Feature Story

Danby's Cemeteries in 1882

Abby Maria Hemenway’s 1882 History of Rutland County, Vermont contains an interesting description of Danby’s cemeteries. Using VOCA's cemetery database, built and maintained by member Tom Ledoux, Find A Grave, Google Maps, Google Earth, the 1869 F.W. Beers & Co. map of Danby, logic, and guessing, we put names to these cemeteries, and headstones to the people mentioned. The bold italicized font is Abby's article. We invite your comment and corrections!

CEMETERIES.

There are some 6 or 7 public cemeteries in the town, besides several family cemeteries.

The oldest is on the farm originally owned by Micah Vail, and now by Eunice Reed. It was given to the town in 1776, by Capt. John Vail, and Micah Vail and his wife were the first persons interred; it is almost entirely occupied.

   1. That's an easy one, given the clues. This is READ-OLD FOUR CORNERS CEMETERY and here are the gravestones of Capt. John Vail, Micah Vail, and Micah's wife Mary. There are 38 other Vails buried here and at least 7 Revolutionary War soldiers.

The next oldest is west of the Corners, on the farm of Ira H. Vail. It was given to the town in 1785, by Henry Herrick.

   2. Ira H. Vail is buried in the Read-Old Four Corners Cemetery. Henry Herrick is buried in MAPLE GROVE CEMETERY. Maple Grove Cemetery is west of Danby Four Corners on the south side of Danby Pawlet road and that is where the I.H. Vail residence is shown on the Beers map.

The third was laid off from the Lemuel Griffith farm in 1795. This yard has recently been enlarged and improved, being enclosed by a neat and durable fence.

   3. There is no burial in Danby for Lemuel Griffith on Find A Grave. His sons David and George are both buried in the Red School House Cemetery. The Beers map shows a J.T. Griffith residence abutting a CEM that is the Red School House Cemetery; George had a son John Tabor Griffith. Other bits of evidence lead us to call this one the RED SCHOOL HOUSE CEMETERY.

The Friends or Quaker cemetery is next oldest, laid out in 1806. Gilbert Palmer was the first person interred.

   4. There is no burial in Danby for Gilbert Palmer on Find A Grave. The VOCA Cemetery Database lists two Quaker cemeteries in Danby, Quaker - Staples Farm and Quaker - Nichols Farm. If we presume that Quaker - Nichols Farm is the next one in this list, then this would be QUAKER - STAPLES FARM. Other bits of our incomplete research point here but this is the weakest of our conclusions. This cemetery appears to be diagonally across the road from the Red School House cemetery.

The Friends have another small burial ground, on the east side of the town, laid off from the farm originally owned by Anthony Nichols, and near the residence of Isaac Nichols.

   5. The VOCA Cemetery Database lists two Quaker cemeteries in Danby, Quaker - Staples Farm and Quaker - Nichols Farm. Anthony Nichols is presumed to be buried in the Quaker - Nichols Farm Cemetery; Isaac Nichols is buried there for certain. The Beers map shows a CEM right next the residences of I. Nichols (I for Isaac) and D. Nichols (D for Daniel), Anthony being their father. This is the QUAKER - NICHOLS FARM Cemetery.

The next one is a small public cemetery, near the residence of Edwin Staples.

   6. Edwin Staples is buried in the Scottsville Cemetery. The Beers map shows a CEM just southwest of the E. Staples residence; the map also reports the 'Sherman Homestead' in the vicinity. This cemetery is about 2 miles north of Danby Four Corners on the Tinmouth Road and the cemetery database points us right to the STAPLES-SHERMAN CEMETERY.

There is also another in the Little Village,...

7. The only cemetery on Little Village Road is COOK-HULETT CEMETERY, according to the VOCA database. There is no indication of this cemetery on the Beers map, even though burials began there in 1821.

...and one in the northwest part of the town, near the residence of Erwin E. Lillie,…

   8. Erwin E. Lillie is buried in Tinmouth. The E.E. Lillie residence is shown in Danby's northwest corner on the Beers map and just down the road to the south is a CEM. Google Maps confirms that this is LILLIE HILL CEMETERY; the name helps, too.

…and another cemetery, near Scottsville, laid off from the farm of Joseph Bull. It has lately been enlarged and handsomely improved. In 1865, an association was formed, known as the Danby Cemetery Association, chartered by the State Legislature, and to George Hadwin, G. W. Phillips, W. L. Phillips, Charles Nichols, Nelson Colvin, Thomas Nichols. O. B. Hadwin, David Griffith, J. S. Perry, A. S. Baker, R. E. Caswell, S. P. Scott, S. W. Phillips and others. This association was organized in 1866. The cemetery contains one acre or more, laid out in lots, avenues and walks, alleys and areas, substantially fenced, and a contract has just been completed for setting the cemetery to shade trees, and to grade the lots in tiers with the avenues, etc., which, when completed, will make as fine a cemetery as there is in this part of the country.

   9. There doesn't appear to be a Danby Cemetery Association currently registered with the Secretary of State. All the charter members are buried in Scottsville Cemetery including the two Hadwins, which is actually spelled Hadwen. The Beers map shows a CEM right next to the residence of J. Bull and a comparison of the roads on Beers with Google Maps proves this to be the SCOTTSVILLE CEMETERY.

Now that we are desktop experts on Danby cemeteries, or so we think, we need a road trip, and Providence shines on us. It just so happens that my wife has a 1/2 day function in Ira next Saturday. I drop her off, I drive on through Tinmouth and I visit these 9 cemeteries and take pictures! Can't wait! ...and over the winter I can study up on the other 8 cemeteries in Danby.

Morton Billings

Editor's note: Very high quality, digitized maps of the individual towns in the Beers Vermont County Atlases are available on-line from Historic Map Works.