Webster cemetery finds historic burials, pushes effort to preserve Revolutionary War-era sites

Webster

WEBSTER, N.Y. (WROC) — George Baker with Webster Union Cemetery on the corner of Woodhull Road, says graves here go back to at least the 18th century. 

“We have Revolutionary War vets here, we have Civil War vets, every war that was ever fought in this county,” says Baker, adding, “these stones are 200 years old and they’re deteriorating rapidly, we’re going to lose them.”

Genealogist Cherie Wood with the Daughters of the American Revolution, says every plot here is a story, conserving them– particularly the Revolutionary War-era sites– is critical for the future.

“These aren’t just stones…these were people who just…founded our town,” says Wood. 

The effort now is underway to preserve at least four of these with permanent bronze markers. They are hoping to secure donations. But the work doesn’t end there. Recently sites were found by the dozens– people they believe who helped to settle Webster, then known as ‘North Field’.

Scattered orange poles and patches of sunken earth mark the spots. Based on burial positionings, Baker says some of the resting spots could even be Native American (Christian burials usually face the direction of east-west…some of the other graves in question are facing north, leading Baker to think they might be Native in origin).

“We have people buried in here we don’t even know…we’ve been using ground-penetrating radar to help us locate (them),” says Baker. The ground radar was provided by On the Mark Locating, with operator Wayne Coleman donating his time at the cemetery. 

While it’s going to be tough to identify who these people were, Baker says keeping up where they rest is important. The plan is to get markers for these spots eventually, marked “Known unto God”. 

“It’s all about preserving history because if we don’t do it, who is going to do it?” says Baker. 

When it comes to preserving the four Revolutionary War-era graves, the cemetery is looking for donations. If you’d like to learn how you can help, Baker would be honored to speak with you.

You can call the cemetery at 585-265-2890. 

The cemetery is also planning a re-enactment there on July 30th co-hosted by the Daughters of the American Revolution and local veterans organizations. 

(Fun fact: You might have noticed we mentioned the cemetery is off of Woodhull Road. Buried at the cemetery is a cousin of Abraham Woodhull. Woodhull was a member of the famous ‘Culper Spy Ring’ that fed intelligence directly to then-General George Washington during the Revolutionary War. As Baker told us, back then, if one family member was in a spy ring, all the family was ‘in’ on it).

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