From Stephentown Genealogy: Roots & More
Written by Tina Ordone
There are many burying grounds in and around Stephentown. Some are found in backyards, some are found right alongside the road. When you see one of these old burying grounds, it makes you think back to what that place must have looked like many decades ago, when a person was buried on his own property. Some of these cemeteries are in relatively good shape, considering how old they are and others are in terrible condition, with the stones broken and many times, they can't be read. That is particularly sad, because that stone is the last marker in a person's life - recognition that they existed and were remembered by those who loved them. In many of these burying grounds, people have long since stopped bringing flowers or even visiting, but for the occasional genealogist.
There are several cemeteries still in use, such as Garfield, Stephentown Baptist, St. Joseph's, Hillside, and East Nassau, but there are many more scattered throughout the town, which have been abandoned for many reasons.
In 1976, the Stephentown Historical Society began to record the information on all the gravestones in town. Unfortunately some were already unreadable. Since then a 1903 report on the Stephentown Cemetery (aka Baptist Cemetery) has become available for the New England Historic Genealogical Society. This recording provided much information unavailable in the 1976 study. The Stephentown Historical Society has worked on making rubbings on Pellon of all the old slate and marble gravestones in town to preserve their records against the depredations of acid rain and pollution.
The tombstone gives the name and dates of birth and death, with an occasional epitaph. The Historical Society has recorded all of this informaiton (including the cemetery name) on 3 x 5 cards. They have named this cross-referenced file LIVING GRAVESTONES. In additional to the above information, all available records from schools, Justices of the Peace, assessors, censuses, morticians, deeds, indentures, legal papers, letters and photographs have been recorded on over 28,000 cards, creating a tribute to and a record of our past residents and making this evergrowing record LIVING GRAVESTONES.
(from "Epitaphs in the Only Stephentown on Earth" by Elizabeth W. McClave.)
I have had the privilege of spending time in the Heritage Center and looking up my ancestors in this collection of cards. It is an impressive collection and represents a massive effort on the part of volunteers to make sure that the heritage of the town and the legacy of its past residents, is preserved. I feel very sure that the genealogy and history of Stephentown will not be lost, thanks to the vast efforts of a few very dedicated people in the Stephentown Historical Society and their volunteers at the Stephentown Heritage Center.
The History of Rensselaer County by Nathaniel Bartlett Sylvester (1880) has a chapter devoted to the town of Stephentown. In that chapter, Mr. Sylvester tell us
The old Baptist cemetery, on the hill back of Stephentown village, is one of the oldest in the town and contains the remains of many of the first settlers of the town. It was probably laid out about the time of the formation of the church or in 1795 or 1796. Among the stones still standing in the yard are those of Rufus Sweet, died April 11, 1850, aged eighty-four; Rev. Matthew Jones, died April 18, 1855, aged seventy-five years; Elnathan Sweet, died Sept. 25, 1819, in his seventy-third year; Benjamin Douglas, died August 18, 1842, aged forty-six years; Dr. Joshua Griggs, died Jan. 6, 1813, aged forty-three years; Deacon Azrikam Pierce, died Jan. 27, 1803, in the eightieth year of his age; Caleb Saunders, died June 16, 1825, in his seventy-fifth year; Ezekiel Sheldon, died March 1, 1811; Maj. Daniel Brown, died Oct. 24, 1837, aged eighty-four years.
The yard also contains many interesting inscriptions. Some of these can be found on the page dedicated to the Stephentown Center Baptist Cemetery.
Denison burying ground
The Denison burying ground, at North Stephentown, is a spot of some interest. The following inscriptions are taken from some of its stones:
- 'In memory of Capt. James Denison, who died Dec. the 24th, 1778, in the 32nd year of his age.'
- 'Major James Jones, died July 26, 1803, in his 50th year'
- 'In memory of Capt. Stephen Arnold, who departed this life February 24th, 1810, in the 71st year of his age.'
- 'Beriah Arnold, who died Sept. the 29th, 1802, in the 39th year of his age.
- 'Let not the dead forgotten lie, Lest living me forget to die.'
Besides these cemeteries there are a number of others in the town, many of which are owned by individual families. The cemetery at West Stephentown is very ancient, and contains the remains of many of the earliest settlers of that locality in the towns of Nassau and Stephentown."
|Name of Cemetery||Years in Use||Known Graves|
|2. Arnold Babcock||1803-1870||9|
|8. Boardman #1||1770-1810||5|
|9. Boardman #2||1795-1864||13|
|10. Brainard, Brainard #2||1813-1860||7|
|12. Brockway, Brown||1817-1867||5|
|15. Calvin Cole||No Dates||50|
|18. East Nassau||1841-present||770|
|23. Greenman Hill 1793-1892 34|
|24. Greenman 1801-1813 10|
|25. Gardner, upper, Gardner, lower (see #64), Gardner, slave (see #62), Goodrich (see #68)||1789-1813||4|
|27. Harris #1||1790-1837||5|
|28. Harris #2||1763-1846||2|
|31. Huntington #1||1832-1897||7|
|32. Huntington #2||1840-1893||24|
|33. James Johnson||1795-1845||3|
|34. Kittle Knobloch Launt||1803-1920||75|
|36. Moon Orphan Gravestone||1806-1830||5|
|39. Rogers #1, Rogers #2||1785-1864||10|
|40. Root 1795-1923||39|
|41. Rose #1, Rose #2||1787-1838||10|
|42. Sacred Heart||1882-1923||6|
|43. St. Joseph's||1896-present||245|
|45. Shaw #1, Shaw #2||1783-1826||20|
|47. Stephentown aka Baptist Cemetery||1787-present||683|
|48. Stephentown Center Baptist||1806-1886||74|
|49. Strait 1816-1940||36|
|50. Tayer #1||1858-1858||1|
|51. Tayer #2||1847-1882||25|
|53. Tinley, Weatherby (see #66), Webster (see #60)||1847-1887||9|
|58. Rogers #2||1791-1791||2|
|59. Knobloch||No markers||3|
|61. Reynolds Slave||No Dates||6|
|62. Gardner Slave||No markers||5|
|63. Launt||No markers||5|
|64. Gardner, lower||No markers||4|
|65. Little Jack||1926-1926||1|
|66. Weatherby No Dates||2|
|68. Goodrich||No markers||5|
|69. Johnson||No markers||1|
|70. Harrington #2||No markers||3|
|71. Sutherland||No markers||3|
|72. Taplin Pond||No markers||2|
|73. Sprague||No markers||2|
|74. Shaw #2||No markers||6|
|75. Brainard #2||No markers||2 graves were relocated to Hillside Cemetery|
|76. Rose #3||No markers||6?|
|77. Williams Road||?||2|
|78. Rose #2||No markers||10?|