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Stephentown Genealogy: Research

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Friday, August 18, 2017

Cemeteries


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 information (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 (published in 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 Baptist Cemetery.

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.

Stephentown Cemetery map

Map Number Name of Cemetery Years in Use Known Graves
1 Adams 1784-1820 4
2 Arnold Babcock 1803-1870 9
3 Bailey 1834-1898 11
4.  Bennett  1832-1885 12
5.  Berry  1803-1873 5
6.  Bishop  1843-1863 4
7.  Bligh  1795-1838 9
8.  Boardman #1  1770-1810  5
9.  Boardman #2  1795-1864  13
10.  Brainard #2  1813-1860  7
11.  Brockway  1817-1867
12.  Brown  5
13.  Carpenter  1776-1906  60
14.  Chapman  1808-1873  4
15.  Calvin Cole  No Dates  50
16.  Cranston  1847-1947  15
17.  Denison  1773-1920  56
18.  East Nassau  1841-present  770
19.  Eddy  1828-1876  10
20.  Farrington  1846-1873  9
21.  Fellows  1813-1904  26
22.  Garfield  1796-present  877
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
26. Harrington 1832-1867 3
27. Harris #1 1790-1837 5
28. Harris #2 1763-1846 2
29. Hillside 1817-present 890
30. Hoxsie-Odell 1811-1871 18
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
35. Leonard 1808-1840 4
36. Moon Orphan Gravestone 1806-1830 5
37. Presbyterian 1776-1929 176
38. Reynolds 1785-1829 7
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
44. Senter 1970-present 3
45. Shaw #1
Shaw #2 1783-1826 20
46. Sheldon 1782-1828 10
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
52. Tifft 1807-1910 40
53. Tinley Weatherby (see #66) Webster (see #60) 1847-1887 9
54. Wilcox 1827-1899 5
55. Winston 1786-1838 6
56A. Wylie 1751-1876 10
56B Wylie 1795-1883 5
57. Babcock 1793-1797 13
58. Rogers #2 1791-1791 2
59. Knobloch No markers 3
60. Webster 1831-1831 1
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
67. Brown 1893-1893 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?

The following pages contain transcriptions of some of the small cemeteries in Stephentown. The original database, which contains some 93,000 names, is housed on the Rensselaer County site. It was contributed by Don & Clare Radz, from Cemetery Sleuths. This database includes all of the towns in Rensselaer County. To help with Stephentown research, Tina transcribed burials in the smaller, family owned cemeteries.

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