Cudmore: Stories of some residents of Amsterdam’s Green Hill Cemetery

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From 2012 through 2019 the Historic Amsterdam League conducted seven Ghosts of the Past tours at the city’s Green Hill Cemetery adjacent to City Hall on Church Street.

In a booklet prepared by Jerry Snyder, obituaries are provided for the 62 residents who were portrayed in the tours. The booklet is available at the League’s website.

The first Amsterdamian to play major league baseball, Walter C. Hammond, was nicknamed Wobbly for “his stance and motion covering second base,” according to Snyder. Hammond played for teams in Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Kansas City in the early 1920s.

He also coached baseball and basketball at Colgate, his alma mater. Later he worked as a chemist and played on the Simmons Corporation baseball team in the summer.

He was head of that company’s laboratory when he died in 1942.

Lewis Putnam Strang liked fast cars. A descendant of Revolutionary War general Israel Putnam, Strang was born in Amsterdam in 1884. He died in 1911.

Snyder wrote that Strang “became the first Indy driver ever killed, pinned beneath his car when it overturned during a reliability test run in Wisconsin, going four miles per hour.”

The year Strang died he had taken part in the first Indianapolis 500 race. Strang previously did well in named auto races, even beating legendary driver Barney Oldfield.

Fanny Bartlett, who lived into her 90s, was the daughter of Chandler and Fanny Lefferts Bartlett. Her father Chandler owned a shoe store and was an “enthusiastic” abolitionist. Fanny and her sister operated a private school in their home.

Snyder wrote, “Fanny was very active in the Women’s Christian Temperance Union” and the campaign for women’s suffrage. Her ancestors included Mayflower pilgrims John and Priscilla Alden and Josiah Bartlett, a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

Worley Moat was born in New Jersey in 1857. His family came to Amsterdam when he was about 13 and started a brewery where Worley was a clerk.

He also found employment as a printer and was a designer for Sanford Carpet Mills. Snyder wrote that Moat was “an authority on the breeding and raising of prize winning chickens.”

His sketches of chickens were “displayed in leading poultry journals.” Moat died in 1908 after breaking his neck falling down the stairs in his home.

He left his wife, formerly Ella Groat, and two daughters.

Daisy Crouse Rhinehart was interred at age 79 in 1961 in the Crouse family mausoleum. She was placed in a bronze casket dressed in her ermine wrap.

Her father, David, was one of the original owners of the large carpet mill on Lyon Street, the upper mill. Daisy divorced twice.

Her first husband, John Smith, was a traveling trading stamp salesman. She and second husband Roy Rhinehart had homes in Saratoga Springs and Florida. In 1955, an assault complaint was lodged against Daisy by her cook.

After allegedly biting the Saratoga undersheriff, she was dubbed Hurricane Daisy in the local newspapers. 

Amsterdam was a center for bobsled racing on its steep hills in the late 1800s. An 1887 winter carnival was a big success with bonfires, parties, parades and out of town competitors.

The 1888 Winter Carnival moved the bobsled run from Northampton Road to Market Street.

Harley Plantz, 18, was the “youngest member of the Reindeer sled team,” according to Snyder.

Snyder wrote, “With the racing concluded and the winners announced, his team decided to make one last run just to see if they could beat the night’s winning time.”

Their bobsled hit a lamp post.

Harley Plantz died from his injuries during the night and was buried at Green Hill Cemetery.

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