May 25, 2012


Signs mark DeRuyter history

Students make, install new signs for 7 area cemeteries

SignsBob Ellis/staff photographer
DeRuyter High School sophomore Hayley Rousseau paints one of seven news signs last week that are being installed at old cemeteries surrounding DeRuyter. Rousseau and about 25 other DeRuyter students made the wood plank signs and installed most of them this week.

Staff Reporter

DeRUYTER — Seven cemeteries around the village and surrounding towns are getting new signs, courtesy of DeRuyter High School students.
The project is costing the Tromptown Historical Society only $350 for materials. The labor is free, as students have made and installed the signs. They installed four Wednesday and two on Thursday, with one more scheduled for next Friday.
The signs are made with cedar planks, three to each sign, carved with the names and founding dates of the cemetery. One cemetery will get four planks to accommodate two names: Merchant/Smith, where there was some disagreement over which name was the more accurate, said Danita Kinner, the historical society’s board of directors president.
Students carved, stained and varnished the signs the past couple of weeks in the school agriculture and technology education shop. Late last week, they were painting the letters a dark yellow, after first rejecting a yellow paint that looked too bright and gaudy for the signs’ purpose.
Teacher Mary Coolbaugh said about 25 students in three classes made the signs.
The cedar planks, which are 2 inches thick, were attached to 6-foot pressure-treated posts, two per sign.
The signs are for the Merchant/Smith Cemetery at the intersection of South Lake and Middle Lake roads, established in 1796; Burdick Cemetery on East Lake Road, 1798; Wells Cemetery on Hunt Road and the Old Burying Ground on Albany Street, both 1811; Crumb Hill Cemetery on Mariposa Road, 1816; Union Burying Ground off Utica Street in the village, behind the former Seventh Day Baptist Church, 1829; and Quaker Basin Cemetery on Crumb Hill Road, started about 1846.
Kinner said the idea for new signs came from Sue Greenhagen, historian for the town of Eaton and village of Morrisville. Charles Walters, the DeRuyter superintendent of schools, serves on the Tromptown Historical Society board and suggested the signs could be a school project.
The name of the Union Burying Ground might simply mean municipal burying ground, since “union” could refer to gathering places, as in the Union Hall, the former town hall that burned in 1946. Kinner said four Civil War soldiers are buried there and about 90 percent of the people in that cemetery are related to each other.


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