CCHA to lead tours of local cemeteries

·3 min read

Jun. 11—PLATTSBURGH — The Clinton County Historical Association resumes its sponsorship of local Cemetery Tours with a tour of four cemeteries on Saturday June 19.

"What we are doing a little differently is we're providing a site layout," Helen Nerska, director of the Clinton County Historical Association, said.

"In Clyde Rabideau's book, he's given us the sites and he tells you where everyone is buried.

"I don't know that we're going to that full extent, but we preparing a list of everyone who is buried in the cemetery. So if someone asks us, we know."

CCHA volunteer Julie Dowd was very instrumental in tour programming.

"She identified obituaries of people in the various cemeteries," Nerska said.

"We are doing that in God's Acre and for the Peru Cemetery, which kind of people call it the Old Peru Cemetery. That's right behind the TD Bank in Peru.

"It's the oldest one. I think the first thing we documented is 1806. There might be something earlier. There are many prominent names in both cemeteries that you would automatically connect with local history."

Nerska has two great-grandmothers and a great-grandfather buried there.

"It's kind of cool," she said.

God's Acre, located on Maiden Lane, is run by the Peru Community Church Cemetery.

"The Methodist Church initially owned God's Acre," Nerska said.

"Then, when the Methodist, Presbyterian and Congregational churches merged in 1944-45, the cemetery became owned by the Peru Community Church."

The cemeteries' caretakers are supportive of CCHA's tour endeavors.

"We're really thrilled about that community involvement," Nerska said.

Program participants will meet at 9:30 a.m. in the St. Augustine's Church parking lot in Peru.

The tours will begin at 9:30 am at the St. Augustine's Church Cemetery with hosts John and Jean Ryan.

At 10:30 a.m., the tour will move to the Old Peru Cemetery, and then to the God's Acre Cemetery at 11:30 am.

"These times are relative, you know," Nerska said.

Handouts will include site guides, brief cemetery histories, and instructions on how to safely clean cemetery stones. Obituaries, as available, will posted near cemetery stones.

A lunch break will be held at the Quaker Cemetery on Union Road in the Town of AuSable.

"We're going to set up a canopy there and have lunch," Nerska said.

"The price we're charging is just for lunch. If there is any money left over, we give it to a cemetery for maintenance depending which one has a fund for that purpose.

"We want to provide lunch, and we want to make it easy for people to eat."

The tour of the Quaker Cemetery will be conducted at 1:30 p.m.

"Or it can start as soon as people are ready to go," Nerska said.

"The Quaker Cemetery is on the North Star Underground Railroad Museum tour schedule, and I give those tours. So, I'm doing the one for the Quaker Cemetery."

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