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Tour visits one of Coxsackie’s oldest cemeteries

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    Anthony Fiducia/Columbia-Greene Media Tour guide and Bronck Museum Curator Shelby Mattice informing tourgoers about the cemetery on Mansion Street in Coxsackie.
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    Anthony Fiducia/Columbia-Greene Media Some tombstones had icons and symbols on them; this one has a rose and an ivy. Roses symbolized “sorrow,” and ivy represented “memory and fidelity.”
August 7, 2017 - 12:15 am

COXSACKIE — As part of the village of Coxsackie’s sesquicentennial, a walk-through tour of the Mansion Street Cemetery was hosted Sunday afternoon.

Roughly 50 people showed up the cemetery to learn of its history. Tourists visited 14 highlighted locations throughout the cemetery, along with other attractions added on along the way.

The tour was hosted by Shelby Mattice, curator for the Bronck Museum.

The cemetery consists of 821 recorded names. Fifteen percent of the deaths were children under the age of 10 years old, Mattice said. That makes for about 130 children, who were mostly buried alone.

“It reflects the lifestyle of the village from about 1826 to 1940,” she said.

Mattice explained that the 191-year-old cemetery is the burial ground for two congressmen, veterans of the War of 1812 and the Civil War, and founding families of Coxsackie, as well.

Nicole Ryan, of Albany, accompanied her mother, who was interested in seeing the cemetery.

“It was a reason to get out of Albany for the day,” said Ryan. “We’ve never done anything like this.”

Ryan, who is interested in history and cemeteries, actually lives near a cemetery, she said.

“This is a beautiful cemetery — the history is interesting,” she said.

Richard Talay, of Coxsackie, was specifically interested in the Civil War veterans buried there.

Talay does Civil War reenactments with the 125th New York Infantry Regiment Volunteers.

“I’m looking to see if some of the soldiers here were from that regiment,” Talay said during the tour.

Only three cemeteries predate the one on Mansion Street, Mattice said - Adams Cemetery, a cemetery on School Street, and a cemetery on New Street.

Twenty deaths within the cemetery occurred before it was established. Mattice believes that the graves were moved there, but there’s no way to tell.

The last time a tour was given of the cemetery on Mansion Street was in 2008, according to Mattice.

“I was enormously surprised [at the turnout],” said Mattice. “I ran out of handouts — we have programs all the time and I never run out of handouts.”

To reach reporter Anthony Fiducia, call 518-828-1616 ext. 2309 or email afiducia@registerstar.com.