Skip to main content

Hillsdale’s Historic Cemeteries: Pioneers, Patriots & Politics

  • Empty
  • Empty
June 14, 2018 12:07 pm

COPAKE – On Monday June 25 at 6 p.m, the Roeliff Jansen Community Library will host an encore presentation of “Hillsdale’s Historic Cemeteries: Pioneers, Patriots and Politics.” This illustrated talk by local historians Jeanne Kiefer and Lauren Letellier was first given on May 20th to a standing-room-only audience at the Roeliff Jansen Historical Society. Admission is free.

Jeanne and Lauren have been active in identifying and documenting Hillsdale’s 15 known cemeteries – from tiny family plots to abandoned church graveyards to rural cemeteries. The sites reveal the story of a vanished past when the region played a dynamic role in America’s transition from the colonial era to the early Republic. Many of the cemeteries are today in sad repair, but some still-legible headstones provide rich clues for examining Hillsdale’s early history, and are one of the last best links to that time for historians, genealogists, descendants and the community at large.

The presentation will run about one hour, with Q&A to follow, and will focus on the stories behind the Krum Church Cemetery in Northwest Hillsdale and the recently re-discovered McKinstry Family Plot on upper Hunt Road.

Jeanne Kiefer moved to Northwest Hillsdale in 2009. She is a graduate of Skidmore College, taught art in Boston and Istanbul, and was for many years an editor at Consumer Reports. Jeanne can trace her ancestry back 13 generations to the first Dutch settlers on Long Island, and she has a fascinating historical link to Roeliff Jansen, which she’ll explain in her presentation.

Lauren Letellier moved to Hillsdale in late 2014 after an award-winning public relations career in New York City. She is a performer and playwright and shares the title of Hillsdale Historian with her husband Chris Atkins. Follow their blog at

The Roeliff Jansen Community Library, which is chartered to serve Ancram, Copake and Hillsdale, is located at 9091 Rt. 22, approximately one mile south of the light at the intersection of Routes 22 and 23 in Hillsdale. For information on hours and events, call 518-325-4101.