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South Onondaga

Town of Onondaga


History, Statistics, Names of Lot Owners, Rules, Regulations, Etc., by W. W. Newman,
Secretary from 1879 to 1895.

For the benefit of lot owners and all who have relatives buried therein; and also for those who
in future may purchase Lots or use the cemetery.

Church and Cemetery Trustees 1895.
WM. W. NEWMAN, Secretary                ARTHUR JUDSON.
J. WILSON PARKER.                       DANIEL PINCKNEY.
                        CORYDON L. WEST.





        March 26, 1830 Stephen Holmes and wire sold to Levi Ellis, Volney King and John C. Stanton
        (Trustees of the Onondaga South Hollow Religions Society) for $15.00, twelve rods on the
        highway and ten rods back, or 12 by 10 equal to 120 rods, or three-fourths of an acre
        "for a burying ground and no other purpose."
        The Hon. Abner Chapman left a map of this land which shows that it was divided into four
        tiers, each of 14 lots, running from the highway west, each lot being 8 by 41 feet with a
        center roadway 34 feet wide and alleys 5 feet wide, except that between every two joining
        rows of lots there was no separation. This roadway has been encroached on from 1 to 4 feet
        by monuments.
        As the custom was. and even now is, to bury all with heads to the west instead of towards
        the main alleys half of the headmarks were at the foot of graves and by the side of
        footmark in the adjoining lot.  If the owners of such lots or the trustees would now
        change these headmarks to the foot of the graves, then all the inscriptions could be read
        on each side of the 5 foot alleys.  Next to the highway a space or walk was left which was
        afterwards sold as lots 57, 58, 59, 60.  These 60 lots are all occupied, and the former or
        present owners are as follows.  Beginning at the north east corner, thence west next the
        north fence the owners were or are, lot 57, Leonard P. Fields; 1, Thomas Lawrence; 3,
        north part, John Bettys; south part, Horace Hitchings; 5, Nelson Eaton; 7, Demas Higgins;
        9, Cheney Amidon; 11, Harry Amidon; 13, John Moseley; 15, George W. Anderson; 17, Stephen
        Betts and Jesse Salmons; 19, T. Walkup; 21, Justin Parsons  28, Boyd Hueson, 25, Jared W.
        Parsons; 27, John Gwilt.
        Beginning at the highway, thence west on the north side of the driveway, the lot owners
        were or are, 58, Leonard P. Fields; 2, Stephen Holmes; 4, south 21 feet, John and Stephen
        Chiverton, north 20 feet, John R. Hitchings; 6, Merwin lot and Mrs. Henry C. Fellows; 8,
        John Wright; 10, Cheney Amidon; 12, Dr. Samuel Kingsley; 14, Orlando F. Fuller; 16. Dr.
        George T. Clark; 18, Sylvenus Merrick, who died in his 99th year; 20, Hiram Holmes, 22,
        Daniel Vinton; 24, Gideon Estes; 26, Andrew Pharis; 28. Benjamin Annable.  Beginning at
        the highway and south of the driveway, thence west, 59, Meville Bronson; 29, Gad M.
        Lawrence; 31, Henry Langworthy; 33 Hon. Abner Chapman, who left $500. in care of the
        M.E. Church as a perpetual fund, to use the interest in caring for the cemetery, which
        has been in part used twice to buy additions but will he replaced by sale of lots; 35,
        Stephen Griffin; 37, Deacon Levi Ellis; 39, Amasa Chapman; 41, Volney King; 43, Gideon Day;
        45, north half, Olmsted Quick. south half, Albert Ellis; 47, Olmsted Quick; 49, Alvin
        Bullard and J. W. Nichols; 51, John Evans; 53, Miles D. Spencer; 55, Joseph Abbey.
        Beginning at the southeast corner, next to highway and south of fence, thence west,
        lot 60, Marcus Bronson; 30, Ralph E. Lord; 32, Erastus West; 34, John B. Parker; 36,
        Benjamin Griffin; 38, Solomon Day; 40, Amasa Chapman; 42, Wm. Day and Samuel Ray; 44,
        Daniel Day; 46, Lucian Hyde and Charles M. Quick; 48, Albert W. Ellis; 50, Daniel Bradley;
        52, Benjamin Bakeman; 54, Joseph Haight; 56, Moses M. Dwelle. All these lots are cared for
        by the trustees the same as those on their own purchases.

        September 1, 1856. Orrin C. Knapp sold to Wilson Newman, Abel Amidon and Andrew Pharis,
        the Trustees of the Methodist Episcopal Society of South Onondaga for $90 one-half acre
        adjoining in the rear of the extinct Religious Society's first purchase, the same distance
        north and south and six rods and twelve feet west.  This society was properly incorporated
        when it was organized and recorded in the County Clerk's office, and therefore by laws of
        I813 is entitled to buy and hold cemetery lands and funds and bequests for the cemetery.
        This half acre was laid out in double or adjoining lots and 5 foot alleys as were the lots
        in the first purchase, except that the driveway was narrowed, and three tiers of lots,
        instead of two were made, each lot 8 by 30 feet, on each side of the driveway.  These 60
        lots were numbered, beginning at the east side of the purchase and south of the driveway
        1, 2, 3 to the south fence, thence north, 4, 5, 6 to the driveway and so on to the west
        side and driveway, No. 30.  The north side of driveway is laid out beginning at the east
        side and driveway with Stores Makyes' lot 31, then 32 and 33 to north fence and so on
        alternating back and forth to the southwest corner of this half on the north side of
        driveway ending in No, 60 in the double half lot of Henry Miller.  The owners were or
        are as follows; 1, Sidney Gilbert; 2, Charles Burgess; 3, Dr. Jonathan Kneeland; 4, George
        C. Nichols; 5, Charles Hodgkins; 6, Leonard Hodgkins; 7, Elias B. Bradley, 8, Nehemiah Olds:
        9, John Hitchings; 10, Oliver Nichols; 11, Stutely Wilcox; 12, Alpheus Pinckney; 13, John
        W. Newman; 14 A. Fayette Amidon; 15, Silas Olds; 16, Truman Fenner; 17, Lewis Amidon; 18,
        Wilson Newman; 19, Rev. Francis W. Hamilton; 20, J. Wilson Parker; 21, A. Freeman Amidon;
        22, Outerbridge H. Amidon; 23 P.V.C. Amidon; 24, Moses Fowler, Sr. and Maxwell T. Fowler;
        25, John Rich; 26 north 15 feet Henry Rich, south 15 feet Oliver Bakeman;  27, George Abbey;
        28, Joseph Underhill; 29, Waterman Fields Sr.; 30, David Abbey.
        Beginning north of driveway at the southeast corner the lot owners were or are, 31, Stores
        Makyes; 32, D. Hoyt Balch; 33, Francis Gwilt; 34, Thomas Nichols; 35, Abbott H. Fenner; 36,
        Stores Makyes; 37, Gilbert Pinckney; 38, Wm. and Jane Darling; 39, Ezra Bennett: 40,
        Lafayette Bronson; 41, Rev. B. L. North; 42, Thomas Harroun; 43, Abel and Margaret
        Sparks-Gay, from whose will the trustees received $275. in 1895 as a perpetual fund, the
        interest of which is to be used in caring for lots 43 and 57, and also 63 of the 1874
        purchase; 44, Elisha Cole; 45, Antrim Fenner; 46, Robert Aldridge; 47, Elisha Cole; 48,
        John Belden; 49, John Hildreth; 50, Murray B. Lester; 51, B. F. Hulbert; 52, B. F. Hulbert;
        53, Ebenezer Comstock; 54, Absalom Talbot; 55, south half, Henry Miller, north half, L. D.
        Eaton: 56, Edson Bennett; 57, south half, William Newman, north half Abigail Burgess; 58,
        Potters Field; 59, David Fulford; 60, north half, L. D. Eaton, south half Henry Miller.

        July 10, 1874, Edgar Lawrence and wife sold to Moses M. Dwelle, Leonard Hodgkins and B. F.
        Hulbert, trustees of the M. E. Church or society, one and one-twentieth acres of the same
        distance north and south, and west to the east line of Edward Belding's Farm for $250.
        This was laid out with a circle in the center for teams to turn around in funeral
        processions; and then into lots as far as possible, 8 by 30 feet, with 2 feet alleys on
        one side and 5 feet alleys on the other. The lots are numbered front  the northeast corner
        alternately south and north to the northwest corner of this purchase, making 122 lots.
        The numbers and owners as far as sold are given, and numbers only with a dash when the lot
        is unsold; 1 Stephen Gwilt: 2, Joseph French; 3, north half George W. Cole; south half,
        Julia Wells; 4, Gilbert Pinckney; 5, Waterman Field, Jr.  6, Frederick South; 7, south half,
        unsold: north half, Cyrus Webb; 8, W. S. Baker, 14 feet, B. F. Aldridge, 16 feet; 9, Wm.
        L. Fisk; 10, Leonard Annable 15 feet, Edwin Rodgers 15 feet; 11, Joseph Bennett; 12, ---;
        13, ---; 14, north half Azariah Hulett, south half Henry Wilson; 15, Abbott Fenner; 10,
        Polly Shand; 17, north half Mary Abbey, south half ---; 18, ---; 19, ---; 20, ---; 21,
        Emmet Fields; 22, south half, Wm. Houser, north half Abbott Wilcox; 23, ---; 24, ---; 25
        and front triangle, Wm. W. Newman; 26 and front triangle, Daniel Pinckney 27, ---; 28, ---;
        29, John Sharp; 30, Alexander Harroun; 31, Silas C Fields; 32, Samuel Kingsley; 33, Chas.
        Kane; 34, ---; 35, ---; 36, Wm. Budlong; 37, Oliver Nichols; 38, Martin W. Estes; 39 and
        40, Outerbridge H. Amidon; 41 and 42, Electa and Gilbert Pinckney; 43 and 44, Moses Fowler
        Jr.; 45, Frank Presley; 46, Wm. M. Nichols; 47, Mrs. Underwood; 48, ---; 49, Joseph W.
        Abbey; 50, Charles G. Lathrop; 51, George B. Quick, 52, Alanson West; 53 and 54, Stephen
        Anderson; 55, Lorenzo Day; 56, Geoge Day; 57 and 58, Benjamin F. Wilcox; 59, Nancy Norton;
        60, Dempster Browning; 61, Frank and Corydon R. West; 62, James Williams; 63, Phineas
        Sparks; 64, ---; 65, ---; 66, ---; 67, north half James Leamy, south half Winfield Webster;
        68, north half, Welcome Browning, south half, George Dillabough; 69, Wm. H. Palmeter; 70,
        ---; 71, ---; 72 Frank Patterson; 73, South half, George W. Ellis, north half, Rodger
        Slater; 74, south half, John Padbury, north half, ---; 75, Josiah Day: 76, ---; '77,
        reserved for a vault; 78. vault, 79, Frank Horton; 80, Joseph Orr; 81, south connecting
        road; 82, A. C. Steele and Lewis Pickitt; 83 and 84, reserved for south connecting road,
        85, 86 and 87, reserved for a vault; 8, ---; 89, ---; 90, ---; 91, ---; 92, Soldiers' lot
        changed to 93 for soldiers' lot; 94, ---; 95, Gideon Seely; 96, ---; 97, ---; 98, Vault;
        99, ---; 100, ---; 101, ---; 102, ---; 103, --- ; 104, Madison R. Claus; 105 to 116
        inclusive not sold; 117, individual graves; 118, ---; 119, ---; 120, ---; 121, and 122
        Potters Field.

        July 12, 1886 the trustees made a contract and July 10, 1891 completed said contract by
        purchasing of Elias B. Fenner and wife a duplicate of all these three purchases by paying
        for 2 2/5 acres adjoining on the south $300 an acre, or $720 in all, intending to lay it
        out when needed, very nearly on the same plan as the present cemetery, connecting the two
        circles by a road and having a second driveway to the highway, so that large funeral
        processions can enter one gate and leave by the other.  But opening the new part can be
        deferred till needed.  The records show that all these four paid for parcels now make four
        and seventy-hundreths acres, costing $1,075; and in all including 242 lots or if duplicated,
        484 lots.  Besides these paid for purchases the trustees have $275 of the Margaret Gay
        fund in a Syracuse Savings Bank, but the interest must be used on only three designated
        lots. Therefore for the mowing and caring for all the remaining 239 lots, fences, alleys
        and driveways the trustees have, according to the treasurer's report, January 7, 1895,
        only the interest of $321.47 in bank which at 4 percent, is merely $12.85.
        What is this annual, paltry sum for the care of so many lots, graves, alleys and fences?
        $100. the bank interest of $2,500 is needed every year. Therefore, unless owners will
        care for their own lots the cemetery must he sadly neglected.  Realizing this necessity,
        the trustees raised the price of lots, which are now only half as much as at Onondaga
        Valley, and to enable the unsold lots to be mowed more cheaply, have set on them about
        200 terra cotta corner posts level with the ground so they will be no obstruction in
        mowing.  They also unanimously recommended and insist upon this condition in the future
        sales of lots, that graves be not raised more than 4 to 6 inches, and recommend that
        they be level with the ground, so that a scythe or lawn mower can more easily cut the
        weeds and grass.

        From the bound volume of church and cemetery records from 1875 to 1895 a few extracts are
        made.  February 6, 1882., voted to increase the price of lots from 50 and 60 cents per
        linear foot to $1.00 and $l.20 per linear foot. $36. may seem a large sum to pay for the
        best 30 foot lots, but the lowest price at Onondaga Valley is 30 cents per square foot,
        or twice the price of our eight square feet which we call one linear foot.  Besides we
        were obliged to make prices that would return to the bank the funds that we had virtually
        borrowed for enlargements and to accumulate a fund for the care and improvement of the
        cemetery.  At the same date the trustees voted to limit the charges of the sexton, (who
        is sometimes never paid for this service), to $3.00 for a grave in summer and $4.00 when
        the ground is frozen in winter.  This too is less than the usual prepaid price.  In 1881
        the following rules and regulations were adopted, printed and distributed by the trustees.
        1.  Visitors are reminded that these grounds are sacredly devoted to the interment of the
        dead; and a strict observance of the decorum which should characterize the place will be
        required of all.
        2.  The lots will be sold as they are laid out and mapped, only for cash or satisfactory
        security of payment; and it is expressly reserved that no lot owners shall plant any trees,
        shrubs or vegetation that is liable to spread over or interfere with the alleys or other
        lots; and the trustees reserve the right to remove anything from said lot which they deem
        injurious or objectionable.
        3.  All lot owners and all persons are forbidden to leave, after burial, or at any time,
        longer than is absolutely necessary, on their lots or any part of the cemetery, any earth
        or object that will interfere with the neat and orderly appearance of the grounds.
        4.  Children and young persons shall not resort to the grounds for loitering or amusement,
        and all persons are forbidden to pick or carry away flowers either cultivated or wild, or
        pluck trees, shrubs or plants, not their own private property, or write on, deface or
        injure any monument or other article belonging to the cemetery.
        5.  Horses, unless in the immediate care of a competent attendant must be securely
        fastened to posts in the highway.
        6.  The provisions and penalties of the laws for the protection of cemeteries will be
        enforced in all provable cases of wanton injury or violation of these rules and regulations.
        Trustees and lot owners should know that statutes and court decisions give the general
        control of cemeteries to the trustees, -- that lot owners have the right of burial but not
        of removal, -- that lot owners have no right to change the grade of lots or walks, nor
        put anything on or take anything away from their lots if it is forbidden by the board of
        trustees, -- in brief that the control of cemeteries is in the hands of their officers
        and not of lot owners.
        In 1883 a cemetery building was erected at a cost of $71.65; and in 1884 the highway
        fence was made for $80.47.  Thus the M. E. Church trustees have paid for enlargements and
        improvements over $1,200.

        In Abner Chapman's will, more than 20 years ago, he directed to ''keep June Spreading
        Roses and yellow flowering mosses out of the grounds." The roses have been subdued.
        Myrtle or Periwinkle has been checked; but Money Vine and many other fancied set out
        plants are increasing.  Yet ''yellow flowering moss" or Cypress Spurge, Euphorbia
        Cyparissias most rapidly increases, and perhaps in time will overrun the whole cemetery.
        Cypress Spurge was brought from Europe, has root stocks like quack, and spreads from seeds
        and rapidly from roots.  Gray's Botany says "In a root a few inches long I have counted
        over 200 shoots.''  If a little earth is carried, perhaps to fill a sunken grave, that
        has a root of Spurge, it starts a nuisance in a new place.  The probabilities are that
        if a large part of the first two purchased parcels of land were immediately dug over
        several times a year and tons of salt were sown not near the trees killing all vegetation
        for two or three years, and the fence, under trees and highway patches killed also by
        frequent digging, it might at last be destroyed.  But what a sum that will cost! Will
        it ever be done? And yet all this damage began in some person's trying to express her
        love over a dearly remembered grave.  Sometimes, even now, a new injurious plant is set
        out to overrun and injure the cemetery, -- set out by affection, guided by ignorance.

        For about ten years the American Association of Cemetery Superintendents, representing
        the largest cemeteries in the United States has met annually.  In 1889 they appointed a
        committee which reported to the 1890 convention 22 rules for all cemeteries, which were
        adopted as recommendations. Among these are tine following:  --''No lots shall be filled
        above the established grade''; "corner stones must not project above the ground"; "mounds
        over graves must not be over four inches in height"; "no enclosure will be permitted;''
        "the lower the limit of headstones the better;" and "all foundations must be as low as
        the bottom of graves."  The reasons are every lot corner stone, every footstone. every
        raised grave interferes with the scythe or lawn mower.  Even the headmarks in some
        cemeteries must not be above the ground.  Who will aid our cemetery by removing their
        footstones and leveling their grave mounds or consent to let others do this for them?

        This annual tribute to the soldiers of 1861-5 is here enlarged so as to decorate the
        graves of soldiers in previous wars; and this annual holiday has helped many to venerate
        their ancestors and relatives who lived and died in peace.  In our cemetery in 1895, the
        South Onondaga Knapp Post put on the graves of the following soldiers of three wars a
        tribute of flowers.
        Revolutionary War. -- Major David Lawrence, Gideon Seely, Benony Reynolds, who lived
        longer than any other person buried here, -- dying in his 100th year.
        War of 1812-15. -- Samuel Amidon, Elias B. Bradley, Moses Fowler, Benjamin Griffin, Henry
        Langworthy, Abel Merrick, Rev. Eben L. North, Wilson Newman, John Reynolds. -- 9.
        War of the Rebellion, 1861-5. -- Charles Abbey, Milton J. Balch, Abram Claus, Alonzo
        Eaton, Gideon Fowler, Win. L. Fisk, James Fitch, Augustus Fulford, George Gwilt, Seth H.
        Kingsley, Theodore Moseley, Benjamin Mallett, Jonathan Miller, Charles Snyder, Myron
        Wilcox. --15.
        A few more years will add many more to the third honor roll of names. The trustees
        donated Lot 92 for a soldiers lot; but as the first soldier to use it was by mistake
        buried on lot 93, the vote was rescinded and lot 93 was given instead.  Can a monument
        large enough to inscribe every soldier's name in our cemetery ever be placed on the
        soldiers' lot?

        In June 1887, on Decoration Day a few persons united in forming an organization to assist
        the trustees in caring for the cemetery.  Some signed this pledge "I hereby agree to try
        to keep injurious weeds from my own cemetery lot."  Some of the same persons and some
        others subscribed $1.00 annually to the Cemetery Improvement Society.  But the society
        languished; and the balance of its fund, seven dollars, is hereby given towards the
        expense of this pamphlet, and in the hope that its publication will, in this or the
        coming generation revive this or some similar society.
        Reader, will you in the present and future care for the lot where you may hereafter be
        buried, and where the bodies of dear relatives are laid? Will you see that the corners of
        your lot are properly marked and that every grave on your lot has some record to show who
        is there buried? When convenient, will you examine cemeteries in other villages, see or
        inquire what these villages have done or propose to do; and what you approve, will you
        try to carry out on your own lot and in your own cemetery?  We have a dry soil and a fair
        location.  Our villagers, our surrounding farmers and many living away who have relatives
        buried here should he anxious to have the cemetery cared for in a reasonably modern way.
        Reader, what will you do to help on the good cause? In June, 1895, the writer was
        surprised to find in Oakwood only a small part of the lots and grounds had been mowed.
        The Supt., Burritt Chaffee, said Oakwood was not bound to care for any lots except when
        money was left with the association for that purpose, -- that they had not half enough
        to properly care for the grounds, -- that $16,000 were expended last year and $25,000
        were needed, -- that on account of expense the best modern cemeteries had but few
        obstructions, and approached well kept lawns as much as possible.  Amber recently leveled
        every grave mound and threw away every footstone, seeded the land, and can now run a good
        lawn mower over the whole small cemetery in one day.  Cardiff luring the past two years,
        has leveled graves, dug over and salted lots, and greatly improved its cemetery. These
        corporations can assess all lots and in certain contingencies resell lots at pubic auction.
        As we cannot assess or resell we need a large fund at interest.  We need the assistance
        of lot owners. We need as few obstructions as possible.
        You who live near the cemetery who have lots and buried relatives should yourselves care
        for your own lots or pay the sexton annually for this service.  As the funds increase,
        even if always safely invested, the graves, headmarks, monuments, corner stones, and
        probably the injurious plants will also increase, so that more money and care will be
        annually required.  If the lot is not fertile enough for a good lawn, fertilizers and
        new seeding should he worked into the surface soil.

        The following is a list of lots that have been buried on; but have no monuments,
        headmarks or name on the lot to show who is buried thereon. First purchase, 15, 19, 20,
        22. Second purchase, 1, 8, 10, 15, 16, 21, 22, 30-33,34, 35, 37, 40, 49, 50. Third
        purchase, 1, 5, 6,11, 15, 30, 33, 36, 43, 44, 49, 62, 74, 75, or in all 33 lots with no
        monument or headmarks and nearly all without corner lot posts.  Where these families are
        extinct would it not be wise for trustees to mark the graves, level the lots and set one
        or more non-spreading shrubs or trees? Judicious bits of park and lawn might add very
        much to the beauty of the grounds.

        Finally, lot owners, trustees and every one interested are requested to ask themselves
        these or similar questions.  Should I not mark the boundaries of my lot permanently with
        cut limestone, marble or granite posts, so that the exact location may be easily found?
        Should I postpone or neglect, perhaps never to be done, the needed headmark that may
        record who lies buried on my lot? If I am able to buy a monument, should I not give
        variety by securing something new either in plan, color or material? Have I any moral or
        legal right to plant on my lot anything that is liable to spread or injure the cemetery?
        Should I not try to keep my lot free from weeds and covered with a good, lawn turf? If a
        trustee, to a great extent legally and morally responsible for the cemetery, should I not
        try to see that our funds are collected and safely invested, that the most pressing needs
        of the cemetery, like our spreading weeds, be studied and the interest of funds received
        from wills and sales of lots be every year wisely expended?  Should not I visit or learn
        about other cemeteries and try, as far as our means will permit to make The South
        Onondaga Cemetery a credit, and not a shame or disgrace, to the past, present and future
        generations that loving relatives and friends have laid or will there lay at rest.
        This pamphlet has been compiled from the maps, records, etc., fearing that some of the
        facts may be lost if not multiplied by providing for lot owners this printed kind of
        deed or record of these lots, records and history; and also in the fond hope that some
        few in this or the next generation will he hereby informed and stimulated to carry
        forward the much needed works of improvement.

        1.  Can we not have an Onondaga County Cemetery Association, meeting annually or
        semi-annually in Syracuse or in villages where cemeteries can be examined and papers
        and addresses he heard?
        2.  Asa L. Merrick, Architect, of Syracuse proposes to give the trustees of our cemetery
        a sum the annual interest of which will be sufficient for the care of his grandfather's
        lot in our cemetery, as well as a larger sum for the care of the Merrick lot in Oakwood.
        Who else will follow this laudable example?
        3.  At least four cemeteries in the town of Onondaga are organized under recent laws,
        while our own and St. Agnes are in care of church corporations.  What are the advantages
        and disadvantages of each form of control?
        4.  Please save this pamphlet for future use for yourself and family.

Submitted 3 April 2000