Friday, May 17, 2013

St. Joseph's Cemetery

As I was snapping some pictures at Greenwich Cemetery last week, I realized I had never been in St. Joseph's Cemetery before. & it is just across the road. So, after work, I drove over & snapped some pictures there. I didn't realize how large it was, & that you can see the high school. I use to run cross country (for Schuylerville) around the cornfield on the other side of the cemetery fence.

Now for a bit of background provided by Joseph L. Shannon, who wrote Saint Joseph Parish Greenwich, New York in 1978. This book is available for research at the Greenwich Free Library & Crandall Public Library in Glens Falls (all copies are non-circulating).

History of St. Joseph's

Albany Catholic Diocese established April 1847
Visitation Catholic Church, Schuylerville founded 1847
St. Patrick's Catholic Church, Cambridge founded 1853
St. Joseph's Catholic Church founded 1870

The plethora of mills in the area brought immigrants to rural areas upstate.  In 1865, 80,000 of the estimated 134,000 Catholics living in the area covered by the Albany Diocese were Irish immigrants (Shannon, p.8) escaping the Great Potato Famine. When the Greenwich Dunbarton Mill opened in 1879, many of the 200 workers were Catholic (Shannon, p.4).

Shannon states "After the Mass of 24 January 1869, which marked the opening of the Mission of Greenwich, until the first Mass offered in the building now call "St. Joseph [sic] Church" 24 July 1870, the Fathers from Cambridge held services in various places in Greenwich" (p.15-16). The only other option was to travel to Mass in Schuylerville, Hudson Falls, Salem, or Schaghticoke.

St. Joseph's first resident pastor & proponent of the Temperance Movement, Fr. Thomas A. Field, was the one who set about founding the St. Joseph's Cemetery. Shannon writes "By Deed,  dated  6 November 1881 (Book 91, page 30) Fr. Field purchased for $1,000 two parcels of land, one  of sixty-seven acres and the other of one acre on the northern edge of the village of Greenwich from Charles Stevens and his wife, Sarah A. Stevens" (p.44).

Some of the artistry on the tombstones in St. Joseph's

The first burials (& tombstones) appear to be transferred from other cemeteries as the deaths predate the founding of the cemetery. The oldest date is 1863 (Shannon, p. 45).

Well, St. Joseph's is just a peaceful as Greenwich, except for the neighbor's dog who decided to bark at my car. But even (s)he didn't sound too upset by me being there.

St. Joseph's Cemetery, Greenwich, NY- 10 May 2013


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