Weed Cemetery, Town of Wellsville, Allegany County, NY
This wonderful story helped solve a bit of a mystery. We were aware of this little cemetery, but all the markers have disappeared over the years—except for one that is embedded in a tree. The reporter took the time in 1920, to record all the stones he found. Submitted by Mary Rhodes....from the Rogers Genealogical & Historical Society's February 2010 Newsletter. From the Wellsville Daily Reporter, Nov 22, 1920.
A Forgotten Graveyard - It’s Location Visited by a Reporter Man Who Finds Material For a Local Story
Some time ago a Reporter representative overhead two of Wellsville’s citizens discussing some of the occurrences and conditions in this town several years ago and a mention was made about the old homestead on Highland avenue where the late A. N. Cole, the reputed father of the Republican party, once resided and practiced in producing large and luscious strawberries with the aid of irrigation. An old cemetery, or burying ground was mentioned as once being located in that vicinity. The news hunter took it into his head to investigate what he had heard regarding this, to him, unknown place of burial of the dead and called upon Dr. M. H. Macken to see if the doctor could throw any light upon the location of this plot of ground. Dr. Macken said he remembered there was such a burying ground and he thought he could find it very readily and volunteered to pilot the newspaper man to the place.
The scribe and the doctor set out on foot in search of this old time cemetery on Sunday afternoon, the 17th of last October, and after a tramp to the end of West State street they climbed a fence on Highland Avenue, walked up a steep hilly field to a pasture lot, and after a search back and forth across the field, working their way down toward Highland Avenue, discovered the object of their hunt – the old cemetery.
This old cemetery is located about six rods directly back of the brick and wood dwelling house on Highland Avenue now owned and occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Elmer Spicer. How many bodies where laid to rest there the Reporter cannot say: the graves of four persons were located, being marked with old fashioned tomb stones. They are close to an old pine stump fence, in the summer time shaded by the leaves of maple trees, the markers or grave stones in a sagging condition, the graves unkempt uncared for and evidently forgotten. It reminds one that time wipes out even the memory of those who were once somebody’s loved ones.
The following inscriptions were found on and copied from the gravestones of the four mentioned graves:
William S. Weed (Jr), died Apr 25, 1850 aged 20 years 1 month and 5 days, Son of William and Susan Weed.
Caroline, daughter of J. L. and M. E. Butler Died April 15, 1853, Aged 1 Year 6 Month and 20 days
Joseph H, son of H. L. and Emily Fuller. Died Sept 29, 1853 aged 1 years 6 months and 20 days
Anna Delucia, daughter of H. L. and Emily Fuller, died August 1, 1854 aged 1 month and 6 days.
The maple trees that are growing and stand as silent sentinels over this little plot of sacred soil evidently were a product of nature, coming from the ground from seed that had been carried there by the wind. They are something like ten or twelve inches through, and one tree has grown close to the grave of the little girl, Caroline Butler, and buried its roots in the sunken mound where the body was laid and has since probably turned to dust.
Some of Wellsville oldest citizens may remember one William Weed, who was familiarly called “Billy” Weed, and who in the sixties was the village sexton in this place. The property, where the graves are that have been mentioned was owned by him as well as other property in that section of the town. The supposition is that the Wm. Weed who died in April 1850, aged 20 years, was a son of the old sexton.
Looking back 70 years, the date of the time the first of these four graves were dug, one cannot help but think of the great changes that have been made in the history of Wellsville and its citizenship…
Well of course now I needed to know what happened to the rest of the Weed family. They were early pioneers of our town and I felt I had to complete the story.
William and Susan Weed came to Allegany County in the 1820’s. Some researchers believe Susan is the daughter of William Foster, another pioneer who came to the area about the same time, but I have not found evidence to prove or disprove that yet. Six children were born to the Weeds, as indicated by the 1865 census. Laura, Charles, Lorinda, Betsey and William. One child died early in its life. William made a living by digging graves and pulling stumps. He was often called “Uncle Billy Weed” in old stories of the town. “Uncle” being an old fashioned term for an elderly man.
Laura (1821—1887) married Stephen Rowley, they moved to Pennsylvania and then westward to Iowa. The Rowleys had at least six children. Laura passed away in North Ogden, UT.
Charles (1824—1898) married Elizabeth Green of Alfred. Charles was an early constable in Willing, then moved to Rock county Wisconsin where Charles was a blacksmith. They had no children.
Lorinda (1828—1899) married John Lasher of Andover and moved to Rock county Wisconsin and then to Iowa. The Lashers had six daughters.
William (1830—1850) William was a carpenter in this area, and died of consumption in April 1850. He was not married. He was the first burial in the little cemetery.
Betsey (1837—?) Oh Betsey, where are you? Census records indicate Betsey was married twice, the first is unknown, the second time to Amos Cole. She had at least one child, Octavia, who is shown in the 1880 census as living with relatives in Steuben County. Betsey and Amos are on the 1875 census, but are not in Susan’s 1877 will, so I can only guess that Betsey and Amos passed away between 1875 and 1877, they may also be in the little cemetery.
William and Susan Weed both died in the log cabin on the hill that had been their home in Wellsville for many years. They too were buried in the little cemetery they established near their home. And so, to the reporters list of graves in the 1920 article, I add:
William S. Weed Died Sept 5, 1870 Aged 74 Yrs
Susan Weed Died Aug 22, 1877, Wife of William S. Weed