Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - Zarr Burial Ground

Zarr Burial Ground
260 Chestnut Ridge Road
Bedford Corners, NY  10507

This Burial Ground is in the Westmoreland Sanctuary in Bedford Corners, New York.

There is no sign about the Burial Ground that was obvious, although there used to be one that said :A Neighborhood Burying Ground 1824 - 1915.

The Burial Ground is next to museum at the Westmoreland Sanctuary, Chestnut Ridge Road. Very few remaining markers, most of these unreadable.

"In this rock-fence enclosed plot before you are laid to rest some forty residents of Shoemaker Road (the present Chestnut Ridge Road). Primarily they were hand-crafters, making those parts of shoes supplied them by jobbers from New York City. With this activity they combined a type of subsistence farming hard to come by on this rocky land.

Dates on the headstones range from 1824 to 1915. Names represented are Adams, Bailey, Brundage, Greene, Moore, Reynolds, Simonson, Daniels, Sands, and Zar or Zarr, of which six survive in the current telephone directory."

A reconstructed 200 year-old building serves as a museum and nature center.  This former Presbyterian Church in Bedford Village was dismantled and rebuilt at the Chestnut Ridge Rd. entrance in 1973.  The central room is used as an auditorium for public, school and scout programs and its periphery and second story balcony contains exhibits of flora and fauna of Westchester County.  

Nearby is an outdoor lecture area, a center for maple sugaring, old cemetery, wildlife garden and composting demonstration area.  

Town of Bedford, Westchester County, New York
Bedford Historical Records
Volume VIII
Town of Bedford Cemeteries
1681 – 1975

30 ZAR – Chestnut Ridge Road, Westmoreland Sanctuary (Sec. 22, Lot 31); 37 graves marked with field stones. Oldest stone: Parker Zar – 1824; Last stone: Reed Adams - 1915

There is another Burial Ground in this Sanctuary as indicated above.

This is the entrance to the Burial Ground.

Only a few of the 37 headstones are readable.

Individual Headstones from this Burial Ground will be posted on this Blog.

In speaking with the superintendent, they have been trying to get funding to help clean up and maintain this Burial Ground. The staff expressed their apologies several times.

There is documentation on who is buried here. That information will also be posted here.

From an information sheet found in the office of the Westmoreland Sanctuary.

Location: Just to the east of the Residence House at the entrance to the Westmoreland Sanctuary off of Chestnut Ridge Road.

Dates of Activity: 1824 - 1915

Other Names: Chestnut Ridge Cemetery, Old Merritt Burying-Grounds.

Inscriptions: WCHS Book #17 (p. 136-137), #83 (p.70-73).

Notes: Though it has since been relegated to the ages of history, a small but thriving community called Chestnut Ridge once existed in the Town of Bedford. It was located on a mile-long stretch of Chestnut Ridge Road just above the north Castle border. Beers' Atlas shows 20 homes along this portion of Chestnut Ridge Road in 1867, along with the now defunct Chestnut Ridge Methodist Church. Three of these homes, along with a small shop, belonged to the Zar family. Parker Zar *1736-1824) purchased 100 acres in "Bedford New Purchase" in 1803. Two decades later his family founded a graveyard when they interred him in a plot just east of Chestnut Ridge Road. In 1835 Parker's sons Isaac and Jacob transferred the 120 acre farm that had been passed to them by their father to Eliza Zar, and "reserve[ed] the burying ground" on this  parcel "with the privilege of going to and from the same to bury". While most of the persons buried in this cemetery were members of the Zar family, a number of their neighbors from the Reynolds, Adams, Moore and Brundage families are interred here as well. Although the final burial in this cemetery was made in 1915, the majority of the tombstones in the graveyard date from teh mid-19th century. Today, the Zar farm is part of the Westmoreland Sanctuary, a private nature preserve.

© 2010, copyright H R Worthington

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