I’m currently working on a multi-faceted project that explores the history of my hometown, Watertown, NY. While researching tonight, I stumbled upon some very interesting information that struck close to home- a quarter of a mile away to be exact. I’ll explain:
When I was ten years old, my family moved from the city of Watertown in to the rolling countryside three miles out. Growing up in the city had been an adventure, but living in the country afforded me with the opportunity to romp, stomp and explore more of the world than I ever could have before. It also provided me with a new variety of landscapes. Swamps, streams, sand pits, fields, forests… and cemeteries.
Cemeteries can be one of the most the most mysterious places you’ll ever tread, regardless of age. So when I learned there was a very old within my realm of exploration, I was enticed. This one in particular was called Field Settlement Cemetery. It was a forgotten place at the top of a big hill, encompassed by a vast corn field and teetering on one side next to a massive swamp, riddled with the ivory skeletons of dead trees. This cemetery was a place of deep mystery in my mind and my friends and I would often mount scouting expeditions into the forbidden grove of headstones. We never damaged anything, merely explored until fear, our imaginations, or both, got the better of us. Our departure was usually marked by goosebumps, screams and fleeing.
Looking back now, I can wipe away the childish fears of the paranormal and appreciate the cemetery for what it is: a landscape of history. I’ve made several visits to the cemetery in my adult life and each time the archaeologist in me has felt the need to do something to preserve it. I’ve made rubbings of some of the stones, copied and deciphered some of the engravings and made a crude map of the burial placements. Imagine my surprise when while clicking my way through the web tonight, I discovered a study that had been performed in 1999 on the Field Settlement cemetery. The website detailed the names and dates of the people buried there, including information on relationships and some of the contributions that those buried there made during their lifetime.
Here are some of the interesting individuals who are buried there:
Isaac Brintnal (Died 7 Jan 1822 – Age 71 years)
Massachusetts Revolutiony War Veteran he served 1 month 13 days, at Rhode Island with Captain Robert Cutting’s Company. He was part of Colonel McIntosh’s Regiment, in General Lovell’s Brigade. He enlisted 1 Aug 1778, discharged on 10 Sep 1778.
Elijah Field (Born 20 Apr 1756 – Died 29 Sep 1828)
Revolutionary War Veteran.
Porter A. Cleveland (Died 7 Feb 1862 – Age 20 years)
Oliver G. Cleveland (Died 8 Aug 1862 – Age 22 years)
Civil War Veteran he enlisted at Northville, New York with the rank of Corporal in to Company C 94th New York Infantry. Killed at the Second Battle of Bull Run.
Four veterans from two important conflicts in my country’s history, that’s amazing! And unexpected. For years I assumed it was only farmers and their families who were buried there, but now I see in slightly more detail the lives of those interred there.
In the next few months I’ll be posting my own research so that a more complete historical record of the cemetery exists. Stay tuned.