The following articles are from a booklet entitled "The Old Elm Tree, McLean, New York 1796-1976" - donated by Vera Shaw
Transcribed by Terry Donlick, Groton Township Coordinator
There are at least three cemeteries in McLean. There is little known or recorded information regarding the first cemetery on the hill, adjacent to the residence of Mrs. Vera Shaw.
The Catholic Cemetery is south of the hamlet in back of the property owned by Ray and Lydia SOULE. The land was donated by Michael O'BYRNE about 1851. His sister was the first burial.
The McLean Cemetery was started about 1824. Abraham BOYNTON buried his wife in an apple orchard on land that he owned. Additionally, he donated about an acre of this orchard as a burying ground for family and neighbors. No charge was made until 1857 when at a meeting of residents, an organization was made. At this time, additional land was purchased from Mrs. BOYNTON. The ground was fenced and laid out into plots and purchasers were given deeds.
In 1870, an organizational meeting was held in the Baptist Church and the McLean Cemetery Association was formed - named and incorporated under existing laws of the State of New York. Six additional acres were purchased from Alpheas WEST, giving a total of acreage of 16.
Following these modest beginnings, The Directors took pride in the appearance of the cemetery. Thousands of dollars have been spent in the purchase of an iron fence and entrance gates, grading, lawning, installing graveled drives and curbing, planting of ornamental shrubs.
In 1910, the Directors of the McLean Cemetery Association and printed - "The History, Rules and Regulations." The introduction is a beautiful statement - which says it all.
On a gently sloping hillside, above the pleasant little hamlet of McLean, lies the McLean Cemetery. A Beautiful place. As one stands on the hilltop the panorama before him is grand. The eye catches the shimmer of Fall Creek in the valley, as it flows gently on, with its message from the woodland to the sea. The distant hillsides are covered with fertile farms, grazing cattle, and well kept farm building, with here and there, small tracts of virgin forest that have escaped the axe of the relentless woodsman. And still further on as far as the eye can see are the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains, dim and smoky in the distance. Our gaze returns and we see on the slope just below us the green graves of our sires, our relatives, and our friends; and we become reflective. Here "Each in his narrow cell forever laid" sleeps the yeomen of the community. Here, peacefully rest the bone and sinew of those sturdy pioneers who had the courage to attack the primeval forests, and baring forth a land to blossom with fruits and plenty. Here, under the myrtle, the rose and the will, lie those that were near and dear to us, our friends and many strangers. Let us not forget that in their time they too played an important part in the drama of life; but the silent boatman has borne them away. : All paths lead but to the grave."
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