Four area cemeteries will hold ceremonies to honor patriots from the Revolutionary and Civil wars Oct. 5.
The Martinsburg Historical Society will hold military honors for Civil War veterans buried atop the Tug Hill.
According to Bette S. Lathan, organizer of this ceremony, there once was a thriving Irish community up on Tug Hill in Martinsburg.
“They built a church in 1860 and could seat 400 people,” she said. “It is now an abandoned area — very remote.”
According to Mrs. Lathan, the Martinsburg Historical Society has spent three years restoring the cemetery that was in the back of the St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church. They found at least seven gravesites of Civil War veterans.
“The only remains of the church are the steps and a cornerstone,” she said. “The altar to the church was found and has been restored. Many Irish descendants are still in the area — my family included.”
She noted the Irish settled in the area in the 1850s after working on the Black River and Erie canals, having immigrated to the United States during the potato famine. They had also come north after working in the salt mines in Onondaga County and down from Canada.
“When the Civil War broke out, they did not want to go to war but the Union Army gave them extra incentives including bringing a priest,” she said.
Mrs. Lathan said the church ceased services in 1941 and the contents were sold in 1944. Although there were many pews removed from the church, Mrs. Lathan said she did not know of their whereabouts but would like to have some. She said the stain glass windows went to St. Bernard’s Catholic Church in Lyon Mountain and the altar, which was found in a field in Flat Rock, has been restored by the Lewis County Historical Society. Weather permitting, the altar will be on display during the dedication ceremony when a sign from the William G. Pomeroy Foundation, Syracuse, will be unveiled.
Mrs. Lathan is seeking any descendants of the Irish-American veterans to attend the ceremony and lay wreathes at the grave sites. She said people from Texas and Pennsylvania have confirmed their attendance and she hopes more from Jefferson and Lewis counties as well as other areas of the state will come. Representatives of the Sons of the Union and Daughters of the Union will be in attendance and Deacon Tom Yousey will distribute Holy Communion.
The ceremony begins at 1 p.m. at the cemetery on Maple Ridge Road, which is 6.5 miles up a gravel road. A shuttle bus will be provided, leaving the town of Martinsburg offices, 5405 Cemetery Road, at 12:15 p.m.
The Adams State Road Cemetery Association, Union Cemetery and Adams Rural Cemetery are among the nine Jefferson County cemetery grantees by the William G. Pomeroy Foundation to receive historic roadside markers signifying burial sites of 24 Revolutionary War patriots.
The cemetery associations are seeking descendants of Revolutionary War patriots to assist in a dedication ceremonies for the historic signs on Oct. 5, starting at 10 a.m. at the Adams State Road Cemetery, State Route. 177, Adams Center. The group will travel to Union Cemetery, Route 11, Adams Center, and then to the Adams Rural Cemetery, Main Street (Route 11), Adams, for dedication ceremonies. In addition, historians, genealogists and the general public are invited to attend the ceremonies. For more information, contact Sylvia Gilligan, president, Union Cemetery at 315-955-8445.
The grant to receive the signs through the William G. Pomeroy Foundation was facilitated by the founder and president of the Thousand Islands Chapter of the Empire State Sons of the American Revolution, Parks Honeywell.
During the ceremonies, patriot re-enactors in uniform, with muskets, and Sons of the American Revolution in uniform, with muskets, will fire salutes. Pomeroy Foundation representatives will be present. Don Rounds American Legion Post 583, Adams, will present the colors. Refreshments will be available at their post on Main Street, Adams, following the final ceremony at Adams Rural. A special memoir will be given to each one present.
“It has been said that cemeteries tell their stories in stones,” said Marilyn Halstead of the Adams State Road Cemetery Association. “Sadly, many stones are becoming illegible due to acid rain and years of facing the unforgiving elements of this north country, where many of us call home. We are so fortunate to have these 24 Revolutionary War Patriots’ stones and their stories preserved so that we may properly honor them today. As you may be aware, rural cemeteries are drastically underfunded, and in great need of assistance. Our costs continue to rise, and donations are our primary source of income to maintain and improve our cemeteries. Without volunteer help and donations, many are becoming wards of the towns. Slowly, the history of our people, engraved on stones, is disappearing in our cemeteries.”
Ms. Halstead expressed gratitude to community members who have “continued support in time, resources, and dollars.”
Monetary donations may be mailed to the Adams State Road Cemetery, PO Box 2, Adams Center, NY 13606; Union Cemetery, PO Box 12, Adams Center, NY 13606; Adams Rural Cemetery, PO Box 59, Adams, NY 13605.
Patriots to be honored
Information sources: Adams State Road Cemetery Burial Records; Union Cemetery Burial Records;
North Adams Cemetery; Find A Grave; South Jeff. Historical Society records;Flower Memorial Library
n Jonathan Davis, 1763 to March 11, 1835; husband of Caroline
n Pvt. Danforth Doty, March 24, 1767 to March 22,1841; Private in Captain Abner Smith’s Company; Colonel Beebee’s Regiment, Connecticut Line
n Timothy Heath, March 7, 1745 to Feb. 27, 1814
n Edmund Littlefield Jr. Feb. 4, 1755 to 1806; son of Edmund and Mary Caswell Pennell Littlefield; husband of Susannah Brown; Served with Capt. Talbot’s Co., Massachusetts Line; Pastor of State Road Baptist Church in Honeyville.
n Capt. Benjamin Oatman, 1755 to March 1, 1816; son of George and Ruth Wooster Oatman; husband of Bethia Smith Oatman — his service is recorded in Vermont Revolutionary Rolls as “Pvt. In Capt. Jonas Galusha’s Co. in Capt. Herrick’s Regiment Captain on his stone indicates further service in 1812 “Silver Gray”
n John Parker, April 15, 1759 to April 8, 1840; son of Ezra Parker, first wife Lucy Blanchard, second wife Fanny Newton; Volunteered June 1, 1775 at Sherley, Mass. for eight months in Col. Whitney’s Massachusetts Regiment. He was in the battles of White Plains, Flat Bush and was present at the surrender of Burgoyne, and the War of 1812 “Silver Gray”
n Ezra Perry, 1760 to June 17, 1832, husband of Zerviah Perry
n Caleb Woodward II, May 25, 1769 to April 24, 1860; son of Caleb and Aliffe Hillard Woodward; husband of Anna Smith Woodward; 6th Regiment NY Militia, Land Bounty Regiment and 1812 “Silver Gray”
n Pvt. Ephraim Wright, June 9, 1765 to 1851; husband of Esther Wright. Enlisted March 1, 1781 and served one year as a private in Capt. Matthew Smith’s Company under Maj. Humphrey of the Connecticut Troops. He received a pension as early as 1840 while residing in the town of Rodman
n Asa Maxon, 1750 to March 1842
n Isaac Rogers, 1759 to Jan. 27, 1846; son of Isaac Rogers; husband of Rhonda Chase
n Israel Warriner, May 19, 1742 to March 26, 1810, son of Benjamin Warriner; husband of Mary Hitchcock
Listed with date of death
n Abiel Carpenter, Sept. 20. 1853
n Peter Doxtater, Oct. 1, 1843
n Asa Gleason, Sept. 4, 1835
n John Manderville, Sept. 4, 1835
n Ammiel Penney, Feb. 15. 1816
n Comfort Redway, June 20, 1837
n Preserved Redway, April 25, 1837
n Edward Salisbury, March 29, 1829
n Jacob Weaver, March 9, 1853
n Carmi Wright, Sept. 7, 1832
n Moses Wright, July 5, 1830
n Westwood Wright, April 9, 1826