LeRay, Jefferson, NY

Evans' Mills Cemeteries

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The old burial-ground at Evans' Mills, which was formerly at the southern end of the village, was given to the public by Ethni Evans, the founder of the place, and was the interment-place of the first settlers in this vicinity; though none now living know the date or names of its first interments. Judge Evans, after long and earnest but vain endeavors to have it substantially inclosed at the public expense, at least put a fence with strong cedar-posts around his own lots, near the centre of the ground, and this remained for many years. The present Main street of the village, when laid out, cut the old grave-yard in two, and the remains from the southeastern part were removed to the opposite side. All have since been transferred to the Evans' Mills cemetery.

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The first place of interment used by the society of Friends in Le Ray was in the lot adjacent to their meeting-house, and here members of the Child family and others of the earliest Quaker settlers were interred. This, however, has ceased to be used, another cemetery-ground having been established by the society on land taken from the farm of Stephen Roberts, a short distance southwest from Le Raysville, on the road to Black River village.

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On May 19, 1840, Aaron Root and Betsey, his wife, conveyed by deed to S. D. Sloan, William Palmer, Lybeus Hastings, and Elisha Steele, Jr., as trustees, a fraction over two acres of land for use as a public burial-ground. This was a part of his farm on the west side of the village. The price paid was $40 per acre, but Mr. Root allowed $34 for three burial-lots reserved for his own use. The first interment in this ground was that of a child of Philander Miller, who died by drowning; the second was that of Mr. Root himself.

This was the commencement of the present cemetery. The ground was enlarged by the addition of some 60 square rods of land in October, 1866, by Joseph D. Grinnell and other.

On June 29, 1869, a meeting was held at Evans' Mills for the purpose of forming a cemetery association, which was done, and Adolphus M. Cook, Samuel S. Potter, Alexander Kanady, Rezot Tozor, Randall Barnes, and Wayne Stewart were elected its trustees; and it was at the same time "resolved that in the trustees of the old burying-ground be requested to convey their right to the trustees of this association," in accordance with which resolution Messrs. Sloan, Palmer, Hastings, and Steele, the old trustees, did on the following day convey the ground laid out in 1840 to the trustees of the association. On the 13th day of July following De Witt C. Grinnell and Joseph D. Grinnell conveyed to the same trustees a piece of land (area not sated) on the northeast end of the cemetery, for the purposes of enlargement, and they also quit-claimed the tract added in 1866. The association was incorporated under the general law, and consisted of Anthony Peck, C. P. Granger, S. S. Potter, James A. Pierce, James D. Grinnell, Wolcott Steele, Randall Barnes, Alexander Kanady, and fourteen other original members. The present trustees are the same who were first elected to the office.

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The Hoover burial-ground is located about two miles north of Evans' Mills, and was originally a part of the farm of Peter Hoover. The first burial was that of J. Adam Walradt, who died February 27, 1831. While living he had expressed a strong desire that he might be interred in that vicinity rather than at Evans' Mills, and, after his death, this spot was selected by friends as being the most appropriate. Mr. Hoover's permission was easily obtained, and after a few more burials had been made there he sold the spot--a quarter-acre--to Alfred Vebber, Isaac Walradt, and Alexander H. Van Brockelin, as trustees, for a public burial-place. In this ground there have been about eighty burials; among them being that of Peter Hoover's son, Simon P. Hoover, who was cruelly murdered on March 4, 1876, near the house of Alfred Vebber, by Francis Grappot, who, after conviction of the crime, took his own life in the jail at Watertown.

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The Caswell grave-yard is near the extreme north corner of the town, and was taken from the farm of Mr. Caswell, as early settler, who afterwards removed to Felt's Mills. Its commencement was at a more recent date than that of the Hoover ground.

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The Catholic cemetery, belonging to the congregation o St. Michael's church at Evans' Mills, is located 1-3/4 miles southwest of that village, on the Watertown road. It is a ground of about two acres, purchased by the society from Isaac Keller for $200. It was laid out in 1857; and the first burial within it was that of Mrs. Champaign. It is a good and convenient ground, well inclosed and cared for.

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This cemetery site, a plat of about four acres, was donated by Le Ray de Chaumont to school district No. 1, about the year 1812. The first interments in it ware believed to have been those of Mr. and Mrs. Woodruff, grandparents of the late N. M. Woodruff of Watertown. Adjoining this another cemetery plat was laid out a few years since by Isaac T. Fuller, on land purchased by him from the farm of Charles Ryder. This was a private enterprise; but burial-lots were sold by the proprietor to such as desired to become purchasers. These two cemeteries are divided by a partition-fence. The location is adjacent to the Union church at Sanford's Corners.

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The Pine Plains grave-yard, although used by the people of Le Raysville, and vicinity, was never deeded to the public by Mr. Le Ray, and still remains a portion of the Payon estate. It was probably the proprietor's intention that it should be and remain a public burial-place, and this intention has been, and will without doubt continue to be respected. This inclosure, containing 3 acres, is located on the edge of the pine plains, a short mile southeast of Le Raysville, on the road to Great Bend. (Jefferson County History, L. H. Everts, 1878)

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Transcribed by Holice B. Young

Html by Debbie

December 26, 1999

[Jefferson County ALHN][NY ALHN]

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