Student To Tackle Cemetery Clean-Up
Jamestown Post-Journal



Westfield Central School student Christopher Kittle examines a headstone located in a neglected cemetery on Lyons Road. Many Revolutionary War veterans are said to be buried there. Kittle has asked town officials for permission to clean up the historical graveyard.
P-J photo by Jennifer S. Randall


By PAT HOLCOMBE

WESTFIELD — A 16-year-old high school student from Westfield has decided to take on a project to help his community and show respect for the past.
Christopher Kittle asked Town Board officials on Wednesday to approve his request to clean up a cemetery where veterans from the Revolutionary War are said to be buried.
The cemetery is located on Lyons Road and has been neglected for more than 30 years.
‘‘As a Westfield native, I am interested in our local history,’’ Christopher told the board. ‘‘This small cemetery is part of our heritage. I would like to remove the overgrown vegetation, weeds and grass.’’
‘‘I think that is a wonderful idea,’’ said Pat Newell, a member of the audience for the board meeting. ‘‘My mother used to clean up that cemetery with other members of the DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) more than 30 years ago. I don’t think anyone has been up there since then. This is a very worthwhile project.’’
Town Supervisor Harry Ward said he was so impressed by the boy’s offer that he would volunteer his own time to help load the brush and clippings and would ask that the town’s highway department provide a truck to haul the debris away.
‘‘I think we should spray the area before the boy gets up there also. It’s loaded with poison ivy,’’ he said.
Christopher said he got the idea because his family owns property near the cemetery and he had noticed how neglected the small cemetery was.
‘‘The cemetery is up on a hill and it would really look nice if it was all cleaned up. I just don’t like it looking desecrated like that,’’ he said.
Christopher said his dad, Gerald Kittle, a dispatcher with the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Department, has offered to help with the cleanup. His mother, Barbara. a librarian at the college in Fredonia, has offered to research and compile the data that will be discovered about the individuals buried there. No reference information exists, she said, on the little cemetery on the hill.
The Kittle family said they believe there are about 50 graves to be uncovered. Many of those buried on the site are probably related to each other.
The family plans to mark down the names and do as much research as they can.
‘‘I don’t even know what the name of the cemetery is,’’ Christopher said. ‘‘I just like the idea of showing them some respect.’’