dropped until the 1950s and has since been holding steady, matching nicely the population trends of the Town of Nelson.
The low apparent death rate of the statistics for the first decades of the 19th century (Nelson's population peaked in 1830 with nearly twice what it is today, yet the number of interments is half what it should have been for a healthy population) reflect the use at that time of private burying grounds and attrition of older stones which are not now part of the data set. Town-wide analysis should cover such discrepancies.
- Five clusters of closely spaced deaths may indicate contagion in families (see my web page on the Dyer Family Deaths in New Woodstock and descriptions of some analysis of the New Woodstock Cemetery data)
(it is not clear if the individuals identified here were related or even in the same household, and it is nearly impossible to determine such patterns in neighborhoods where individuals have different surnames).
- 1840 = four members of the Richardson family (Hopy Brown, infant, Mary R. and Ostin) died between June and November (there are many Richardsons and this just might have been a bad year for them) (it is not clear if they lived in the same household).
- 1864 = three members of the Salisbury family (Cora, Erastus and Jennie) died.
- 1884= three members of the Carpenter family (Mary A. Matteson, Joseph and Margaret Griffiths) died between March and September.
- 1889 = three members of the Hamilton family (Samuel W., Mary J. and Marcia B.) died between April and August.
- 1890 = three members of the Burgess family (Cora, Harrison and Albert F.) died between January and April.