St. Mary’s Convent Cemetery

Adjacent to “The Abbey Inn and Spa” mentioned in the previous post stands St. Mary’s Convent Cemetery.

An article titled: “Peekskill’s Historic Community of St Mary” on the New York Almanac mentions the cemetery:

In addition to the historic convent and chapel structures, the site includes a cemetery where the remains of former sisters and workers at the former school are interred. The cemetery is not maintained, and its gravestone markers are uprooted and stacked in a corner of the cemetery. Only the grave monument of CSM founders, Sister Harriet Starr Cannon and a few dozen unmarked cement crosses remain. Another developer bought the school and converted it into an apartment building.

While it may have been true in 2016 that the cemetery was in a state of disrepair, it certainly isn’t now. As you’ll see from the pictures it’s now in excellent condition. In fact, it’s one of the nicest small cemeteries I’ve come across in my area.

Taken with a Panasonic Lumix GX85 and Lumix G Vario 14-140 f3.5-5.6

Another Cemetery in Mount Kisco

According to Patrick Raftery:

The entrance to the Saint Francis Cemetery, Mount Kisco is on the west side of Lexington Avenue opposite its intersection with Smith Avenue. The cemetery adjoins the northern border of Oakwood Cemetery. The cemetery has been active since 1908.

The Church of Saint Francis of Assisi was found in 1868 to serve Roman Catholic residents of Mount Kisco, Bedford, Pleasantville and part of New Castle. During the late 19th century, the Catholics of the Mount Kisco area would have interred theire deceased friends and family at All Souls Cemetery in Pleasantville, St. Augustine’s Cemetery in Ossining or the small burial ground near Succabone Road in the Town of Bedford. After the church in Pleasantville became its own parish in 1894, however, the parishioners of Saint Francis no longer had a cemetery of their own. This dilemma was solved in 1908, when James Wood and his wife, Emily, donate a parcel of land on the north side of Oakwood Cemetery to the Reverend Francis X. Kelly, pastor of the Church of Saint Francis. Interestingly, the Woods were not the parishioners of Saint Francis. However, James was a “founder and trustee of Oakwood Cemetery” and may have “felt that a Catholic cemetery would be an appropriate neighbor”. Today the cemetery still serves the parishioners of Saint Francis of Assisi. (Patrick Raftery, “The Cemeteries of Westchester County, Volume II“. Westchester Historical Society, 2011.)

“The picture below shows a monument, which does not have the name of the family on it. It marks the grave of several young people who died in the first half of the 20th century. In addition to containing a Pietà, it also contains an engraving of a motorcycle, perhaps reflecting the interest of one or more of the deceased.” (Patrick Raftery, “The Cemeteries of Westchester County, Volume II“. Westchester Historical Society, 2011.) I particularly liked the wasps/bees/hornet’s nest at the top right of the picture.

Taken with a Canon EOS Elan and Canon EF 35-70mm f3.5-4.5

A Cemetery in Mount Kisco, NY

A fellow resident of Briarcliff Manor recently gave me box and a suitcase full of old cameras (but that’s a story for a future post). I decided to take one out to see if it was working. But where to go? Anyone who reads these posts will know that I’m fascinated by cemeteries. My friend and colleague at the Briarcliff Manor-Scarborough Historical Society, Karen told me that she’d recently been in nearby Mount Kisco and had spotted some cemeteries. So I decided to go and check them out.

There are actually two cemeteries right next to each other. St. Francis Cemetery (the subject of a future post) and this one, Oakwood Cemetery.

According to Patrick Raftery:

The Oakwood Cemetery in Mount Kisco is located on the East side of Lexington Avenue opposite the intersection of Moor Avenue. It has been active since 1872. From 1872-1883 its official name was Locust Hill Cemetery.

Oakwood Cemetery was mentioned briefly by Joseph Barrett in Scharf’s History of Westchester County, New York: “Oakwood Cemetery, a very beautiful tract of land of fifty-five acres, is in the Village of Mount Kisco. It was laid out by Mr. Chauncey Smith, then the owner of the land, and given the name of Locust Hill about 1872. It was incorporated January 9, 1883 by its present name.”

The first burial in the cemetery “was that of a little girl, the daughter of Mr. Martin Hubbell.” According to the New Castle Town Historian, Chauncey Smith was a real estate entrepreneur who developed land he owned on the east side of Lexington Avenue into a residential neighborhood, while converting his property on the west side of that street into a cemetery. The cemetery had been in operation for barely four years when the “panic of 1876 forced Smith into bankruptcy,” a situation which jeopardized the future of the burial ground. The cemetery was reorganized on November 21, 1882, when “nine local citizens (including some of the original plot owners) for a new corporation…to own and operate the cemetery.” The new corporation changed the name of the burial ground to Oakwood Cemetery, “planted 100 oak trees to validate the name” and offered plots for sale ranging from $25 to $350 per lot. At the present time (Note: this is from a volume printed in 2011), the management of Oakwood Cemetery is planning the construction of a new Mausoleum/columbarium to provide alternatives to the traditional method of in-ground burials. (Patrick Raftery, “The Cemeteries of Westchester County, Volume II“. Westchester Historical Society, 2011.)

“This advertisement (see below) for Oakwood Cemetery appeared in ‘Sketches and Views of the Old and New Villages of Katonah, N.Y’., a booklet that was published in August 1900. The ad targeted Katonah residents who were required to to remove the interments of the relatives from Whitlockville Cemetery as a result of the expansion of the Croton Reservoir.” (Patrick Raftery, “The Cemeteries of Westchester County, Volume II“. Westchester Historical Society, 2011.)

Taken with a Canon EOS Elan and Canon EF 35-70mm f3.5-4.5

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.