By Jasmine Willis
NORTH COHOCTON — As you drive along the country roads you will see forgotten relics of our history left as crumbling time capsules to those who are now guarded by the keepers of their stories.
Cohocton Town Historian, Geraldine Deusenbery is the keeper of these very stories and has done lots of research to bring them to light.
On Nov. 12 the Old Clearview Cemetery Historical Marker Dedication took place with Deusenbery, Atlanta and North Cohocton Post Commander Jeff Emmons, and Old Clearview Cemetery Maintainer Barry Fairbrother.
Deusenbery told this local reporter about the intense research done on the Revolutionary War Veterans and War of 1812 Veterans buried in this small cemetery on the hill.
“It was interesting for me to discover that the cemetery belonged to the North Cohocton Methodist Church for a long time. I always thought it belonged to the Clearview Cemetery Association that was formed in 1819. They transferred ownership of the cemetery to the town in 1984,” she said. “It was quite complicated for me to get a sign from this William Pomeroy Foundation. I have written down all of the people who are buried in here. They only wrote on the sign Revolutionary War and War of 1812. They didn’t tell the names of these soldiers.”
“I had to get the information that the foundation required to say that these men were in these different wars. By using Find A Grave I was able to get a lot of the information they needed. Merle Wheaton was the former town historian and he had gotten plaques made for two of the veterans. He made one for Daniel Spike and Joseph Havens of the Revolutionary War. There is a third guy named Stephen Crawford,”Deusenbery continued.
Deusenbery had to work extra hard to find the information on War of 1812 soldiers.
“In order to get to the War of 1812 guys I had to join this Fold Three thing. In order to prove to the foundation these people were in the War of 1812 I had to get their pension papers. Smedley Andrews was in War of 1812. The information shows where he served and that he served with Capt. Robert Whitaker’s N.Y. Military. It is interesting that he also served as a teamster. This meant he drove the horses,” she said. “Capt. Benjamin David Berg should be easy to find in there too. His family had done a lot of research on him, so I was able to get his information on War of 1812. Isaac Parmenter served in War of 1812 with Capt. Rowley and Capt. John Kennedy in the N.Y. Military. This last guy the stones sunk in so much it looks like only his first name and his wife’s first name can be seen now. John Nichoson was in the War of 1812. I found in an old newspaper clipping when these first guys served in War of 1812 and Revolutionary War they were given land to claim so many acres. Nichoson was able to claim 80 acres of land in Cohocton for serving in the war. He served with Capt. James Reads of Second Regiment.”
Emmons has been post commander of his legion since 1987. He has placed along with his members 240 flags on the graves in these cemeteries for Memorial Day.
“This is a great achievement for us to get this historical marker. I know a lot of people travel this road every day. We will see if they stop and take a look,” he said. “I wish Merle Wheaton would’ve been alive to see this day. He is the original one who worked on getting these men recognized. His wife, Beatrice, was a WWII Veteran who is buried with him. Lena Richards is our only female veteran from WWII who served and was killed in the war. She is buried there too. Merle did research on these veterans and got two plaques for our Revolutionary War soldiers. He was a local history teacher, and he loved this cemetery.”
Fairbrother was the one who erected the historical marker on the cemetery. He has been keeping the property maintained for the town over the years.
Many of these stones need to be worked on in the historic cemetery including these war heroes so the three are working on ideas to make this happen.
They also are working on getting markers placed with the other war heroes to identify their graves and service to our country.
Revolutionary War at Old Clearview Cemetery; Stephen Crawford (1764-1819), Joseph Havens (1753-1833), and Daniel Spike (1756-1845).
War of 1812 at Old Clearview Cemetery; Smedley Andrews (1796-1882), Capt. Benjamin David Breg (1798-1840), John Nichoson (1792-1853), and Isaac Parmenter (!756-1826).
Old Clearview Cemetery is located at 3455 State Route 21 North Cohocton. It was established in 1819. Although it is discovered a burial took place as early as 1817. Burials took place here until 1884. Across the street burials continued for the community as they honored the keepers of ancient stories.