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Schodack's Enduring Heritage
Log Meetinghouse Cemetery (Spring 2006)
The Log Meetinghouse Cemetery is one of the oldest public cemeteries in the town of Schodack. Located at the intersection of Sagendorf and North Schodack Roads, the cemetery is on the east side of North Schodack Road across from the site of the Schodack Baptist Church. The church was referred to as St. Peter's Baptist Church in a Stephen Van Rensselaer deed from the 1790s. The church was formed in 1780, and the membership first built a "log meeting-house" for services on the site of the present cemetery. This structure was removed in 1800, and a church was built across the road and remained on the site until 1938 when it was dismantled and moved to Albany County.
The earliest burials in the Log Meetinghouse Cemetery range from 1799 to 1806. Sarah Haff, wife of Ellis Haff died in 1797, aged 63 years. Phebe Myers, wife of Captain Samuel Myers died in 1802, aged 29 years. Joseph Phillips died in 1803, aged 64 years. Edward Connor died in 1806, aged 26 years.
There have been around 180 burials in the two hundred plus years the cemetery has existed. The last burial was in 1941. Many of the stones were marble and are no longer readable due to the effect of time and acid rain on marble.
There are several former church pastors buried here as well as veterans of the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812 and the Civil War. The first full-time pastor, Reverend Stephen Olmstead died in 1832 and is buried in the cemetery. Other former pastors buried here include Reverend William Harris who died in 1848 and Reverend Thomas Green who died in 1887.
Thanks to research by local resident Glenn Hankle, the following war veterans have been documented as being buried in the Log Meetinghouse Cemetery. From the Revolutionary War, the burials include Abraham Bliss, died (d.) 1829; John Clapp, d. 1838; Thomas Frost, d. 1820; John Lewis, d. 1818 (stone gone); Reverend Stephen Olmstead, d. 1832; John Palmer, d. 1832; Joseph Phillips, d. 1803; Colonel Elisha Steward, d. 1839; and Stephen Van Voorhees, d. 1823. Captain Samuel Myers who died in 1823 was a veteran of the War of 1812. The Civil War veterans buried here include John A. Howard, Company A, Seventh New York, Heavy Artillery; Samuel Mackey, Company A, Regular Vermont Volunteers; and Abiather Van Buren, Company H, 125 Regt, New York Volunteers.
Those persons familiar with families who have lived in this area will recognize the names of graves such as Bliss, Curtis, Frost, Gowie, Greene, Harrington, Shants and Traver with the Herrick and Phillips families having the most prominent monuments.
Some of the gravestones from the early 1800s have interesting epitaphs offering thoughts about the deceased or life in general. One particularly poignant inscription appears on the grave of Mrs. Ann Benton who died in 1815, aged 29 years. She was the daughter of Reverend Olmstead, mentioned above. Her epitaph reads:
Stop kind reader, drop a tear
Time and neglect are the greatest enemies of old cemeteries such as the Log Meetinghouse Cemetery. Nature can quickly reclaim untended graves. For many years the cemetery was abandoned, overgrown with weeds and hidden by large trees. Starting in 1938, local residents recorded the graves in the cemetery comparing them to the few church records that survived. The existing graves were again recorded in 1966 and 1980. In 1991 the Historical Society of Esquatak, the local historical society for the towns of Schodack and Nassau, started a major restoration effort resulting in the cemetery as you see it today.
Diane Hutchinson, Historian
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