History of the Cemetery

This brief account of the Washingtonville Cemetery appeared on the front page of The Whig Press on Wednesday, 4 March 1857.

Even with headstones bearing such early dates as 1784, it is hard to know with certainty when the first burial occurred or who was the first to be interred in the cemetery. As the population expanded in Washingtonville and the surrounding area, many farms were sold off and several families chose to disinter their relatives from their small, private burial plots on their farms and brought them to the cemetery for re-interment.

In 1854, the First Presbyterian Church of Washingtonville purchased a home on North Street to be used as the church’s manse. This land included approximately five to six acres which were to be used as a cemetery. A map (show below), dated 20 June 1855, was created by Robert Denniston and consisted of 140 plots that had been divided and offered for sale.

In 1864 the church purchased an additional 7 acres and in 1935, more land was secured with a sale between the church and the towns of Blooming Grove, Chester, New Windsor and Hamptonburgh. An old school academy on the grounds was taken down so the church could use this land for burials.

Map of the original 140 plots as drawn by Robert Denniston, date 20 June 1855.

The back of the map completed with Robert Denniston’s signature.
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