Friday, May 10, 2013

The Greenwich Cemetery

We have 32 cemeteries in the Town of Greenwich, the largest is, of course, the Greenwich Cemetery nestled between Main St & Cottage St. Over 10,000 people have been interred in this peaceful spot & the Greenwich Cemetery Association does a great job of keeping it nice.

I've never found cemeteries to be creepy, or scary. I've always found them tranquil, thoughtful. As an historian & lover of history, I have been to many cemeteries. My sister & I visited Lincoln's tomb in Springfield, IL when we traveled across the country in 1995. (Yes, we rubbed his nose.) I keep meaning to go to Albany Rural Cemetery to visit Chester A. Arthur's grave.

However, most of the time, I go to a cemetery to look at the graves of non-famous people, like my relatives, or random people with interesting stones. Typical iconography like weeping willows, winged angel heads & urns are typical on early New England headstones. I saw a number of these in Salem, MA last fall. A good example of the willow motif can be found here in Section F.

Greenwich Cemetery May 2013

As a kid, my younger sister & I use to ride our bikes over to the Riverside Cemetery in Fort Miller. There are a number of large pine trees shading the ground, plus it was next to the Hudson. It was always cooler there, so it was the perfect spot after a hot, dusty bike ride. Reading the stones made me appreciate my life a bit more, especially when we noticed the markers of children who died young.

Before my daughter started school, she & my mom use to visit my dad while he was working at St. Mary's Cemetery in South Glens Falls. She would lay under the trees on a quilt & say the trees were talking to her. They we eat lunch, picnic style, then head home.

The idea of picnicking at a cemetery may seem odd to some, but it was very common in the 19th & early 20th centuries for many of the reasons I have stated above.

Cemetery picnic early 20th century
If you are looking for ancestors buried in local cemeteries, check out the books put out by Historical Data Services. The Greenwich Free Library has non-circulating copies in the Gill Room. I also have a few of them in my office for research, so stop by on a Friday morning.

Also, check out Find-A-Grave. It is a very useful website to locate burial information throughout the country.

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