The one I missed. Pleasantville, All Souls Cemetery

Last month I did posts on three small cemeteries located in the same vicinity in Pleasantville, NY (See: Three Cemeteries in Pleasantville – Overview and Methodist Church; Three Cemeteries in Pleasantville – Palmer Family Plot; Three Cemeteries in Pleasantville – Banks Cemetery.

At the time I didn’t realize that there was another cemetery in Pleasantville: All Souls Cemetery. When I discovered that there was, off I went to check it out. It’s a lot larger than the other three. I tend to like older cemeteries and at first glance this seemed to be just another late 19th Century cemetery. It doesn’t have any celebrity interments and seemed to have little to commend it. However, as I walked around, I noticed a lot of interesting statuary and gravestones. I particularly liked the grotto mentioned below. All things considered a pleasant cemetery. I might come back in spring to see what it has in terms of flowering plants and shrubs.

According to Patrick Raftery:

The first Catholic Church in Pleasantville was built on the present site of Holy Innocents Church in 1876. At the time it was constructed, the church was not a part of a separate parish, but rather was administered from the Church of Saint Francis in Mount Kisco. At the urging of the pastor of Saint Francis, Father Michael Newman, Archbishop John McCloskey purchased a five-acre parcel on Marble Avenue from Letty J. Rosell on April 27, 1882, for use as a cemetery. Sadly, Father Newman died five years later at the age of 39. The Pleasantville church became a separate parish on July 1, 1894

The southeast section of the cemetery is reserved for deceased priests, nuns and brothers, whose graves a generally marked by simple crosses. An exception is the grave of Father Newman, whose interment is marked by a column acknowledging him as the founder of the cemetery. A grotto near the eastern fence of the cemetery notes that many of the nuns buried here had served at Saint Thomas School, an elementary school operated by the Dominican Sisters from 1897 to 1985 and attached to the Holy Innocents parish. Perhaps the most notable of the clergy and religious buried here is the Reverand Andrea Felix Morlion (190-1987), a native of Belgium who founded the International Pro Deo Union, the L’Università Pro Deo, and Libera Università Internatzionale degli Studi Sociali in Italy. Today [Note: the book was published in 2011] All Souls Cemetery is nearly full. Overshadowed as the favored final resting place for the area’s Roman Catholics by nearby Gate of Heaven Cemetery, it is still occasionally used by parishioners of Holy Innocents. (Patrick Raftery, “The Cemeteries of Westchester County, Volume II“. Westchester Historical Society, 2011.

For more pictures see All Souls.

Taken with a Sony A7IV and Sony FE 28-70 f3.5-5.6 OSS.

Three Cemeteries in Pleasantville – Banks Cemetery

According to Patrick Raftery:

The development of rural cemeteries in southern and western Westchester County in the mid-19th century had not reached Pleasantville by the time of the Civil War, and the residents who did not belong to its Methodist church had little choice but to bury their loved oes in other municipalities such as Ossining, Tarrytown and White Plains. Henry R. Banks (1823-1890), a resident of Pleasantville, responded to this problem by purchasing a two-acre parcel across from the Pleasantville Methodist Chruch Cemetery from John W. Palmer on May 1, 1863. Fittingly, this piece of property also bordered the south side of Mr. Palmer’s family burial ground. Mr. Banks divided this property into several dozen 20-foot-square plots. After Mr. Banks died in 1890, ownership of the cemetery passed to Mrs. Olive Washburne, from whom a plot for 14 graves could be purchased for $50 in 1910. The condition of the cemetery declined until the late 20th century, at which time it was taken over by the town of Mount Pleasant. Today, burials are still occasionally made by plot owners.

Taken with a Fuji X-E3 and Sigma 18-50mm f2.8

Three Cemeteries in Pleasantville – Palmer Family Plot

Again, according to Patrick Raftery:

A second burial ground was founded in Pleasantville by the Palmer family, from whom the Pleasantville Methodist congregation acquired the land for their 1852 church. Writing for Scharf’s “History of Westchester County, New York” in 1886, the Reverent John A. Tod provided the following information regarding the Palmers of Pleasantville:

The ancestors of the Palmer family in America were three brothers of whom Abijah was the great-grandfather of Stephen Palmer. Mr. Palmer’s grandfather was Stephen Palmer…and his father was Harvey Palmer, who also inherited this ground [in Pleasantville} and occupied it through life, leaving it to his son John, in whose possession it remains.

A native of Greenwich, Connecticut, the elder Stephen Palmer moved to Pleasantville in the 1790s. Stephen and his wife, Azuba, were interred in the White Plains Methodist Church Cemetery. In 1841 the couple’s son Harvey established his own family burial ground on his property near the Pleasantville Methodist Church. The boundaries of the Palmer Family Burial ground were established on May 1,1855, when Harvey and Phebe Palmer deeded the majority of the plot to James H Palmer, “with a privilege to pass to and from said lot through the gate”. Additionally, the Palmers gave a portion of the cemetery measuring 11′ by 133′ to Drake Waterbury, who was the husband of Harvey Palmer’s sister Eliza. Unlike nearly all the other family cemeteries in Westchester, the Palmer burial ground has continued to be used, albeit sparingly, until the present day. The most recent interment was made in 2006.

Taken with a Fuji X-E3 and Sigma 18-50mm f2.8

Three Cemeteries in Pleasantville – Overview and Methodist Church Cemetery

A while ago I was passing through Pleasantville, NY and I noticed three cemeteries all together along one stretch of road. According to Westchester County Historical Society’s, Patrick Raftery in his magnificent “The Cemeteries of Westchester County, Volumes I – III“:

These three burial grounds are located near the intersection of Broadway and Church Street…The Pleasantville Methodist Church Cemetery…is located on the west side of Broadway just south of Church Street. The Palmer Family Burial Ground…is located on the south side of Church Street about 300 feet east of its intersection with Broadway. Banks Cemetery is located on the east side of Broadway about 350 feet south of its intersection with Church Street.

Raftery continues:

Henry Clark, a trustee of the Methodist Episcopal Society, donated a three-quarter-acre parcel to that organization in 1818 “for the laudable purpose of divine worship…and a burying ground for the said society”. The society constructed a meeting house at the south end of this lot and set aside the northern portion of the parcel as a place for the interment of church members. The size of the congregation, which “at the beginning was very small,” grew rapidly to the point where a new church was constructed across the street from the burial ground in 1852.

Over time, however, membership declined at this church due to the relocation of the center of activity in Pleasantville from Broadway, to the area surrounding the railroad station, and the Central Methodist Church being erected near the latter place in 1888. However, the fact that the congregation’s burial ground was seldom used in the 20th century was not as a result of fewer church members, but because the graveyard was almost full. The First Methodist Church continued to operate util 1948 when the congregation merged with the Central Methodist Church. Although the two congregations had been discussing a merger for some time, their final decision was hastened by the collapse of the 1852 church’s roof and sidewalls on January 3, 1948, due to the weight of ice and snow that had been left by a blizzard. Today, only the sone wall and steps next to the sidewalk along Broadway remain to indicate the site of the church. By the time of the merger, the Methodist cemetery had essentially ceased to function as an active burial ground. Two burials were made in the cemetery, one of which was the interment of two-day-old Ruthanne Boman who died on May 20th of that year. Only two more interments were ever made in this cemetery during the second half of the 20th Century. They were Ruthanne Boman’s parents, US Army veteran Stanley Boman (1920-1985) and his wife, Dorothy (1921-1984)

Taken with a Fuji X-E3 and Sigma 18-50mm f2.8