Composed by William A. Greene 

Copyright ©2004 William A. Greene

           ( The following is taken from old history books on Allegany County and the Andover News) 

            The oldest burying ground in Andover is at Elm Valley, where is buried the first white person who died in the town.  The oldest graves are those of Zeniah Dyke, who died January 21st 1798, aged ten months and five days; Lydia Dyke, who died August 2nd, 1801, aged two years, five months and two days, and Lectley Dyke, who died March 6th, 1803, aged six months and six days.  All were daughters of James and Phebe Dyke.  The remains of Daniel Cole, the first white child born in the town, also lie here.  Nathanael Dike, the founder of Elm Valley (Shoemakers Corners) and a Revolutionary War veteran was buried there when he died in 1813.  The headstones are of the common flat variety, of stone common to the locality. (Field stones)  The inscriptions are somewhat dim, or gone, but some are legible and bear evidences of having been carved by one not skilled in the art of letter sculpture.           

            The first burials in the village were on the lot in the village where John Goodwin used to live.  (The lower end of South Main St. below the old news office.)  It was stated by Seth Baker that the earliest burials there were those of two or three children of Alpheus Baker, a child of Joseph Woodruff, a child of Luther Strong and a child of Benjamin Brookins, between 1809 and 1817.  About 1825 or 1826 a man named Lyons and a Mrs Lovell were buried there.  All of the graves mentioned have been obliterated and are now indiscernible.  There are two or three private cemeteries about the village. 

            The Lever Cemetery (now Hillside) is situated on a rise of ground north of the village.  It is small and nearly filled, containing the graves of several families.  The first person buried there was Seth Baker, an early settler, who died about 1822.  He did not like the burying ground at Elm Valley, and selected a spot within the grounds mentioned, and requested that he should be buried there.  The oldest date to be found on any of the tombstones is on that erected to the memory of “Persis, wife of Parley Hunt – died May 27th , 1835.”  At the grave of Seth Baker there is no stone.  There are many sites with no stones. 

            The Bundy Cemetery (Valley Brook) is located about a mile west of the village, on the road to Wellsville.  It was set aside as a private burying ground by Peter Bundy, about 1845.  The lots are now owned by the Bundys, Boyds, Robinsons and Martindales.  Mrs. Jefferson Bundy, who died October 31st, 1848, was the first person buried there. 

            At different times the subject of the purchase of suitable grounds and the laying out of a public cemetery in the village has been agitated.  Heretofore the Catholic cemetery has been the only public burial place there. 

            The old St. Johns cemetery, located on the corner of Greenwood St. and Lever Hill, just beyond the town line.  It was purchased on about 1856. Nathan White, Anthony Dean, and Patrick Padden were appointed to purchase a spot for a cemetery, they purchased two acres of land of Albro and Menzo Bundy, which was laid out as a Catholic cemetery, and  was consecrated in October 1876.  The first recorded burial was in January of 1882 and the last one burial was in May 1957.  There are about 600 people buried there with only about 200 having tombstones.  There are many unknown graves as there were no records kept, but this is also true of all of the cemeteries.  Some of the bodies were moved to the “Gate of Heaven” when it opened in 1931. 

            Rev. Charles McHugh received permission from the Bishop.  Rt. Rev. William Turner, to erect the cemetery and give it the name “Gate of Heaven”.  Mr. T. Joseph Lynch went to prominent men of the parish and received subscriptions to pay for the land.  In November of 1929, ten or twelve members of Blessed Sacrament Catholic church purchased a tract of  five acres of land laying along the new Andover - Greenwood state highway on the old Lanphear farm and have donated it to the church for a cemetery.  Those who donated have their names on a bronze plate just inside the entrance of the cemetery.  The parish men donated their time and labor to level the land, erect fences and help in general.  A large stone building was built at the rear of the cemetery to serve as a tool house. The entrance is a well built stone archway and strong metal fence enclosing the front on the main highway. In the center toward the rear is a large crucifix and image.  On the Andover side, new planted ever green trees for a wind break.  Through out the cemetery, trees and shrubbery were planted and also in the entrance.  The first burial was in Jan. 1931. 

(The article below was written by A. M. Woods and was in the January 6th 1928 edition of The Andover  News) 

            With Andover’s three used or established cemeteries are no less than 15 other burial places known to the writer.  They were donated as “God’s Acres,” and dedicated to His service. 

            No intelligent person will ever obliterate of destroy those sacred eternal spots among Andover’s beautiful hills and valleys.  The first burial on record being Zeniah Dyke at Elm Valley, who died Jan. 21, 1798.  This occurred before Allegany County was created from our Genesee Section of New York State in 1806. 

            These burial grounds are generally known by the first owner or occupants where situate namely: Stephen Cole, Barnabas Eddy, Asa Burdick, Robert Boyd, Solomon Slocum, Levi Pingrey, Seth Baker, Simeon Hand, James Bess, Daniel Walker, Shadrock Austin, James Hardy, Elisha Gowdy, Lohn Leet and Gideon Hallowell.  The writer saw the last named patriotic pioneer cast his last vote for president of the United States, then past the age of 102 years old.

Copyright ©2004 William A. Greene