Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Livingston's Historic Cemeteries

Livingston's 200th Birthday is next year and I'm on the Cemetery Committee. There are 5 historic cemeteries in town: Baldwin Family Burying Ground, Ely Cemetery, Federated Baptist Churchyard, Littell-Stiles Burying Ground and Northfield Baptist Cemetery. The committee is seeking approval to do general clean-up work and repair broken or fallen stones. We have created memorial pages on Find A Grave for all interments and  most have photographs.   

The Baldwin Family Burying Ground is a small family cemetery established c. 1784. There are 25 interments which include one soldier who served in the French & Indian War and two in the Revolutionary War. 

The Crowned Soul Effigy is on four gravestones. The carving is most likely the work of Uzal Ward, a stone cutter from Newark, NJ.

In memory of Robert
Son of David & Elizabeth 
Baldwin who Died
Nov'br 11 1787 Aged 8 Days
Sleep here dear babe
Till Christ revive ye day 
To join the triumph 
On the judgement day

The Ely Cemetery is the burial ground of Captain William Ely (1715-1802) and his descendants. Former mayor of New York City, Smith Ely (1825-1911) is interred here as are many members of New York society. 

This impressive monument is for Julia Ely Dow (1866-1935). I love finding "newsy" items such as this one from the New York Times, Feb. 23, 1913: 

Mrs. Smylie Weds Again
Divorcee's Marriage to Dr. Edmund Le Roy Dow is a Surprise

The announcement of the marriage of Mrs. Julia Ely Smylie to Dr. Edmund Le Roy Dow came as a surprise to all but their nearest friends...This is Mrs. Dow's third marriage. She married Benjamin Griffen after the death of her first husband, and last Fall she obtained a divorce from Mr. Griffen at Reno, Nev. She has two children by her first marriage--Miss Marjorie E. Smylie and Charles A. Smylie...

Many of the founding fathers and mothers of The Federated Church of Livingston are interred in this cemetery known as the Federated Baptist Churchyard est. c. 1848. Surnames include Teed, Force, Baker, Parkhurst and Van Zee. The earliest gravestone is dated 1848, the most recent 1991.

I was down on my hands and knees trying to read the inscription on this small gravestone. To my surprise it said "Laura J."

It was kind of tricky to get the camera in the correct position--this is the best I could do.  

The Littell-Stiles Burying Ground was est. c. 1815. The three remaining gravestones are located within a townhouse development.  

The Livingston Historical Society provided this plaque with the names of those who are buried there.

The Northfield Baptist Cemetery was est. c. 1790 when "one acre of land was purchased from Moses Edwards for burying place." There are over 340 interments--the earliest 1795, the most recent 2010. Among the many soldiers who are buried here are six from the Revolutionary War, one from the War of 1812, nine from the Civil War, and one from World War II. In addition, nine clergy including the earliest Deacon Thomas Forse (1759-1827). 

One of my favorites is this gravestone of a young soldier, Isaac Sharp, who died in 1864 at the age of seventeen.

The binders we've created for each cemetery include the history of the church, if applicable, printouts of all the memorials on Find A Grave plus any photographs and additional information. All the notable interments have been documented including gravestones of soldiers, clergy, interesting symbols, epitaphs and top surnames. 

Epaphras Cook d. 1809
Dear friends I bid you all farewell
Shure I no longer here can dwell
For death now on me lays his hand
And I must go at his command.



Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Robert Bower Made A Difference

Robert Bower, my maternal 2nd great-grandfather, emigrated from Liverpool to New York in 1856 on board the tall ship, William Tapscott. He fought for his country. He was an agitator for the ten-hour work day in the textile mills. He was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives. He published The Lawrence Journal. He was a labor leader. He made a difference.

Born April 28, 1828 in Stockport, Cheshire, England, Robert was a son of William Bower and Mary Andrew of whom I know nothing about. They are on my elusive ancestor list.

My 2nd great-grandmother, Phebe Marsland, was christened March 8, 1829 at St. Michael's, Ashton Under Lyne, Lancashire, England. Robert and Phebe were married December 26, 1847. In 1851, they were both 23 years old--he was a school master, she was a steam loom weaver. They settled in Lawrence, MA, where they had 11 children. Phebe died when she was only 48 years old.

Before he even became a U.S. citizen, Robert served in the Civil War as a Private with Co. C, 50th Regiment, Mass. Volunteer Infantry from 1862-63. Family lore is that he came home from the war with a dog and a young boy. Here he is at age 80 no doubt quite proud that he could still fit into his uniform.

In 1868, Robert established his own printing business. Originally known as Robert Bower, Card and Job Printer, it was later renamed Robert Bower & Co. When his son Charles Robert Bower joined the business it was known as Robert Bower & Son.

At the age of 42, Robert was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives, 1870-71. He was instrumental in enacting the 10-hour work day in the textile mills and is known to have lost his job in the mill on account of this activity. He is second from the left in the bottom row.

From 1873-1877 Robert Bower & Co. published The Lawrence Journal in which Robert expressed his views about labor rights and organizations. Its slogan was "Justice to All--Injustice to None."

Here he is in the back yard of the Bower home, 20 Stafford St., Lawrence, MA.

Robert died August 21, 1912 and is buried in Bellevue Cemetery, Lawrence, MA, with his first wife, Phebe, and their two sons both named James; also, his second wife Jane Robinson Bower and step-daughter, Annie Robinson Bower.

"Tis over now and God has claimed his soul, To rest in peace, behind the Heavenly gate, Where many honest hearts have gone before, But none returned from yonder past that door."