Mar 04, 2013 Erin Wisneski Uncategorized
Josiah Parish, a War of 1812 veteran, lies in an unmarked grave along Van Buren Road. There he is joined by 39 other pioneers of this area in what has long-been a forgotten cemetery.
Thanks to a local Boy Scout, these former residents will soon be commemorated with a monument featuring all of their names and marking the plot of land as the Hardscrabble Cemetery. To earn his Eagle Scout badge, Brandon Hart, a junior at Baker High School and member of Troop 107, has taken on the project with the help of Van Buren Councilor Howard Tupper, as well as many others.
“[Mr. Tupper] told me briefly about this cemetery and how the deceased should be memorialized. He then said that there is also possibly a war veteran buried there,” Hart said. “I found it to be a major tragedy that the war veteran is not being memorialized.”
According to Tupper, the Hardscrabble Cemetery “is a typical country burial ground except for the fact it was abandoned many years ago and the stones were laid flat by the town in the 1950s. Overgrown, they were plowed up by a former landowner who did not know what was there, or chose to ignore it.”
The Hardscrabble cemetery got its name from the road it was named after, Hardscrabble Road. Now called Van Buren Road, the plot of land is located between the Route 690 overpass and Jones Road.
“The cemetery operated from 1805 until 1862 as a private graveyard and the association withered away with neglect for the yard becoming obvious,” Tupper said. “Our intent is to commemorate those people with a new marker. The town will maintain it in perpetuity.”
Van Buren officials recently authorized Hart to work on the Hardscrabble Cemetery Monument project. Tupper noted that Hart is looking for help from the community to find out more about the people who were buried there.
“We know all the names, but would like information on possible descendants and more information on one man who we know was in the War of 1812,” Tupper said during a recent board meeting.
In his own words, Hart said he is “picking up the torch from three ladies that spearheaded this movement to reestablish the Hardscrabble Cemetery.” After the tombstones were removed in the 1940s, the land was used as a cornfield until Lesley Voorhees brought the matter to the attention of the town board shortly after the stones were removed, Hart said. In 2003, Helen Page and Jane McIntyre continued Voorhees’ work to commemorate the individuals buried in the cemetery.
While the project seems straightforward, Hart said it’s a lot more than just placing a monument in the center of the cemetery.
“I have to raise $2,180 for just the monument,” he said, adding he needs to landscape the area as well. “I am also working on getting a special gravestone from the VA just for the War of 1812 veteran whose name is Josiah Parish. He served in the New York’s 16th regiment (militia) for Onondaga County.”
To raise money for the project, Hart has been holding bottle and can drives with the help of Lucky 7 Redemption Center in Nobles Plaza along Syracuse Street in the village. So far, he has raised $630 from his first three drives. His next two drives will be held on March 22 and 23.
Hart encourages people interested in supporting the project to donate their bottles and cans to the redemption center; simply ask the counter person to credit the Hardscrabble Cemetery account. If you have information regarding those buried in the cemetery or are interested in making a monetary donation to the project, contact Hart at firstname.lastname@example.org.