Tumbling down in Skaneateles

Lost Benson Road Cemetery to get town's attention?

Skaneateles has several cemeteries in very good repair. But also just one out of sorts can be incredibly disturbing to those who tread on its sacred ground.

Beth Batlle, Skaneateles town historian, said that grave markers imply the following sentiment: "I was here once and I counted once, so don't forget me."

Batlle brought the condition of the Benson Road Cemetery to the town board last month. She reported that she and Councilor Spain, Councilor Laxton, Janet Aaron, Karl Eldredge, Bruce Famoly and Joe Dwyer had visited the cemetery on Benson Road near the corner of Hencoop. It is nearly impossible to find this sacred ground from the road because it has fallen into such disrepair.

"I would like to see a fence," Batlle said, "and at the very least a sign designating the site (as a town cemetery)."

Many of the town's outlying cemeteries have signs, such as Sheppard Settlement.

The cemetery in question should not be confused with Benson Road's Quaker cemetery that is just off to the right (north) as you head up the road from West Lake Road.

Batlle said this particular cemetery is a very isolated area. Stones are tipped over and Batlle said, "I'm not sure mother nature did all the tipping over."

She also said that two Revolutionary War soldiers were buried there.

Town Councilor Ellen Kulik asked if there might be grant money available because of the site's historical significance.

Town Councilor Barbara Spain, who is also a member of the Daughters of the American Republic, said the DAR would provide markers but she didn't think grant moneys would be available.

Town Attorney Mary Kendrick-Gaffney said the town should care for and maintain the cemetery. The town board requested the town clerk check with the Division of Cemeteries with NYS Department of State to see if grants might be available.

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