(Cover page of first volume of Durkee's Epitaphs )
This is the introduction to the first volume by Cornelius E. Durkee in compiling his extremely valuable and useful work on epitaphs in Saratoga County :
A transcript of the Epitaphs of the First or Sadler Cemetery in Saratoga Springs was made by Mr. Edward D. Harris in September of 1876, an announcement having been made that the proper public authorities intended the removal of the remains and the abandonment of the ground for cemetery purposes.
Subsequently, for similar reasons, a transcript was made of the Epitaphs of the Putnam Cemetery, by the subscriber, aided by Mr. Edward D. Harris; and finally it was determined to extend the work so as to include all the cemeteries of the County, thus forming the basis for future genealogical researches relating to Saratoga families.
Epitaphs of three towns, Saratoga Springs, Milton and Greenfield are embraced in this, the first of a series of volumes, existing in duplicate, one having been prepared by Mr. Harris, the other by the subscriber. Descriptive notes will be found at the end of the list of epitaphs of each cemetery.
Few if any, of the towns of the County keep a record of deaths within their limits, so that, with the exception of newspaper files, the grave-stones themselves constitute the sole evidence of the names and ages of the departed.
From the nature of the American marble, used almost exclusively in this locality, it is certain that in one hundred years a large proportion of the stones from which these inscriptions have been taken will have yielded to the severity of the weather, and be no longer decipherable.
To the end that these manuscripts may be the more safely preserved for the benefit of future genealogists, it is my desire that they eventually be deposited in the library of either the New England Historic Genealogical, or New York Genealogical and Biographical Society.
Cornelius Emerson Durkee
Saratoga Springs N.Y.
May 29, 1878.