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Charlton cemetery getting historical marker

Charlton cemetery getting historical marker

Unveiling ceremony set Saturday
Charlton cemetery getting historical marker
Pine Grove Cemetery is on Stage Road in Charlton.
Photographer: bill buell

In the Saratoga County town of Charlton, there are plenty of people who care about history.

Marvin Livingston, the town of Charlton historian, is one of them, and through his efforts and the work of people such as Maureen O'Connor, the Pine Grove Cemetery on Stage Road will be getting a blue and yellow New York State Historic Marker that will offer a brief summary of the place's 225-plus years.

Livingston, O'Connor and town supervisor Alan Grattidge will all be part of the ceremony Saturday at 11 am. when town officials unveil the new marker.

"It may be a little weird, but I'm into cemeteries," said Livingston, laughing as he talked about Pine Grove's long history. "We've had some projects done by boy scouts and other volunteers restoring the cemeteries, and Pine Grove is one of the three main cemeteries in Charlton. The other two are the one on Sweetman Road and the one in West Charlton, and while Pine Grove isn't the oldest, it has been around a long time."

A town of Ballston native who moved to Charlton 60 years ago, Livingston has been Charlton's town historian for five years. O'Connor, meanwhile, isn't a Charlton native or a resident, but she is on the board of the cemetery's not-for-profit organization.

"I grew up in Rexford, but my father came from a large Irish family that all came from Charlton," said O'Connor. "I live in Clifton Park, but my father and his father were all from Charlton so I thought it was very important to have a marker. This cemetery is an important part of our community. There are veterans of the American Revolution, the Civil War and other veterans in there. It's a great piece of history."

Most of the markers so familiar to many New Yorkers were put up by the Department of Education's History Department between 1926-1966. While the state is no longer involved in the process, organizations and individuals can get their own blue and yellow marker for a fee of $1,200, or apply for a grant from the William G. Pomery Foundation to pay for the marker and it's installation. Securing the Pomery grant was part of O'Connor's job.

"The research was very challenging, but I got a lot of help from people, especially at the Saratoga County historian's office, said O'Connor. "I had to tell the people at the Pomeroy Foundation what was so special about the cemetery. You have to get enough information to justify them giving you the grant."

O'Connor also did some research at Brookside, home to the Saratoga County Historical Society, and spent plenty of time with James Hall, historian of the Freehold Presbyterian Church in Charlton. As for the year her cemetery group was incorporated, 1848, that piece of information was supplied by Saratoga County Historian Loren Roberts.

"She needed the incorporation records and they are filed here at the county offices," said Roberts. "We have a lot of cemetery records here and fortunately Pine Grove happened to be in the group we have."

Roberts said the Pomeroy Foundation has made putting up historic markers much easier for local officials and individuals.

"They are doing a great service for a lot of historians and non-profits with a small budget," said Roberts. "They do require documentation so you have to do your research to get the grant, and they have people who fact-check all of the applications. So you have to have all your ducks in a row and provide primary source material. They just don't hand them out."

According to the Pine Grove Cemetery web site, there are over 100 veterans buried there. The cemetery also has a connection to the Freehold Presbyterian Church in Charlton because many markers were moved from the church's cemetery to Pine Grove in the early 20th century.

Since the Pomeroy Foundation was formed more than 10 years ago, the group has funded more than 540 historic roadside markers in 53 New York counties.

 

 

 

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