Courtesy Special Collections, Feinberg Library, State University of New York, College at Plattsburgh.
Photo by Stephen Bartlett.
Plattsburgh David Patrick has covered Champlain’s history for some time.
His latest calendar dives into the depths of the area’s cemeteries.
“This year’s calendar has 13 large format photographs that were taken in Champlain village, Rouses Point, Coopersville and Perrys Mills,” said Patrick.
The cover photo shows the circa 1909 railroad depot in the village of Champlain.
“I give a short history of the railroad,” he said. “Each photo has a good description.”
For the essay, Patrick wrote about the lost burying yards.
“There is a lot of history related to these as they contain the remains of Champlain town’s earliest inhabitants,” he said.
Early cemeteries include the Hayford, Shute, A.S. Thurber in Rouses Point, Waters and ones in Perrys Mills. Most were family cemeteries on farms.
“Pliny Moore and Ezra Thurber also gave land to Champlain and Rouses Point villages, and these small cemeteries were used for about 60 years,” Patrick said. “St. Joseph’s cemetery is the oldest catholic cemetery in town.”
In 1858 and 1859, he explained, Maple Hill and Glenwood Cemetery Associations were established and eventually the family cemeteries were dug up and the remains moved.
“But I found that not everyone was moved and many of the these family cemeteries still have people buried here,” Patrick said. “I think it is important for people to know where these old cemeteries are.”
Some are in fields, others behind houses. The exact location of many have been lost over the past 150 years.
One of Patrick’s most significant discoveries was the Refugee Burying Ground, also known as the Catholic Cemetery or Ashline Cemetery. It was known to a few people in town, though its significance seemed a mystery.
“This was on the farm of Jacques Rouse, who Rouses Point is named after,” Patrick said. “He died in 1820.”
Rouse is buried there with his wives and young children. Many of the earliest French refugees are buried there too.