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YEAH!!! Look what happened!!
Inmates get Stockport graveyard presentable again
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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 blade.
Posted: Tuesday, September 25, 2012 12:30 am | Updated: 9:16 am, Tue Sep 25, 2012.
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 county jail.
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.
"It's for 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 coming months.
"It's a nice change of pace (for the inmates)," Bryant said. "It's
hard work and they're giving back to the community. It's a good thing. It's a
real good thing."
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 said
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
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
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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