26 December 2018

The Vanished Cemetery : North Bethlehem Presbyterian Church Cemetery

In my travels last week, I stopped at the former North Bethlehem Presbyterian Church. The building is located near the corner of Krumkill and Russell Roads. My reason for stopping there? Simple. There is a cemetery present. Unfortunately, you will not notice it easily. There are only two remaining stones on a narrow strip of grass that separates the church parking lot from the next door neighbor's property. A small stone for Lizzie May Faulkner and a small obelisk for Jacob Jacobson remain. The unlevel remains of two former gravestone bases are present also.

Lizzie May Faulkner

Jacob Jacobson obelisk

Jacobson inscription

These marble memorials are all that is left of the cemetery. Actually the cemetery is still there. From what I was told by a very knowledgeable person is that the former church desired to enlarge its parking lot and decided to remove the gravestones. The bodies are still there under the pavement that was laid years ago.

Where the gravestones went is a mystery to me. Perhaps they were laid flat and then paved over? I do not know. Or, could the former memorials be hiding in the basement of the church? Well, that would be easy to find out unless it is a secret?

After a quick search of local reference material, I still do not have any knowledge on the church. But in 1934, William V. Hanney did a survey of the remaining gravestones according to a web site that was found. Perhaps Hanney knew of the plans to remove the stones?  Below is Hanney transcriptions according to the web site.

Survey conducted May 15, 1934 by Colonel William V. Hanney.
Located on Russell Rd (actual location is on Krumkill Road).

Cornelius H. Banker, son of Henry & Gertrude A., d. July 15, 1850, 2 yrs. 4 mos.  4 days

Lizzie May Faulkner, dau. of W. E. & M. G., d. September 2, 1881, 18 mos. 6 days

Goelieb Geiger, d. September 25, 1866, 16 yrs. 8 mos.

William Gilbert, d. April 8, 1845, 62 yrs. 6 mos. 6 days

George Hewitt, d. December 31, 1852, in the 40th yr. of his age.

Hannah Holmes, dau. of Seymour & Mary, d. November 9, 1846, 32 yrs.

Moriah G. Holmes, dau. of Rudgar & Catalina, d. December 6, 1844, 2 yrs. 10 mos. 6  days

Ruth Holmes, d. May 20, 1842, 35 yrs.

Seymour Holmes, d. March 20, 1849, 72 yrs.
Mary Holmes, his wife, d. January 20, 1837, in the 59th yr. of her age

Catharine McC Jacobson, d. August 11, 1843, 3 yrs. 9 mos. 5 days

James McC Jacobson, d. November 3, 1830, 1 yr. 6 mos. 27 days

Jane L. G. jacobson, wife of Simon, d. December 28, 1848, 28 yrs.

Jacob I. Jacobson, d. June 14, 1860, 61 yrs.

John Jacobson, d. June 18, 1843, 75 yrs. 5 days
Maria Jacobson, wife of John, d. December 20, 1861, in the 89th yr of her age

David Klink, d. Oct. 14, 1842, 23 yr.
Sarah R. Klink, his wife, d. July 8, 1842, 23 yrs.

David Klink, son of Stephen and Margaret J., d. March 16, 1845, 2 mos. 26 dys.

Harriet Klink, dau. of Stephen & Margaret J., d. November 30, 1847, 3 mos. 12 days

La Grange
Susan L Grange, wife of Isaac, d. March 1, 1839, 30 yrs. 3 mos. 8 days

Charles R. Lee, d. March 23, 1857, 32 yrs. 4 mos. 15 days

Juliet Onderdonk Lee, wife of Stephen F., d. September 15, 1856, 24 yrs. 5 mos. 21  days

Mary Ett Lee, dau. of Stephen F. & Betsey M., d. November 25, 1861, 5 mos. 14 days

Nancy Lee, wife of Zebulon, d. November 14, 1862, 70 yrs. 2 mos. 24 days

Elizabeth Leonard, consort of Daniel, d. May 5, 1852, in her 79th yr.

Easther Bartlett Oliver, wife of Richard E., d. June 30, 1854, 55 yrs. 11 mos. 15  days

Elizabeth Oliver, dau. of Abram & Mary, d. November 25, 1843, 2 yrs. 5 mos.

John Oliver, son of Richard & Easther, d. September 14, 1841, 5 yrs. 5 mos. 14 days

Christopher Proctor, d. December 8, 1851, 62 yrs.

Jane E. Sager, d. March 3, 1850, 16 yrs.

Samuel H. Schiffer, infant son of C. F. & E. F., 6 mos.

Maria Jacobson Smith, wife of Jonas N., d. January 2, 1844, 38 yrs.

Elizabeth Ann Taylor, wife of Nathan, d. June 1, 1845, 33 yrs. 2 mos. 6 days

Ellen R. Taylor, dau. of Jonathan & Sarah A., d. December 17, 1865, 8 yrs. 9 mos. 9  days

John Taylor, d. February 10, 1850, 70 yrs. 7 mos. 19 days
Mary Gell, wife of John Taylor, d. February 17, 1866, 83 yrs. 6 mos. 30 days

Jonathan Taylor, son of Jonathan & Sarah A., d. August 12, 1859, 8 mos. 10 days

Mary G. Taylor, d. March 31, 1863, 27 yrs. 2 mos. 19 days

Thomas G. Taylor, son of Jonathan & Sarah A., d. March 9, 1855, 3 mos. 5 days

Van Ness
James H. Van Ness,
Kate A. Van Ness,
Emma J. Van Ness, Children of W. W. & B. M. Van Ness

Follow-up from Thursday, 27 December 2018. A quick visit to the New York State Library and a drive to the site on Krumkill Road provides the following information.

The First Presbyterian Church of Bethlehem was organized in 1835 by Rev. John H. Campbell and Rev. William P. Davis. According to a late nineteenth-century county history. The congregation consisted of fifty-three members led by Rev. Davis. The first church building was erected in 1835 with a cost of $1800.

The year 1869 saw an enlargement of the building for $4000 and the church now seats 300. The church served fifty families, ninety communicants, ninety-five Sabbath-school scholars and teachers.

Across the road sits the church parsonage. (Now a residential home). There have been numerous religious incarnations using the church building since the Presbyterian congregation stopped using the property. The source for this information comes to us from; Brewer, Floyd I, ed. Bethlehem Revisited: A Bicentennial Story, 1793-1993. New York: Bethlehem Bicentennial Commission, 1993.

A phone call was placed to someone with knowledge of the church and it appears that the cemetery gravestones vanished sometime between the 1950s and early 1970s. Also, before the Presbyterian's used the lot, the Quakers may have pre-dated them.

Present day views of the church. Looking carefully, the last two remaining gravestones can be seen on the left side of the church building towards the front.

Present day views of the former church parsonage.

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