Fred Stabbert III | Democrat
WALTER EGNER, LEFT, president of the Hortonville Cemetery, talks with fellow trustees Harold Roeder and Arnold Baum about the new 32-vault columbarium which was installed.For more information on the columbarium or historical project, call 845-231-4106 or 887-5649.
Cemetery Offers Burial Alternative
By Fred Stabbert III
HORTONVILLE September 28, 2007 In response to a growing nationwide trend, the 138-year-old Hortonville Cemetery is offering something unique to Sullivan County.
At the annual Plotholders Meeting earlier this year, the board of trustees voted to purchase a columbarium, an above-ground monument with recesses for cinerary urns.
The 17,000-pound gray granite columbarium was purchased from Martin Caufield Monument Works, in Honesdale, Pa.
It contains 32 individual vaults which have black doors and marble facing. Following cremation, the human cremains are placed in the vault and the door is sealed and engraved.
“Now there’s a place for the cremains of a loved one,” Harold Roeder, cemetery vice president, said. “You don’t have to worry about the next generation (watching after the cremains).”
Although the cemetery was once annexed to the nearby Hortonville Presbyterian Church, it is now non-denominational and accepting to everyone.
“Research of cemetery records reveal that approximately forty-five percent of all burials are now cremations,” cemetery Secretary/Treasurer Arnold Baum said. “Cremation is cost effective when expenses of buying a vault, casket, cemetery plot, monument, embalming, actual interment and other associated fees are considered.”
The non-denominational cemetery is accepting to everyone, the trustees said, and vaults can be reserved or purchased ahead of time.
Eventually the columbarium will be landscaped with a flagstone patio and stone bench so loved can visit the monument. Other members of the Hortonville Cemetery Assn. are President Walt Egner, trustees Lee Reimer and Bill Hess and Board Clerk Patricia Baum.
A Lot of History
The Hortonville Cemetery originated as a religious annex to The Hortonville German Dutch Reformed Church, which was built in 1860. The original size of the cemetery was just 1/4 of an acre 104 feet square and was purchased in 1869 for $1.
Today, the cemetery, which is located one-quarter mile from the church on North Branch Rd., is 3.6 acres with room for expansion.
In 1938 the cemetery was created as a not-for-profit, non-denominational corporation. In 2002 it became listed on both the New York State and National Register.
In an effort to preserve and honor the dignity of those residents buried at Hortonville Cemetery, Harold Roeder has undertaken a massive cataloging of the exact location of each grave, complete with maps, charts, records, obituaries and pictures.
“If the family provides me with a picture of the deceased, I can scan it in along with an obituary and make part of the historical record,” Roeder said. “This helps with genealogical searches as well.”
The records are computerized for easy access and back-up.
The names of the deceased reveal an historical snapshot of many of the early settlers to the area, including names like Hess, Robisch, Long, Baum, Buddenhagen and Hillriegel.
Some people of note who are buried in Hortonville include Arctic explorer Dr. Frederick Cook; lumberman Martin Hermann, who is the father of local benefactor Grover Hermann; and Civil War veteran Conrad Doering as well as veterans from all ensuing wars.