Location: Lancaster, New York
Lancaster Rural Cemetery, Lancaster, New York
"This is the oldest cemetery in the Town of Lancaster with the possible exception of some private family plots. Known originally as the “center burial place”, it is located along Cemetery Road between Broadway and Erie Street.
“James P Clark, who arrived in the Cayuga Creek Settlement in 1808, donated a plot of land as a burial site for the new settlers. It was destined to become the Lancaster Rural Cemetery. " , In the spring of 1808, Captain William Blackmon's son became the first burial here, even though the cemetery was not incorporated until 1866. Until that time, James Clark kept a diary in which he recorded the burials. He maintained a list of the descedents’ name, date of death, age, cause of death (eg. “dropped dead in the street”), and even some interesting notes about some of the burials such as the fact that the person was a Revolutionary War veteran or had fought in the War of 1812.
“In 1866, Alexander Hitchcock urged that a cemetery association be formed, more land purchased, and its upkeep guaranteed. At a meeting called in the Presbyterian Church, a committee was appointed and a fund established to which Mr. Hitchcock immediately donated $1,000. He also gave it its present name. ",
The original portion of the cemetery is along Cemetery Road. It is distinguished by an old iron fence, a grid pattern of roads and a beautiful grove of large, mature trees. Among the oldest trees are sugar maples and red maples. Closer to Erie Street are many large Norway maples. Many of the large evergreen trees (Norway Spruce) were planted at the corners of family plots. In the late 1950’s the original cemetery was greatly increased in size with the purchase of land running south from the old cemetery to Broadway. This doubled the size of the cemetery and provided for thousands of additional gravesites. Burials are memorialized in a variety of ways. In the old section there are many beautiful monuments. These are also being placed in the new portion as well. In addition, the new area has sections designated for flat memorials. The only mausoleum is in the old section close to Cemetery Road. It was built for the family of the late New York State Senator, George Davis. Several years ago, the Lancaster Rural Cemetery built the large rectangular blocks, known as columbaria, near the Broadway entrance for cremated remains.
Perhaps the most unusual grave site is that of the Bagley family. Their “mound-like” grave was used to bury four daughters who died within a few years of one another during the 1830's. The family, gave its name to Bagley Road (also known as Baglery Road), now known as Pavement Road. The remains of the girls have been removed from the mound grave. Other monuments in the oldest section belong to many of the families who first settled in Lancaster and who founded the community. Today the Lancaster Rural Cemetery is a place of beauty. Even though the rural nature of the surrounding area has changed, it remains an oasis of peace and tranquility."(1)
- (1) Lancaster, New York
- Architecture and History
- Published by the Village of Lancaster Historic District Commission, 2007 in cooperation with the Town and Village of Lancaster
- Editor - James Siemon Keysa
Part of: New York Cemeteries Team