Sunday, May 20, 2018

Hillsdale’s Historic Cemeteries: Pioneers, Patriots & Politics

On Sunday, May 20, at 2 pm, the Roeliff Jansen Historical Society is pleased to host an illustrated presentation with local historians Jeanne Kiefer and Lauren Letellier.

Jeanne and Lauren will share how the 15 cemeteries that dot Hillsdale — from tiny family plots to abandoned church graveyards to rural cemeteries — reveal the story of a vanished past when the region played a dynamic role in America’s transition from the colonial era to the early Republic. Many of the cemeteries are today in sad repair, but some still-legible headstones can provide a rich resource for early history and one of the last best links to that time for historians, genealogists, descendants and the community at large.

The presentation will have a special focus on the stories behind the Krum and McKinstry gravyards (recently discovered).

“Cemeteries are open air museums and have a deep historical connection to the local community,” said Peter Cipkowski, President of the Roeliff Jansen Historical Society and Hillsdale Town Supervisor. “Too many have already disappeared.  We want to identify and protect these valuable resources.”

Jeanne and Lauren have been active participants in Hillsdale’s burgeoning campaign to identify and document the many known and vanished cemeteries. Their research forms the foundation of the Town’s plan to post informational signs in select cemeteries and initiate a plan to communicate their significance. The signs will provide historical context and, when possible, identify veterans from the American Revolution.

Founded in 1974, the Roeliff Jansen Historical Society serves the towns of Ancram, Copake, Gallatin, Hillsdale and Taghkanic. Through publication, ongoing research, a speaker series, and a multimedia archive, the Society documents and conserves local history – too easily lost. Its mission is to bring recognition to the stories, skills, and traditions of local folks, past and present.

The presentation is at the Roeliff Jansen Museum on Route 344 and Miles Road, a short distance off NY Route 22 in the historic hamlet of Copake Falls, New York.