By Jim Andrews
“Show me the manner in which a community cares for its dead and I will measure with mathematical exactness the tender sympathies of its people, their respect for the laws of the land and their loyalties to high ideals.”
This quote from one-time prime minister of Great Britain, William E. Gladstone, is inscribed on a piece of granite located on the interior of the Andes cemetery chapel at the far side of the pool. It sums up the feeling many of us have for our cemetery as well as for our community. As do all small communities (cities as well) we have an ever-growing cemetery and feel proud that the approximately 15 acres are maintained in the garden-like condition that you usually see it.
A survey map drawn by D. D. K. George, dated August 10, 1882, shows the Andes Cemetery at that time to contain 1 acre + 130 rods. This map shows “the Old Mill” and the “Mill Dam” to the right of the Tremperskill Road. This first cemetery included the land at the very top of the hill extending to approximately the grass road, which divides the cemetery from top to bottom. Of course, the cemetery had been in existence for at least 68 years before that. Other records indicate William Dickson as the founder of the cemetery. At a meeting held on February 21, 1903, at 1 pm in Union Hall (the Union Hall bell having been rung to begin the meeting), a vote was taken to incorporate the cemetery–with 29 plot owners casting votes–22 in favor, 7 against. It is interesting to note, since the petition requesting this incorporation meeting was signed by 40 plot owners.
The next parcel of land acquired was purchased from Jennie E. Bramley on June 11, 1904. Mrs. Bramley owned the former Frank Dibble farm on Lower Main Street. Mrs. Bramley owned or had sold several lots near the original cemetery (how enterprising–she set up her own cemetery business!). The purchase price was $475, with Mrs. Bramley retaining her own plot which is now designated in the cemetery records as lot # 1.
In the by-laws of the cemetery “no person who died in prison or anyone who was executed for a crime shall be buried without permission from the president of the cemetery.” So–if any of you are planning on dying in prison–you better talk to Jim Andrews, since he’s the current president of the cemetery association.
Additional land was purchased above the present vault and the most recent purchase was from the Zagorski family in 1975–referred to as the “Dowie Land” since the Dowie family was the original owner.
The beautiful cut stonewall that surrounds most of the cemetery was a gift of Harry Dowie in 1905. The stone came from a quarry on the north of town near Glenn Cole’s. All the stone for this wall was drawn in by horses, and the four piers at the cemetery entrance were constructed by hand using pulleys to raise the heavy stones. In 2008 the Cemetery Association held a fundraising drive to replace the Tremperskill Road side of this wall. Parts of the wall were collapsing onto the highway. With funds raised by this drive as well as a generous donation from cemetery board member Walter B. Gladstone, the wall was rebuilt using modern drainage methods to hopefully prevent the wall’s collapse.
Like most cemeteries, ours is a melting pot of families who emigrated here from European countries in the late 1700s and early 1800s. Names such as George, Johnson, Taylor, Hilton, Dowie, Fowler, Seacord, Wight, Shafer, Biggar, Scott, Roney, Bryant, Reynolds, Bruce, Ballantine, Glendening, Bohlmann, Calhoun, Liddle, Campbell, Bleakie, Fletcher, Hunting, Gladstone, Monroe, and Hyzer, among many others. Many have descendents still living here today while the others have faded into unrecorded history.
The cemetery contains many remains of people moved from the Shavertown, Union Grove, Arena, and Cannonsville cemeteries when they were taken by the construction of the Pepacton and Cannonsville Reservoirs in the 1950s and ‘60s. One such reinterment is from Shavertown: John Simmonds 1825-1892 who was a Civil War volunteer in Company H of the 144th Regiment and who received the Congressional Medal of Honor.~
Below is the Silas Hilton Family Monument.