That's wonderful. I'm glad.
From: nycolumb-bounces(a)rootsweb.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
On Behalf Of gc-gateway(a)rootsweb.com
Sent: Tuesday, September 25, 2012 2:42 PM
Subject: Re: [NYCOLUMB] M.E. Church Cemetery in Stockport, Columbia County,
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YEAH!!! Look what happened!!
Inmates get Stockport graveyard presentable again Story Comments Image (2)
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Stockport cemetery cleanup
Columbia County Jail inmates Will Hines and Chris Duke work on some very
aggressive thorn bushes Monday with hand tools and a weedwhacker with a saw
Posted: Tuesday, September 25, 2012 12:30 am | Updated: 9:16 am, Tue Sep 25,
By Billy Shannon Hudson-Catskill Newspapers | 0 comments
Posted on September 25, 2012
by Billy Shannon
A long-abandoned Stockport graveyard covered with thick brush has again been
revealed and reintroduced to the community - thanks to a few men from the
The roughly two-acre Chittenden Road lot with more than 100 graves, some
dating back to the early 1800s, had for years been covered over with thick
underbrush and thorn bushes.
But, as part of the Columbia County Jail's inmate work program, clearing
began Thursday to make the graveyard - originally affiliated with a
now-closed Methodist church on the street - presentable again.
Three prisoners under the watch of two corrections officers Monday used
heavy duty weed eaters, rakes and pitchforks to clear close to an acre of
brush that had been covering dozens of headstones.
They cracked jokes and seemed proud of the work they were doing.
"It's a work-in-progress," John Barratt, one of the workers, said.
a good deed. I'm happy to be helping."
Barratt, Chris Duke and Will Hines made it through a screening process to do
the outdoor work, according to Corrections Officer Jeff Bryant. Nothing
violent could be on the workers' records and all three were sentenced to
less than a year of incarceration. They are all due to be released in the
"It's a nice change of pace (for the inmates)," Bryant said. "It's
and they're giving back to the community. It's a good thing. It's a real
The graveyard is now owned by Trinity Methodist Church in Greenport,
according to Stockport Town Supervisor Matt Murell.
"Many residents have talked to me about" the overgrown graveyard, Murell
The neighbors of the graveyard, the supervisor said, were "thrilled" that it
is finally being taken care of. The town of Stockport is assisting in the
cleanup by lending tools and transporting the brush away.
"It adds something to the community," Murell said of the inmate work
program. "This gets the church to the point where they can maintain it."
Pat Sullivan, a 28-year Chittenden Road resident, called seeing the
graveyard cleared out "spectacular."
He commended the Columbia County Sheriff's Office, the inmates, the work
program and the town for partnering to bring a neglected group of graves
back to a point where they can be viewed and respected.
And, Sullivan said, "it gives these guys kind of a real breath, you know,
they're doing something."
The inmates receive no payment for their work, according to Bryant, except
for being treated to pizza and wings and given the chance to work outside.
Other work done in the program includes painting public buildings and
rehabilitating neglected pets.
Some of the items uncovered in the graveyard cleanup included an old iron
cannon with the year 1766 printed on its base, at least three loose
cannonballs nearby and dozens of headstones ranging in condition from tilted
and cracked to solid, prominent stones containing intricate pieces of art.
The work was, as Dan Tompkins, a corrections officer and part-time deputy
sheriff, described, "reclaiming history."
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