Southampton’s Center Cemetery nominated to National Register of Historic Places
in the Center Cemetery, Richard Frary, Southampton veteran's grave officer, next to the Capt. Eben Sheldon gravestone Purchase photo reprints »
the site of the first soldier, Calvin Torrey, a Revolutionary War soldier, to be buried in the Southampton Center Cemetery. Purchase photo reprints »
SOUTHAMPTON — Center Cemetery could soon be added to the National Register of Historic Places after a state commission approved the nomination sent in by the town’s Historical Commission.
The cemetery at 178 College Highway includes burials from as far back as 1738 as well as veterans of the Revolutionary, Civil and other wars, said Robert Kozub, the Southampton Historical Commission’s chairman.
“This has been two years in the making,” Kozub said of the nomination. “We felt it was significant enough to try to get some recognition and preserve it for the future,” he said.
The state’s Historical Commission approved the nomination at its Dec. 12 meeting. If approved for the National Register of Historic Places by the National Park Service in Washington, D.C., the cemetery will join the approximately 70,000 sites in the state with the designation.
In addition to receiving a sign bearing its new title, the cemetery would be listed in the online database of historic places and be eligible for certain state restoration grants and tax benefits for rehabilitation projects.
Kozub said the recognition may also draw more visitors to the cemetery, including genealogy buffs looking for their ancestors’ resting places.
He said that the commission members, along with hired consultant Norene Roberts of Goshen, spent hours going through old town records to accurately describe the cemetery’s history in the application. He credited Veterans’ Grave Officer Richard Frary and staff at the Town Hall and the Edwards Public Library for helping as well.
The first burial is that of Simeon Wait, who, according to his gravestone, “died from drinking too much cold water” in 1738. The 6.5-acre site contains 1,912 markers, though it is estimated to contain more than 3,000 graves overall. Although the cemetery is nearly full, burials are still taking place.
Rebecca Everett can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.