Saratoga County, New York
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An Unusual Cemetery Location
Van Schoonhoven Cemetery
Submitted by Richard Elwell
Traveling around this area, we grow accustomed to seeing old burial grounds and cemeteries in all kinds of locations, usually a few gravestones in the middle of a farm field but sometimes in places that arenít so peaceful nowadays. One old cemetery is in an especially unusual location - right in northeast corner of the GE Silicones manufacturing plant at 260 Hudson River Rd., Waterford.
Known as the Van Schoonhoven cemetery, it was never "lost", as many were over the years. It was known to Cornelius Durkee, who copied the gravestone inscriptions recorded by Howard Becker in 1877. The DAR also listed the graves in 1924. Burials took place over 80 years, beginning in 1783.
In 1946, GE had acquired the property and began construction of a plant to manufacture the new silicone products that had grown out of its research in Schenectady. By this time, the cemetery had been subjected to a number of floods and the stones were all flat on the ground. The Company rehabilitated the site and built a picket fence around it that is there to this day.On October 25, 1996, the inscriptions on the stones were recorded again by Derick Bradt Van Schoonhoven, Richard Williams of the Waterford Historical Society and Sharon Daley, GE Silicones. They were read as follows:
1. Here lies the body of GUERL VAN SCHOONHOVEN who was born on the 9th of Mar. 1718 and died the 14th day of Oct. 1783 2. JACOBUS VAN SCHOONHOVEN Died February 21, 1814 in the 70th year of his age 3. ELIZABETH VAN SCHOONHOVEN [Stone broken and down, poor condition] 4. Here lies the body of GRADUS CLUTE of Half Moon who died Dec 12, in 1803 in the 69th year of his age 5. In memory of GRADUS son of Nicholas & Catherine Clute Died May 5, 1827 in the 17th year of his age 6. In memory of ALIDA wife of Gradus Clute died May 20, 1825 84 year 7. CAROLINE wife of A. Clute b: May 9, 1820 d: July 17, 1840 8. CAROLINE Dau. Of Albert & Mary D: Oct 7, 1844 1yr 10mo 8dy 9. ELISABETH wife of Storm A. L. Becker died Nov 5, 1863 age 89 10. STORM A.L. BECKER Died June 3, 1804 in 29 yr 11. In memory of ALBERT BECKER died Apr 14, 1816 in the 84 year of age 12. In memory of LANEY Wife of Albert Becker Died Dec 17, 1819 in her 81 yr 13. In memory of MARGARET Daughter of John and Elizabeth Becker Died Oct 12, 1826 age 1 yr 14. NICHOLAS CLUTE Born Oct 15, 1778 Died Dec 14, 1856 15. CATHERINE Wife of Nicholas Clute Died Sept. 5, 1852 in her 73 year 16. JACOB VANDEMARK Died Apr 11, 1832 in 19 year of life 17. In memory of MARGARET Wife of Anthony Leversee Dec 29, 1823 55 yr 18. In memory of ALIDA LEVERSEE Died Mar 10, 1820 in 19 yr of her age 19. In memory of ANTHONY LEVERSEE Who died ???? 1807 45y. 20. In memory of CORNELIA LEVERSEE Who died Jun 15 1806 in the 15 year age 21. HESTER Wife of Malangton Lighthall Died Dec 25, 1835 in the 69y 14d 22. In memory of ALIDA Wife of Nanning H. Visscher Who departed her life 10 Nov 1808 aged 68y 11mo 23. In memory of NANING H. VISSCHER Who departed his life 10 Nov 1808 aged 68y 11mo 24. In memory of MARIAH Wife of Abraham Fonda Who died 27 Apr 1801 79 yr & 9 moAt the time of The Revolution, Jacobus Van Schoonhoven owned the property on which the GE plant was later built. He was a Colonel during the War, commanding the 12th Regiment of the NY Militia that participated in the Battle of Saratoga. It was the initiative of Col. Van Schoonhoven and his son Guerl that led to the Village of Waterford becoming the first incorporated village in the United States. Last fall, as a favor to a friend in Western New York, I obtained permission from GE to visit the site to photograph the gravestones of his ancestors. On September 20, at the appointed time, my wife and I reported to the plant reception center and met our guide. After signing in, we were given safety glass shields, hard hats and smocks to wear. After crossing the road, we signed in again and were escorted through the eastern part of the plant between the highway (U.S. 4) and the river. The three of us walked a few hundred yards north and there was the cemetery's white picket fence, sitting in a large open field of grass. Many stones had weathered badly, as old marble markers do in this climate. We did get our photos and the Company escort couldn't have been more helpful and gracious. Most of the material for this article was furnished by Derick B. Van Schoonhoven, 1329 Kirkland Village Circle, Bethlehem, PA 18017-4759 (or firstname.lastname@example.org). Contact him directly for further information about the family history. Go to the Saratoga County NYGenWeb Home Page.