The Jefferson St. Cemetery, a picturesque piece of property, located on Route 219 just South of the Public Square. Is recently underwent a major restoration under the direction of the Ellicottville Historical Society. The cemetery dates back to 1817 and buried here are the remains of over 400 people including many of the Village's founders and early citizens who were instrumental in the development and growth of the town. Recently the cemetery has been placed on the State and National Registry of Historic Places.
When a cemetery association is no longer active, by state law, the town is required to take it over. The Town of Ellicottville has supported the efforts of the restoration, and provided financial assistance. Although lawn maintenance has been provided by the Town, years of deterioration had affected the monuments and markers. Project manager, Gail Carucci, and Town Historian, Mary Elizabeth Dunbar have been coordinating the efforts for this restoration. The Cattaraugus County Real Property Office provided mapping, along with GPS coordinates, for the restoration project. Now there are maps and pictures of the gravestones. There is a huge aerial photograph showing each of the existing markers and a corresponding list of whose stones are there.
The first year was spent getting all the information together, researching and filling out the National Registry application. Gail found records of over 40 people buried there without a marker. Identifying the location of these remains is impossible, as the cemetery records were lost to fire long ago. In 2012 two professors and about eight anthropology students from Buffalo State College (SUNY) were invited to visit the Jefferson St. Cemetery. They spent two days plotting and using their GPR machine to determine if they could find where the unmarked graves might be located. Although the radar cannot reveal actual bodies under the ground, it can show areas where the ground has been disturbed, indicating where a person might be buried.
The town of Ellicottville continues to support the efforts of the restoration and will continue to do so in the future. The Jefferston St. Cemetery Restoration Committee has set a fundraising goal of $20,000 which will assist with plans to include a large stone to memorialize those with unmarked graves, a sign for the cemetery, a possible permanent bench, a plaque to demonstrate the state and national Registry of Historic Places statues, landscaping, and any future repairs to the stone wall.
On November 14th, 2013, a dedication ceremony was held at the Cemetery where a sign was unveiled, donated by the William Pomeroy Foundation indicating that the cemetery had been placed on the State and National Registry of Historic Places in 2012. Plans are underway to complete the project in 2014.
View the cemetery online!
View headstone information, photos and more information on Jefferson Street Cemetery on the Cattaraugus County Cemetery viewer at http://maps2.cattco.org/cemetery/
Source: Mary Elizabeth Dunbar, Town Historian