Great-Lakes Regional Meeting at the Grand Traverse Resort


There are exciting things happening at our Town of Onondaga burial grounds!

The old Pioneer Cemetery at Sentinel Heights is showing a bright new face to the world with a beautiful black iron fence across its front. This was accomplished through a very generous gift from TOHS member William Pomeroy, who has ancestors in this burial ground and wished to see that it was kept in good condition. Also, another descendant, Fred Lamb of Binghamton, makes a point of spending a few days each spring and summer to clear away fallen limbs and brush and make sure the stones are kept visible. And a tale of Sentinel Heights wouldn’t be complete without a mention of the “guardian angel” of the area. John Klein lives around the corner from the cemetery and helps with the upkeep as well as keeping a friendly eye on what’s happening. This cemetery of 163 graves is located on Bull Hill Road, near the S.E. corner of Sentinel Heights Road intersection.

People constantly ask about the historic marker near the concrete wall on West Seneca Turnpike, just across the road from the entrance to Van Duyn Hospital. The area at the top of the abutment is presently under the care of the Onondaga County Parks Dept. and is called “the smallest park in Onondaga County”. This small area, just large enough for 2 graves, was originally purchased by New York State when an officer of the War of 1812 died on his way home from the war in the fall of 1813. Then in the spring of 1814, another death occurred, and the second hero was placed in the little graveyard. The records of the burial place of Captains Crouch and Branch was lost for many years. At the present time it consists of the 2 gravestones, a metal fence, and a tree limb flagpole. A local Boy Scout, working on his Eagle Scout rank, is working to make this small cemetery a more fitting memorial for the two fallen heroes. He plans to repaint the two tiers of concrete, mend the fence, and install a metal flagpole with a solar light on the top. Our War of 1812 Cemetery will be splendid!

The old Loomis Hill M.E. Church Cemetery on Howlett Hill Road, near Harris Rd., is coming under scrutiny by a land developer who plans to build a housing development around it. This is worrisome and we’ll keep a close watch.

Walnut Grove Cemetery at the top of South Avenue will be the site of a tour in October as the Onondaga Hill Presbyterian Church kicks off its 200th anniversary. Many of the church’s first members are resting there, along with most of the pioneer residents of the Hill. Early records call the cemetery “The Onondaga Hill Cemetery”.

There are 47 burial grounds and cemeteries in the Town of Onondaga. Once they are considered “deserted” or “abandoned”, they are the responsibility of the town in which they are located. We are very fortunate that our town is responsible and caring and makes sure that these deserted burial grounds are mowed at least once each year. If you have questions about any of our town’s cemeteries or burial grounds, or if you have a group of people who would like to help with the upkeep of any of them, please let me know. Call or stop in to see me on any Wednesday afternoon at our new Town Hall.