The Poultney Area St. David's Society recently presented gift of $300 to the Poultney Cemetery Association-the gift matches one recently presented to the association by Morning Star Lodge 37 in Poultney. Lynn McGann, president of the cemetery association, said that the gifts will be used by the corporation for maintenance and lawn care of its property, a sizeable bill each year.
Poultney Cemetery plot owners or those with family members or ancestors at rest in the cemetery can help, too Tax-deductible gift, service on the corporation's board, are two ways to help the struggling association. The association's sole mission is care and maintenance of its property. Plot owners, their families and descendants, may hold office in the corporation and on its board of directors. All officers and directors are volunteers; new volunteers dedicated to the corporate mission are always needed.
Veterans can also help-they can volunteer for the annual placement of U.S. flags on military gravesites in the cemetery. Flag placement is a big job each season even with the help of local American Legion posts.
Poultney has several cemeteries within its geographic boundaries-one is maintained by the Roman Catholic Church, one by the Episcopal Church, a Jewish cemetery, and several early private cemeteries. Several are overseen by the Town of Poultney.
Entrance to the Poultney Cemetery Association property is via the east side of Beaman Street (U.S. Route 30). The resting place began in the early 1800s with a gift of land by John Stanley, a prominent local Protestant businessman of the era. Stanley donated the portion of the cemetery at the street level now referred to as the Old Cemetery. Stanley was involved in the founding and support of several businesses and was owner of several parcels of land at the intersection of Main Street with Beaman, Grove and East Main Streets. A generous community benefactor, he was donor of his East Main Street land to the Methodist Episcopal Society; it is the site where churchgoers erected the Stone Church structure which was first used in 1826.
At the close of the Civil War, around 1865, additional land was donated for cemetery expansion by Merritt Clark; he donated five acres of land to the association which had officially formed at that time. Clark was founder of Poultney Bank in 1841. The bank was located inside Clark's home that stood at the corner of Beaman Street (it's now known as the Stonebridge property. Clark was also president of the Rutland and Washington Railroad incorporated in 1847).
Clarks's achievements and contributions were legendary.
Expansion of the Poultney Cemetery Association property was well underway during the late 1900s; acquisition of land on its northeast boundary expanded the site.
For years, the Poultney Cemetery was commonly referred to as the Protestant cemetery of the community-it is the largest cemetery in the township resting Protestants of many denominations. It also is the final resting place of the greatest numbers of Poultney's Welsh citizens.
From its entrance from the east side of Beaman Street, the cemetery extends to land at the top of the hillside overlooking the Poultney community (where it abuts to St. Raphael's Catholic Cemetery property, a cemetery owned by St. Raphael's Catholic parish). At this juncture, the roadways within Poultney Cemetery Association's property and St. Raphael's Catholic Cemetery now intersect. For many years, a fence entirely separated the two cemeteries.
The current officers of the Poultney Cemetery Association are Lynn McGann, president, Patricia H. Davenport, secretary/treasurer and directors James Dente, Greg Howard, Emmett Thomas, D. Trevor Hughes, Ethel Contratti and Charlotte Hampl. To volunteer or to get involved in helping Poultney's historic cemetery, contact the Poultney Cemetery Association, P.O. Box 63, Poultney 05764-0063 or call Lynn McGann at 518-282-9676.