History of Pine Grove Cemetery
The Pine Grove Cemetery was known as the "new
cemetery" to distinguish it from the old one on Swaggertown Road (the
Jeremiah Smith Cemetery).
As families settled in Charlton, roads and schools were
built to accommodate the increase in population but they had other concerns as
well. Many families, Low, Cavert, Brown, Hayes, Marvin, to name a few, wanted a
cemetery in the southern portion of the town and formed a committee to locate a
suitable and affordable site. The first
parcel of 2 acres, situated on a knoll and surrounded with pine trees, was purchased
from Thaddeus Hayes for one hundred dollars.
Work began immediately to prepare the site which included
building a bridge across a small creek which runs parallel to the road. Lots
sold quickly for $5.00 and soon it became obvious that more land was required. Four additional acquisitions were made, the
last in 1914 bringing it to the current size (slightly over 6 acres). The earliest recorded burial at this site was
Anna Taylor in 1779. The present name of
the cemetery was first used in 1847.
April 1, 1818 a committee representing the board of
trustees of the Freehold Presbyterian Church met with the board of trustees of
Pine Grove in search of a lot in an incorporated cemetery to relocate the
stones from the Freehold Cemetery. They
were appropriated a lot in the south east portion. The stones dating from 1787 were moved and
placed in three even rows.
The wooden bridge was a concern to all and many discussions
took place in regards to replacing it. Finally, in 1904 the trustees agreed to
build a stone bridge to last many years and require little maintenance. Alexander Crane, an architect, drew plans for
an arched, stone bridge as the replacement. George F. Smith took charge of construction
and gathering material. A stone cutter,
William Barrett, was hired to cut the stone, and on April 3, 1905 the arched
bridge was completed. Since some of the materials
and labor were donated, the total cost was only $128.32.
In 1999 an engineer was asked to inspect it and found,
although narrow by today's standard, it is in perfect condition. The small bridge across the creek at the
entrance is an example of fine architectural masonry, as is the Morehouse
Notables buried in Pine Grove include the following:
Morehouse died April 23, 1895, age 20 years, daughter of a prosperous farmer
and merchant. She left a will in which
she requested her brother, Frank, to build a vault for her burial. He purchased two lots for the vault, a final resting
place for Effie, which has become one of Charlton's many landmarks. In her will, Effie stated that she wished to be
buried in a mahogany casket to be placed in a vault. At one time children had been playing on the
arched roof of the vault and pried the front facade away from the roof, allowing
rain and melting snow to creep into the vault. Legend circulated that Effie was placed in a
glass casket, and children were warned not to throw stones at the iron door,
nor stomp on the roof top, as any sudden jar might crack the glass coffin, and
her remains would go up in a cloud of dust. This legend kept her remains intact, until the
1970's, when neighboring children began to play on the roof. They pushed the front wall away from the roof,
thus leaving a large opening between the two. The stone had to be removed to re-cement the
joints, and it was found that vandals had dropped down into the vault and
scrambled Miss Morehouse's dress, and bones. It was then discovered that the
casket was made of mahogany, not glass. It
was feared the frost would topple the stone front. Because children had found access to the vault,
the roof was repaired and the door was permanently sealed during the 1980's to
prevent further vandalism or injury to children playing there.
Low, 1795-1860, for many years held the office of Saratoga County Sheriff. He was a descendant of James Low, who in 1775,
settled on a farm located on Division Street that is now owned by The Black
family. Thomas Low resided on the farm
south of the Low homestead.
Conde, a descendent of Jesse Conde, who was one of the first to settle in this
area in 1774. Albert was born in Charlton
in 1868, and died at Oneida, NY in 1960. Mr. Conde is credited with getting a patent on
one of the first dairy milking machines, near the Syracuse area.
Millard, who died October.2l, 1871 at age 76 years. He owned the farm adjacent to the Freehold
Church. His most noteworthy accomplishment
was that he housed in his home the Charlton Union Free Library. The library was later taken over by District
Boyd Packer 1797-1868. In 1859 he owned
the first farm on the west side of Maple Avenue. At the location of the new District #8
schoolhouse, he donated the land for the school. For his generosity, he was exempted from
paying school taxes for many years. He
held the office of Assessor in 1838. His
most noteworthy contribution to our heritage was the Waterford style brick house,
complete with the roof steps to the chimneys. With progress, these parapets have been
removed. When the Clute family owned this
farm, they operated their Maple Avenue Dairy.
Dell- This is a grouping of early sandstone markers. For many years it has been a mystery why the
stones are set so close together. In
researching, it was learned that there had been a graveyard behind the Freehold
Church. When the present church was built
in 1853, the stones and remains of the people buried there were removed and
placed in this dell in the southeast comer of Pine Grove. Some believe that only the stones were moved
to Pine Grove; accounting for the closeness of the stones. One of these stones is for Jesse Conde, Jr., who
died before his father created the private burial ground on the west half of their
farm. This corner of Pine Grove received
the most serious damage during the wind storm of 2008 (see below).
Hiller, 1776-1835 operated a gristmill at the Little Troy settlement. Most likely, Mr. Hiller was a cooper, and made
his own barrels for the grains that he ground in his mill.
Taylor Aug 28, 1749 to Apri126, 1829 was born in Freehold, NJ and moved to
Charlton with his wife Chloe. He was a successful
farmer. For 30 years he was a member of
the Presbyterian Church in Charlton. "He died without a struggle, or a groan,
in the full possession of his faculties and in firm faith of a glorious resurrection".
His fifth son John Taylor was New York's
Speaker of the House of Representatives (1820-21 and 1825-27).
Knapp, 1822-1896 resided in the brown shingled house adjacent to the village
park. Mr. Knapp operated a blacksmith and
carriage shop to the rear of the house.
Laura Crane, who in 1847 developed a unique hobby by conducting a human hair
canvas of friends and relatives. The results
totaled 74 persons; there were 48 heads of brown, 9 heads of black, 7 heads of blond,
5 redheads, and 5 heads of gray.
Jess E. Martin, daughter of Richard. Miss
Martin received her certificate for teaching and taught children in one-room schoolhouses
in all of the adjacent towns. She had said
that in many rural homes where she had to board out, she was hardly given enough
to eat to make up for the strenuous walking to and from the schoolhouse. Her tribute to our heritage is that she was the
last to teach at the District #8 schoolhouse, when it was then closed as a part
of the new central school systems. With
the closing of the one room schoolhouse, the residents gave up their home rule,
started by Gideon Hawley in 1813.
Springer 1869-1956. Mr. Springer was the
last to operate the pump factory at Jockey Street where he manufactured wooden
pumps to raise water to the surface in dug wells. When the Charlton Historic Society was organized
in 1966, the design of the Springer pump was adopted as their emblem. Mr. Springer, a staunch democrat, was elected
a supervisor for one term. In this
republican stronghold, he was beaten out in the next election by a "kissin
cousin", Elmer Smith (see below).
Zietkowski, at the age of 15 years fell of his father's hay-wagon and fractured
his skull. It appears that because of
the isolation of their farm, the family did not attend the church of their
faith, and Joseph was refused burial in a Catholic cemetery, so his parents
opted for this location. Both of his
parents also rest here.
Hequembourg, prominent business man and also a former Charlton town supervisor.
Smith 1896-1970 owned the farm on the comer of Eastern Avenue and Division
Street. Former Charlton town supervisor,
and later Saratoga County Commissioner of Jurors.
Cost of maintenance has
always been severe problem as it is today. The Rotary Club, Eagle Scouts, lot owners, and
others in the community have volunteered their time and resources and have
spent many hours helping with some of what needed to be accomplished.
The Association meets
regularly each year to discuss concerns and make plans to maintain and enhance
the site. Future plans are to create an
Urn Garden and repair many of the very old stones. The stately pines have served us well but have
reached the time of replacement. Future plans include, replacing them with
young pines in keeping with the name, Pine Grove.
In 2008, a severe wind
storm, followed the next winter by an ice storm, caused extensive damage to the
property. Old stones were further
damaged and many trees were lost. While
we have recovered somewhat, it will take time and funding to repair stones and
remove more of the damaged trees.