Cazenovia Village Cemetery
Cazenovia ViHage Cemetery
No list, no stones, 1790s - 1814
All likely candidates for individuals once having been buried here are now
to be found in Evergreen Cemetery, several less likely from South Cemetery
are also noted.
Location of the Cazenovia Village Cemetery
On May 3, 1808, three years after construction began on the Presbyterian Church, John Lincklaen
sold the lot on which it stood to the Church Trustees (Deed A:542). The church building originally
stood at the head of Hurd Street and the front was 6 feet from the north line of what is now Emory
Ave. (Deed H:194). The lot surrounding the church was 370 feet along the street and 305 feet
deep, the west line being almost to the eastern side of the High School building, the north line being
along the front of the main wings of the Middle School building, and the boundary between 7 and
9 Emory Ave. forms the east line. There may be some error in these distances as later deeds which
describe pieces of this parcel were only 250 feet deep, the difference being about fifty feet which is
the measure of the cemetery. The deed that transfers the church parcel into private hands, and
would perhaps confirm any error, is not on file at the Madison County Clerk's Office.
It is thought that two cemeteries were laid out in the northwest and
northeast corners but that only the northeast plot had been used (I cannot
find the source for this).The 1808 deed reserves a 50 x 50 foot lot at the
northwest corner as a cemetery, so the tradition seems also to be in error.
Should there be any error in the church lot description then the placement
of the cemetery would be different. The description of the cemetery's
location in the deed leaves for some interpretation. The deed states:
... excepting and running east of the aforesaid described piece of
land in the north west corner a piece of Ground three rods (49.5
feet) square which the said parties of the first part part (sic)
reserve for a Burying place for themselves and their heirs forever
This indicates the cemetery to be either in the northwest corner or just
outside of the northwest corner - the first possibility is more likely. It
may also be that the designation of the northwest corner being in error,
the cemetery actually being at the northeast corner, in which case the
tradition is correct, and some of the later deed data will also fit well -
even if the cemetery is running east of the church lot.
Based on what the unclear evidence tells us there are eight different
possible locations for the cemetery, in two clusters at the northeast and
northwest corners of the church lot. All but three of which are on school
property, and thus probably destroyed, or at least unstudyable. The three
off of school property should be intact - if that is where it is.
Those locations at the northwest corner would be under the school at
the eastern entrance of the old High School where it meets the Middle
School. The other locations, three of which are not on school property, are
in the vicinity of the southeast corner of the school property at the
southeast corner of the main wing of the Middle School. Excavation during
building of the school in the 1950s would have destroyed most evidence of
the cemetery (grave shafts) nearest the school; under the site of the house
(formerly the carriage house for the Emory house) at 9 Emory Ave.; at the
end of the property for 43 Sullivan Street where the yard bounds on the
school property; and lastly, in the same situation for 45 Sullivan Street. It
is presently impossible to determine which of the eight possible locations is
the correct location. Hopefully it is not on the school property where all
evidence of it has surely been destroyed.
Abandonment of the Cazenovia Village Cemetery, 1814
When John Lincklaen (as a representative of the Holland Land Company)
sold the church lot to the Church Trustees in 1808 the cemetery or
"Burying place" was reserved in wording that reserved it for himself
rather than the church or community: "... which the said parties of the
first part (Lincklaen) reserve for a Burying place for themselves and their
heirs forever ..." Why this wording was used is not known.
This place may have been used as a cemetery for some time previous to
1808. The oldest burial in Evergreen Cemetery (to which the bodies were
moved in 1814) is dated 1799, and construction of the Presbyterian Church
was begun on the lot in the spring of 1805.
That it was not long used is clear, and the reason for its being
abandoned and the bodies being removed is described by several sources,
the most complete of which is Jabez Abell (Gazenovia Republican, January
In the village the place set apart for such purposes, "in the
rear of the meeting house" was found to be highly objectional as in
some seasons of the year, they would have to bail the water out of
the grave before the corpse could be lowered into it. This act
made it exceedingly desirable with many to find a more suitable
place to deposit the remains of their friends.
Very few felt they would be willing themselves, to be thrust into
the mud and water as it had been necessary to do so often.
In removing the corpse of a woman who had not been buried
long, she was found to be lying with her face down.
Some thought she might have been buried alive but as there was
no evidence of a struggle, she must have been turned by the water,
for where there is room a corpse will always be found with its face
down, in the water.
As the cemetery was located north, and uphill, from the center of the
village the cemetery was thought to have been tainting the water supply of
the inhabitants, All of this is plausible as the soils in the vicinity of the
cemetery are very clayey (glacial till deposits) and are not deep, with
bedrock (Hamilton Group shales) less than ten feet below the surface.
All of this was occurring not long after it was first used. In the June
10, 1811 issue of The Pilot Otis Ormsbee advertised that:
The relatives and friends of those who are interred in the Old
Burying Ground, to the east of The Presbyterian Church, in the
village of Cazenovia, are notified that he now owns the premises,
and is about to occupy the same. He requests therefore, that the
remains of those deposited on his land, be removed previous to the
1st day of September next.
A search of the property records did not find Ormsbee's purchase record
for the cemetery lot. Record could be found of two lots in the vicinity.
He owned what appears to be a lot which is located immediately to the
northwest of the church lot (now the site of the school's cafeteria and
Buckley gymnasium) which he had purchased of Elisha Farnham on January
19, 1808 (Deed D:395), and sold to John Lincklaen on May 23, 1811 (Deed
F:26). None of the eight possible cemetery sites is upon this lot. Record
of Ormsbee selling a second parcel immediately east of the church lot was
found (he had purchased it from John Lincklaen, but no record of this
transaction was found). Ormsbee sold the lot to Walter Colton on May 4,
1813 (Deed H:194). It was bounded east by Sullivan Street) south by
present Emory Ave., west by the church lot, and north by Daniel Day's lot
(43 and 45 Sullivan Street), but did not include the cemetery lot unless it
was no longer part of the church lot (unlikeW). If the cemetery was off
from the east side of the northeast corner of the church lot and if the
church lot was only 250 feet deep, then the cemetery would have been
located in the corner of this lot.
From the Village meeting minutes of March 18, 1814 (VM:36) we find the
On reading the representation + complaint of sundry inhabitants
of this Viflage stating that the burying ground near the Meeting
House in this Village has become a public nuisance insomuch that
the inconvenience of people attending church has become great +
growing, + the health of the Village endangered.
Ordered that after the 20th inst. no person be interred in the
burying ground near the Meeting House in this Village.
In about three weeks a new cemetery site was found and purchased by the
Village Trustees. It is believed that all the burials in the old cemetery
were removed to the new cemetery, called Evergreen Cemetery.
Post-Cemetery use of the Church Lot
Whatever the circumstances of Ormsbee's purchases and sales, his plans
to occupy the cemetery were never carried out, for reasons unknown, and
the cemetery continued to be used until Evergreen Cemetery was opened in
1814. Although the burials were moved to the new site the Presbyterian
Church stood here for a few more years until it was moved to its present
site in 1828. The church lot then reverted back to John Lincklaen's
successor (Jonathan D. Ledyard) as the lot was originally sold
... upon this express condition and reservation that the premises
hereby intended to be conveyed shall be reserved by the parties of
the second part (Church Trustees) and successors for a church
yard and burying ground and the building or church thereon
erected shall be used and appropriated for the sole and only
purpose of worshipping God agreeably to the Dutch reformed
Presbyterian or congregational four (?) and shall not be
appropriated or used for any other purpose whatsoever ...
Ledyard sold the church lot some time before 1832 to Perry G. Childs and
Charles Stebbins as on September 15 of that year, Stebbins sold a larger
parcel to Childs that included "... part of the old Meeting house lot
conveyed to said Childs + Stebbins by J.D.Ledyard ..." (Deed AZ:209). The
part of the church lot conveyed to Childs was the westernmost portion
being 100 feet in front on the green.
In 1836 Stebbins was noted as the owner of the lot "formerly Occupied
by the Trustees of the First Presbyteria congregatio" The 1835 Enos
Cushing map of the vfllage shows the lots in the same configuration as that
shown on Henry Hart's 1852 village map when Sidney Te Fairchfld (heir or
Perry G. Childs) owned the 100 foot wide piece mentioned, and Charles
Stebbins owned the remainder (both owned much adjoining land). In 1884
John Stebbins, heir of Charles Stebbins, sold the central 150 feet of the
old church property (but only 250 feet deep - about 50 feet less than the
church t) to Percy McCarthy Emory (Deed 161:217) who built his house on
this site in that year. In 1889 he purchased the easterly 100 feet of the
church lot, being the present property at a Emory Ave,, again not
including the back 50 feet where the cemetery may have been located (Deed
176:86). The central portion of the former church lot, 150 feet wide and
250 feet deep was eventually sold by the Emory famfly to "Central School
District #1 of Caenovia, Fenner, and Nelson" in 1948 (Deed 406:260). The
Emory family sold 9 Emory Ave., the carriage house from their estate, to
John R. and Catherine R. Voght in 1958 (Deed 552:497). This property is
now owned by Douglas R. Keefe (tax lot 094.43.1.26, Deed 940:69). I have
not found how the school acquired the west part of the church lot
(Fairchild property) or the possible cemetery location which was not part
of the Emory purchases noted above.
Possible Burials Removed from the Cazenovia Village Cemetery
There are a number of interments in Evergreen cemetery which date
from before its opening and it is believed that these are bodies removed
from the old Village Cemetery. There are probably no burials left in the
old cemetery, all the bodies supposedly having been removed to Evergreen
Cemetery when that cemetery opened on April 9, 1814. 24 names have been
identified as possible individuals whose remains were exhumed from the old
cemetery and reinterred in the new. As it appears that all of these
individuals had relatives still in Cazenovia, it is possible that there were
persons who had no one to claim the bodies from the old cemetery. If so
they either were moved to Potters Field of Evergreen, or they were left in
the old cemetery. The latter is more likely, due to the health concerns of
The sale of lots in the new cemetery began on April 9, 1814. The
following, as found in the Evergreen Cemetery Record of Interment book,
are known to have died before that date:
Bryan, Dorcas, died January 20, 1813, age 52 years, (#188, J-57).
Burnell, Charlotte, died March 11, 1814, age 4 years, (#374, J-96).
Burnell, Eliza Ann, died November 8, 1813, age 2 years, (#373, J-96).
Burnell, Mary K., died June 5, 1808, age 9 months, (#372, J-96).
Coman, Ziba, died December 1, 1807, age 34 years, (#1424, H-389).
Fay, Rebecca, died August 20, 1812, age 35 years, (#360, J-92).
Forman, Jonathan, died May 25, 1809, age 54 years, (#75, J-27).
Forman, Mary Ledyard, died May 31, 1806, age 47 years, (#76, J-27),
Hearsey, Amanda, died July 10, 1813, age 18 years, (#109, J-37).
Hearsey, James, died March 18, 1814, age 14 years, (#108, J-37).
Date: Saturday, October 17, 1998 08:13 PM