Posted tagged ‘Pioneer Burying Ground’

Historic Pittsford’s Day of the Day is November 1, 2015

October 22, 2015

Sunday, November 1, 2015 at 2:00 p.m. – Historic Pittsford’s Day of the Dead program at Pioneer Burying Ground in Pittsford, New York. 

Day of the Dead cast in 2012

Day of the Dead cast in 2012

Historic Pittsford will present its Day of the Dead program at the Pioneer Burying Ground on Sunday, November 1 at 2PM. Actors in period costume will portray the lives of Pittsford’s earliest settlers at gravesides throughout the cemetery. Hear the stories of pioneers Stephen and Sarah Hincher Lusk and how they arrived in this area. Meet Colonel Caleb Hopkins and learn why our town is named Pittsford, and discover the incredible lives of other people who resided in our community in its earliest days.

The Pioneer Burying Ground is located at 210 Mendon Road, south of

Pittsford Village at the intersection of South Main Street and Mendon Road. An onsite reception inside the Mile Post School will directly follow the tour, and light refreshments will be served. Please dress for the weather.

Pioneer Burying Ground in Pittsford, New York

Pioneer Burying Ground in Pittsford, New York

There is no fee for this program, but REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED. Participants may park at the United Church of Pittsford (123 South Main Street, corner of Sunset Boulevard) and use a free shuttle to the cemetery. To register and for information , call the Pittsford Recreation Department at 585-248-6280 or register online via the Town website http://www.townofpittsford.org – click the “Pittsford Recreation” link, then click on “Program Info and Registration online.” The program is listed under the “Education” section.

Day of the Dead 2011

October 31, 2011

Last night, I had the opportunity to portray the mother of Civil War soldier Ezra A. Patterson for Historic Pittsford’s Day of the Dead at the Pioneer Burying Ground in Pittsford, New York.  This is the third year we held this event, and we were very fortunate that the weather held out and we had a crescent moon casting eerie shadows on the graves of the pioneers permanently residing at the Pioneer.

Pittsford Town and Village Historian, Audrey Johnson, led about 60 people through the cemetery to the graves of early settlers Stephen and Sarah Hincher Davis Lusk.  Stephen had come to this area in 1791 with his father, John Lusk.  A tanner by trade, Stephen had recently lost his wife.  Sarah was a young widow of 24.  One day, it became clear that Sarah needed a new pair of shoes.  She stopped at the local tannery, where she met Stephen Lusk.  They were soon wed.  Sarah and Stephen would have six children together.  Sarah died in 1856, aged 78.  Stephen followed four years later, at age 84.  They are buried together in the Lusk enclosure, which encompasses over twenty members of the Lusk family.  Stephen and Sarah Lusk were portrayed by Joe Maxey and his wife, Peg.

Elihu Doud, the brickmaker, was next.  This was Elihu’s first appearance at the Day of the Dead event.  Elihu created the bricks that were used in many local homes and businesses.  Rusty Likly, President of Historic Pittsford, played Elihu Doud.

Pittsford Supervisor Silas Nye was played by current Pittsford Mayor Bob Corby.  Colonel Caleb Hopkins, as portrayed by David Minor, discussed how he met his future wife, Dorothy Maybee.  Caleb learned the traveling preacher was in town, so he hiked over to Dorothy’s house, where he found her hanging out the wash.  He asked for her hand, and they were married that day.  Hannah Whipple Acer, wife of John Acer, told how her husband had purchased over 100 acres of land in Pittsford, including the Phoenix building, which is still in existence today, and which was made with bricks supplied by Elihu Doud.  This was also Hannah’s first appearance at Day of the Dead, and her spirit was conveyed through Joanne Shannon.  Peter Webster played John Ray, a doctor who had to ford dangerous streams in order to get to his patients.

The tour then headed east toward the grave of Ann Agate Miles, wife of Rev. Stephen Miles, portrayed by Liz Jackson-Renner.  Another new addition this year was Caroline Maxfield Thornell, daughter of Hannah & Barnet Maxfield.  Caroline was portrayed by Shelley O’Brien, who currently lives at the Thornell homestead.  Audrey Maxfield Johnson portrayed her own relative, Hannah Maxfield.  Then we heard the sad story of Sarah Wood Osgoodby, who lost eight of her eleven children to disease, all within several years of each other.  Deborah Scrantom Resch played Sarah.

Carol Newcomb, wife of Newcomb descendant Michael, portrayed Julia Tobey Newcomb, an early pioneer who recalled coming to the area in 1848.  I became Jane Ann Hecox Patterson, mother of Ezra A. Patterson, who had enlisted as a private in the 108th New York Infantry in 1862, but was quickly promoted to 1st Sergeant.  Ezra’s first and last battle was Antietam, where he was severely wounded.  After being sent to recuperate at Carver Hospital in Washington, D.C., Ezra died of a hemorrhage before his discharge papers came through.  He was returned to Pittsford and buried beside his mother, Jane, who had died in 1853.

Thanks to all who attended and to those who gave of their time to bring the lives of these pioneers to light.  It was a wonderful event, and I hope it is a program we will continue to present year after year.

Looking Back While Facing Forward

January 1, 2011

The end of the year brings reflection as we put to rest one year while looking ahead to a new beginning.  I’ll always remember 2010 as an incredible year for my Civil War soldiers project, as well as for the start of some new research projects. 

Martha Jewett & Evan Marshall visit Mary Jewett Telford's grave

In January, I met a descendant of one of my Civil War veterans.  Martha Jewett is the second great-grandniece of Civil War nurse Mary Jewett Telford.  Martha and her husband, Evan Marshall, drove to Fairport to attend my Illuminated History presentation for the Perinton Historical Society.  After Martha and Evan returned home, we spent a frantic two weeks emailing and calling each other in order to meet the deadline for Mary Jewett Telford’s nomination to the National Women’s Hall of Fame.  We will soon hear whether we were successful in our endeavor.

With February came a slight shift in my research, as I began to study the World War I soldiers of Pittsford.  February was also memorable as it was the first time I have formally interviewed a research subject.  Bill Cooper, a World War II veteran and survivor of the Battle of the Bulge, was my assignment.  Bill is a member of American Legion Rayson-Miller Post 899.  The stories he shared about his military experience and life with his wife, Margaret, were 

Bill Cooper, World War II vet

 inspiring.  I also had the opportunity to meet with Philip G. Maples for the first time.  Phil is the Director Emeritus of the Rochester Medical Museum & Archives.  Since then, I have volunteered research time to the RMMA, as well as spent time with Phil, who is himself a Civil War researcher and enthusiast.  I proudly headed to school in February to hear my daughter make her first presentation by portraying Civil War nurse Mary Jewett Telford.

March rang in another opportunity to interview a Battle of the Bulge veteran.  This time it was Ed Kinnen, also a   member of Rayson-Miller.  Ed and his wife, Ellen, graciously invited me into their home so I could talk with Ed about his World War II service.  We share a common love of genealogy, and I was happy to hear them speak of their children and grandchildren and the importance of sharing the family history with them. 

Lynda Skaddan & Jane Andersen, Telford descendants

The next few months went by in a blur as I once again collaborated with Pittsford Town Historian Audrey Johnson for our annual Pittsford Cemetery tour in May.  Theo X. Rojo, who researches the men of the 13th NY Infantry and the 22nd NY Cavalry, contacted me in May and we have spent much time emailing back and forth regarding those units and others.  June was the pinnacle of excitement.  I gave a tour at Greenvale Cemetery for the Perinton Historical Society members.  I was so pleased to meet Cheri Branca, one of my online friends and fellow Find A Grave contributor, who attended the Greenvale tour with her husband, Matt.  Jane Andersen and Lynda Skaddan, descendants of Robert Telford, made a special trip to Fairport with Lynda’s husband Ray so I could meet them at Mary Jewett Telford’s grave to discuss her life.  Mary was wed to Robert’s younger brother, Jacob Telford.  In June, I also had the opportunity to meet Norman and John Henry Miller, who are the nephews of Henry L. Miller.  Henry was killed at Belleau Wood during World War I.  Norm and John are not only veterans themselves, but they come from a long line of men who served their country, beginning with their great-grandfather, Civil War veteran Henry L. Mueller.

Throughout the rest of 2010, I gave a presentation for the American Legion Rayson-Miller Post 899 and discussed the 

John and Norm Miller at the grave of their uncle, Henry L. Miller

early history of the post and its members.  Audrey Johnson and I hosted another tour of the Pioneer Burying Ground in October, and I started a Facebook page for Illuminated History.  However, I think the biggest thrill has been meeting the veterans’ descendants and other researchers, both in person, by phone and online.  I spoke by phone with John R. Bacon, grandson of WWI & WWII Lieutenant Colonel Howard Bacon and great-grandson of Civil War vet John Buckley Bacon, after emailing back and forth for several years.  I spoke with veteran David Retchless about his military service, as well as those of his brother, father and uncle.  Tyler Emery, the current owner of the Retchless military memorabilia, and I have corresponded via email and he has graciously shared photos of the contents of the trunk he owns.  At the Pioneer Burying Ground tour, I met Gail and Marilyn, the daughters of World War I vet Raymond L. Hulbert.  I’ve also had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Lloyd F. Allen’s daughters, Betty Anne and Katie, as well as his granddaughter, Elizabeth.  Dr. Allen, like his friend and neighbor Howard Bacon, had also served in both World Wars.

2010 was an extraordinary year.  Thank you for your interest in my project, and your appreciation for these veterans.  With your support, Illuminated History will continue to shine the light on these heroes for many years to come.

One Injured After Car Collides with Civil War Soldier

November 19, 2010

Another view of the accident

This morning, a car crashed through the recently renovated fence of the Pioneer Burying Ground in Pittsford, New York, and collided with the headstone of Joseph Bartlett, a Civil War veteran who served with the 81st New York Infantry.  Joseph Bartlett passed away one hundred twenty nine years ago, so he is probably not too upset by the collision.  According to newspaper reports, the man behind the wheel of the car may have had a medical emergency which contributed to the accident.  He was taken to a local hospital with injuries that are not considered life-threatening.  

Pioneer Burying Ground Crash Site 11/19/10. Joseph Bartlett's base in the foreground, with headstone about 15 feet north of the base.

This event gives me the opportunity to illuminate Joseph Bartlett, a soldier who has kept a low profile even as I have illuminated two of the other Civil War soldiers buried at Pioneer Burying Ground – Thomas Wood and Ezra A. Patterson, both of the 108th NY Infantry.

Little is known of Joseph Bartlett’s early life.  He appears to have been born in Oneida County, New York, about 1840.  According to the New York State Archives, Joseph stood 5′ 11″ tall, with hazel eyes and brown hair.  His complexion was fair.  We do know that Joseph mustered into the 81st NY Infantry on October 6, 1861 as a Private and moved quickly through the ranks.  In February, 1862, he was promoted to Corporal.  A promotion to Sergeant followed in September of that year.

The men of the 81st NY Infantry proved themselves on the battlefields at Fair Oaks and Seven Pines.  They fought at Malvern Hill and were present at the siege of Charleston in 1863.  New Year’s Day, 1864, dawned bright and cold.  On that day, Joseph Bartlett re-enlisted with the 81st NY Infantry.  Six months later, at the battle of Cold Harbor, Virginia, Sergeant Joseph Bartlett of Co. I, was wounded in the leg and arm.

Joseph returned to his regiment after recuperating from his wounds.  He was commissioned a 1st Lieutenant with Co. F in June, 1865.  After transferring to Co. A, Joseph was commissioned a Captain before mustering out on August 31, 1865. 

Joseph Bartlett's headstone pre-crash

I have not been able to ascertain how Joseph ended up in Pittsford, New York.  His cause of death at the age of 40 is also unknown.  However he ended up at the Pioneer Burying Ground, Joseph took his place as the third Civil War veteran to permanently reside there.  He was predeceased by George P. Walters and Ezra A. Tillotson.  Thomas Wood joined the trio much later, in 1923.

It will take quite some time to assess the damage to the headstones, although it is clear the damage done to some of these older headstones is irreparable.

In the Works

June 23, 2010

E.J. Tyler Post 288 banner, Pittsford, New York

Now that my Pittsford and Greenvale Cemetery tours are over, I’m working on some exciting projects for the summer and fall. 

First is the booklet I’m writing about the charter members of American Legion Rayson-Miller Post 899.  The Post was organized in 1920, taking over where G.A.R. – E. J. Tyler Post 288 left off.  One of the charter members, Howard R. Bacon, was a son of Civil War soldier John Buckley Bacon.  The booklet will also commemorate the two men after whom the Post was named – Homer Rayson and Henry L. Miller.  In conjunction with the booklet is my October 30th presentation for the Rayson-Miller Post, which is open to the public.

In October, I will once again pair with Pittsford Town Historian Audrey Johnson to give a tour of Pioneer Burying Ground.  Despite the inevitable rain, discussing the pioneers of the town is always interesting.  Soldiers of nearly every conflict from the Revolutionary War through World War II are interred at the Pioneer Burying Ground.

Also in the works is a research project for the Rochester Medical Museum & Archives.  I am in the process of culling the Rochester City Directories and census records in order to produce a comprehensive list of nurses in the Rochester, New York area from the Civil War through World War II.  Using newspaper reports and genealogical sources, an article I’m writing will feature the love story between a Civil War doctor and a nurse.  A second article is about a Rochester nurse who was accused of insanity…all because she chose to give away her personal belongings to friends instead of the family members she despised.

There are plans for the continued illumination of Civil War nurse Mary Jewett Telford.  She was an amazing woman with an incredible story to tell. 

It  looks as if it will be a busy summer.  Just the way I like it!

Hero Highlight – Ezra A. Patterson, Co. C, 108th NY Volunteer Infantry

October 26, 2009

Antietam.  What came to be known as the bloodiest day of battle in American history also happened to be the first engagement in which the 108th New York Volunteer Infantry participated.  This was to be the only battle for Ezra A. Patterson of Pittsford, New York, for Ezra did not survive to fight another day.

Ezra A. Patterson, Co. C, 108th NY Volunteer Infantry

Ezra A. Patterson, Co. C, 108th NY Volunteer Infantry

Ezra A. Patterson was born in July, 1841 to Aaron B. and Jane Ann Hecox Patterson.  While Aaron farmed their land in Pittsford, Jane Ann cared for Ezra and his brother, Mortimer, who was born in 1847.  A daughter, Alice, would be born in 1852.  However, Jane Ann did not live long enough to see her children to adulthood.  She died in 1853 at age 35 and was laid to rest at the Pioneer Burying Ground in Pittsford.  After Jane’s death, Aaron Patterson married her sister, Harriet Hecox.

By 1860, Ezra could be found in Marion, New York working for Marvin Rich as a merchant’s clerk.  Once the War Between the States began, Ezra wasn’t content to work in an office while others went off to fight.  He enlisted in Co. C of the 108th New York Volunteer Infantry on July 21, 1862, and was mustered in on August 18th.  Ezra A. Patterson had just celebrated his 21st birthday.  At 5′ 7 1/2″ tall, Ezra was of average stature for those times.  However, he must have been a striking figure with his light complexion, black hair and grey eyes.

Quickly promoted to First Sergeant, Ezra and the 108th traveled first to New York, then on to Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington and Virginia before arriving in Maryland.  They had only mustered in one month earlier.  How much training had they received in the 30 days prior to the bloody battle of Antietam?  They were about to get a trial by fire. 

On the morning of September 17, 1862, the men of the 108th were awakened at 4:00 and told to get breakfast and be prepared to march.  The battle commenced and, at some point, Ezra was wounded in action.  He would have been carried to the field hospital much like his comrade, Franklin R. Garlock, who was shot in the head and the hand.  After over a week at the field hospital, a train of ambulances transported the wounded to Washington.  Ezra was among those in the ambulances. 

Carver Hospital in Washington D.C. was to be Ezra’s last stop.  It was at Carver that Ezra began to recover from his wounds.  In fact, he was well enough to receive a Surgeon’s Certificate of Disability on October 14th and be discharged.  His comrade, Franklin Garlock, gave a first-hand account of what happened next in George H. Washburn’s A Complete Military History and Record of the 108th Regiment N.Y. Vols.:  “Here our comrade Patterson formerly of Pittsford, N.Y., was also discharged and was to go home with me, but who was detained, by reason of his papers not arriving from the war-office in time.  He was apparently doing well when I left the hospital, but soon a fatal hemorrhage set in, which resulted in his death, soon after.  He never got home alive.”

Had Aaron Patterson been aware that his son was given his discharge and was coming home?  If so, it must have been a terrible blow to the Patterson family when subsequent word reached them of Ezra’s death on October 26th.  Mortimer, Ezra’s young brother, would be the next Patterson to join the war effort.  He enlisted in June, 1863 in Co. F of the 14th Heavy Artillery.  The official paperwork lists his age at enlistment as 18, but Mortimer was discharged just one month later for “being under 18 years of age”.  In actuality, Mortimer was just 16. 

After 1863, Mortimer disappears from the records.  I am still looking for clues as to his whereabouts.  Aaron Patterson couldn’t bear to live in Pittsford after having lost his son, Ezra.  By 1870, Aaron, Harriet and Alice had moved to Marshalltown, Iowa.   Aaron died in 1878.  Ezra’s aunt/stepmother, Harriet, passed on in 1907.  Alice, Ezra’s only sister, lived to age 83 before dying unmarried in 1935.  They are buried at Riverside Cemetery in Marshalltown, Iowa.

Despite his disfiguring wounds which caused him to lose his eye and a finger, Ezra’s friend from the 108th, Franklin R. Garlock, recovered from his wounds sufficiently enough to attend medical school.  He practiced medicine at Lyndonville, NY before moving to Racine, WI.

Ezra’s body was returned to Pittsford and he was buried at the Pioneer Burying Ground beside his mother, Jane Ann Hecox Patterson.

Pioneer Burying Ground Tour

October 17, 2009
Thomas Wood, 108th New York Volunteer Infantry

Thomas Wood, 108th New York Volunteer Infantry

Thank you to everyone who came out today for the tour of the Pioneer Burying Ground.  Despite the constant rain, we had a nice turnout.

Pittsford Town Historian Audrey Johnson started the tour at the Lusk family plot.  I described how Sarah Hincher Davis Lusk was a pioneer in her own right as she, her six sisters, one brother and parents settled in 1792 the area now known as Charlotte, New York.  After Sarah’s father, William Hincher, died in 1817, her mother Mehitable Moffet Hincher sold 3 1/3 acres of land to the United States Goverment for $400.  In 1822, that land became the site of the Charlotte-Genesee Lighthouse.  Sarah became a young widow when her first husband, Franklin Davis, died.  However, several years later she met and married widower Stephen Lusk and together they raised a family of 6 children.

Audrey Johnson then discussed the families of Doctor John Ray and Silas Nye.  From there, we headed to the northwest corner of the cemetery to investigate the lives of the Armstrong family.  Caleb Hopkins, the man who gave us the name Pittsford after his hometown of Pittsford VT, followed.  Then we passed by Josiel Farr and his wife Rebecca, whose was the first burial at the Pioneer Burying Ground in 1797.  Ultimately, we concluded with the sad tale of Sarah Wood Osgoodby’s children after discussing her brother, Thomas Wood, who served in the 108th New York Volunteer Infantry.

Unfortunately, the rain cut our tour short and we were unable to discuss the lives of Civil War soldiers Ezra A. Patterson of the 108th New York Volunteer Infantry and George Walters of the 1st Battalion of United States Sharp Shooters.  However, I intend to post Hero Highlights for each of them in Illuminated History in the future.

Audrey and I are already hard at work planning a Spring tour at the Pittsford Cemetery.  Please check my Cemetery Tours & Speaking Engagements page for information about this and other upcoming events.


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