Monsey Memories: The Historic Monsey Cemetery

Monsey Memories: The Historic Monsey Cemetery

By Yitzy Fried

At the corner of Maple Avenue and Saddle River Road lies the historic Monsey Cemetery, where soldiers from the American Civil War, the War of 1812, and the Revolutionary War are buried.

A sign above the cemetery reads, "We here highly resolve that the men who fought for freedom in the wars of 1776, 1812, and 1861 shall not have died in vain. At the coming and the setting of the sun, we shall remember them. Museum of Spring Valley and Countryside, Sons of the American Revolution, Lions Club of Monsey, Erected 1971."

But over the years, the cemetery fell into neglect and disrepair, and thus we read in the Journal News in 1968: "Valley Museum Explains Countryside Interest. To preserve the natural beauty of Spring Valley and its countryside is one of the aims of the Museum of Spring Valley and Countryside, and members have expressed concern about the neglected appearance of the Monsey Cemetery at the southwestern corner of Maple Avenue and Saddle River Road.

"With an eye toward improving a site that is also steeped in local history, museum members envisioned a more park-like burial ground. They would like to clean up and maintain the old cemetery. They are considering the possibility of installing benches, erecting a split rail fence, and a bronze plaque with the inscription 'Here rest patriot soldiers of the Wars of the American Revolution, the War of 1812, the Civil War. Respect and honor their memory. They fought to keep us free.'

"The museum's committee on beatification has secured the cooperation of the Town of Ramapo and the owners of the site. They have aroused the interest of such organizations as the SAR, CAR, DAR, and the veterans' units."

The following year, the paper reported: "Monsey Cemetery Cleared. In a triangular, weed-grown patch of ground at Route 306 and Maple Avenue, Monsey, lie the graves of nine soldiers, including one general, who fought in the Revolutionary War. The general, whose grave is in the Monsey Cemetery, is Peter S. Van Orden, who fought in both the Revolution and the War of 1812. He died in 1846. 

A similar effort was undertaken by Brian Negrin in 2011 when some of the graves were damaged due to a nearby construction project. He spoke with CBS Radio at the time and said: "You have to respect these people for what they've done. You have to respect your history and know that there is history in this area. There's history everywhere, and you just have to be careful about what you're doing."

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