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Inside This Issue The FACSI Newsletter
Volume 14 Issue 4
Winter 1997
Friends of Abandoned Cemeteries of Staten Island

Pearse O'Callaghan (1921-1995), Founder
End of Year Issue
Org.1982 Inc.1983
FACSI News 1997
Remembering Jim Deyak
Vandal Watch 1997
Book Notices
Staten Island Cemetery Association Trustees' Notes
FACSI Membership Form

FACSI NEWS 1997 by Fred Crane & Dick Dickenson


Archival Database of Obscure Burials on Staten Island

Dick Dickenson acquired the Seamen's Retreat burial records, 1840-1876, from the National Archives, and copies were made of pre-1898 Consolidation death records housed at the NYC Municipal Archives. This is the first time this important material has been brought back to Staten Island since Consolidation. The records known as "Old Towns" cover the years 1847-49 & 1881-97, the towns Castleton, Northfield, Southfield, Westfield and Middletown, and the Villages of Port Richmond and Edgewater. These records have already proven of significant value to the database project being conducted by Dick Dickenson and Doris Lane.


Len Robusto reports 96 members; 78 in good standing and 18 in arrears. New members in 1997 are: Geraldine Lane Belfiore, Mariners Harbor, Francis J. Carelli, Travis, Linda Lane Corrente, Egbertville, Clinton Denny, Wilmington DE, James Denny, Catonsville MD, Marjorie Egan, Woodrow, Thomas V. Fitzgerald, Cape Coral FL, Hebrew Free Burial Association, Manhattan, Peter & Lydia Kerr, Naples FL, James W. Lane, Port Richmond, Robert E. Lane, Tottenville, Richard Lapiedra, Willowbrook, Virginia Longfellow, Allentown PA, Thomas V. Murphy, Dongan Hills, Larry Nicola, Marlboro NJ, Lorraine Sweeney, Shenandoah PA, Jean Tranum, Sacramento CA, Gail White, Clifton, Helen D. Woodman, Henderson NC

Photos & Inscriptions

Duplicating of photos and inscriptions of headstones located on Staten Island is ongoing. This project is being accomplished by Marge Johnson, Fred Crane and Janet Kiernan.


And we have our own heroes in 1997:

Press Note

Richard B. Dickenson, President of FACSI and Staten Island Borough Historian, was the subject of a lengthy interview in the August/September 1997 issue of Update: Newsletter of the African Burial Ground & Five Points Archeological Project. The next issue of the FACSI Newsletter will feature a reprint.


In addition to our regularly scheduled cleanups, we periodically walk through the cemeteries, picking up trash, checking for vandalism, encroachment and dumping. At the request of new members, we have added cemeteries, Sailors Snug Harbor and Silver Lake, to our list for visits. To volunteer to assist Fred Crane in this important work, please call, 718-xxx-xxxx. A current task is to reduce wood piles at Lake and Staten Island Cemeteries to wood chips and spread them along the paths.

Friends of Abandoned Cemeteries of Staten Island

xxx, Staten Island NY 10301

Dick Dickenson, President

Fred Crane, Vice President & Secretary

Marjorie Johnson, Treasurer

Lenny Robusto Counsel/Membership

Doris Lane, Editor

Juan Santiago, Production Assistant

FACSI Statement of Purpose To initiate the preservation and cleanup of neglected or abandoned cemeteries, graveyards, burying grounds and churchyards; and to assist in the beautification, rehabilitation, and/or attempt to restore, and maintain, the markers, stones and history of such final resting places.

QUERIES FACSI encourages readers to submit queries concerning the burial places of their ancestors in abandoned cemeteries on Staten Island. Please call Fred Crane at (718)xxx-xxxx. Queries and responses may be published in the FACSI Newsletter.

Photocopying and paper for this issue of the FACSI Newsletter courtesy of United Federation of Teachers.

Remembering Jim Deyak

By Marjorie Decker Johnson

We have lost a valued member of our group. Jim Deyak died on Saturday, September 20.

Jim was a lifelong Mariners Harbor resident. He attended Mariners Harbor Reformed Church when a child and then Summerfield Methodist Church, Mariners Harbor, after the Reformed Church closed.

At age 24, he was badly injured while riding as an aide on an ambulance. He sustained back and knee injuries and later had other internal problems.

About six years ago, when in a near death crisis, he decided to become a minister. He attended the Dutch Reformed Seminary in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and finished a two-year course. He was yet to be ordained, but did ministerial duties at various churches, most recently at Flatbush Reformed Church, Brooklyn.

About ten years ago, he founded and was president of the Asbury Cemetery, New Springville, which had been abandoned. Len Robusto helped with the legal end of it and Fred Crane helped with the cleanup and maintenance.

Jim was just 41 years old. He had attended our meeting just three days before his death.

Vandal Watch 1997

In addition, there were reports of vandalism at St. Peter's and St. Mary's Roman Catholic Cemeteries and at Hillside, Ocean View, Merrell and Fairview Cemeteries.

The Law on Cemetery Vandalism: effective November 1, 1997 - co-sponsored by Assemblywoman Elizabeth Connelly:

An Opinion on Cemetery Vandalism: "An act of ineffable barbarism." State Senator John J. Marchi (S.I. Advance 8/26/97)

Something New in Cemetery Vandalism: In-line skaters using railings at periphery of Bethel Cemetery for stunt riding.

Volunteer! Call 718-xxx-xxxx

Book Notices

From the Record Books: Staten Island Cemetery Association, West New Brighton

Part Two:

June 4 1904 * The matter of removing the fence between the two cemeteries in the hands of the Trustees be continued at their discretion. The matter of a plot in the Cemetery for the GAR [Grand Army of the Republic] Veterans in the hands of the Trustees be continued with power at their discretion.

June 3 1905 * A delegation from the adjoining cemetery was present, and recognized by the president. The Commander of Richmond Post GAR, col. Bernard. Resolved, that such lot owners are requested to remove the hedges about their lots within 90 days from date, after which time the Trustees will remove such hedges at the expense of the association.

June 4 1904 * The matter of removing the fence between the two cemeteries in the hands of the Trustees to be continued at their discretion. Mr. Mullen was introduced, he expressed thanks and gratitude for the donation of a plot in our Cemetery to Richmond Post No. 524 Dept. of New York located at Port Richmond, for burial purposes of deceased Veterans of the Civil War. Also our Ex president Major James B. Horner was called upon, he offered congratulations to the commander of Richmond Post.

June 1 1907 * After a very pleasant meeting, the meeting adjourned to enjoy a social time. Ice cream, and strawberries, and cake having been provided by the committee. Jos. H. Barker, Secy.

June 5 1909 * The usual interest in the welfare of the Cemetery has been displayed by the lot owners in person and by correspondence, which comes from afar off, Germany, England, Canada, the Pacific Coast, Florida and many States where representatives of the lots now reside. Printers ink has done much, to keep our friends in touch, with us.


Eugene Arneel, President

Henry B. Seawood, Vice President

Jos. H. Barker, Secretary & Treasurer

Frank Burbank, Superintendent, address 17 Water Street, near Cemetery, West Brighton, S.I., Borough of Richmond, N.Y. He only is authorized to make interments and removals. Modern cemeteries have decided to follow the rules of landscape gardening. Have your lot put in order. Many hundreds pass by our cemetery daily.

June 3 1911 The Forty Seventh Annual Meeting of Lot Owners of the Staten Island Cemetery and the Eighteenth Annual Meeting of the Cemetery Association * The matter of providing water through a pipe was considered. The motion to provide a water supply in connection with the adjoining cemetery was adopted. The President, Mr. Arneel was more than glad to express his pleasure and joy that a Soldiers' Monument could be erected to perpetuate the memory of more than one hundred soldiers and sailors of the Great War 1861-1865 who were buried in the cemeteries jointly.

June 1 1912 * The Hon. Benton Wilgus our friend was introduced. After a short patriotic talk, he entertained the ladies with songs, accompanied by him-self on the piano.

West New Brighton June 7 1919 * Mr. Eugene Arneel complained about the condition of the cemetery insofar as the labor was concerned, but after President Alston and Treasurer Wright explained as to the difficulty of obtaining proper service he suggested that the trustees pay the prevailing rate of wages to labor.

June 5 1920 * Miss Barker spoke in relation to the disappearance of the high mounds in some of the lots. This condition was caused, explained Mr. Alston, partly by the elements and partly by the individual lot owner. Mrs. L. Wright, Secy Pro Tem

June 4 1921 * A notable feature of the meeting was that not a single complaint was made as to the upkeep of the cemetery. All appeared to be of the opinion that matters were progressing favorably. Lewis J. Wright, Secy

June 4 1925 * There was considerable discussion relative to leveling all mounded graves in the cemetery thereby giving the cemetery a more uniform appearance. Opinions were about equal, pro and con, so the matter was laid over for another meeting. Lewis J. Wright, Secretary

West New Brighton NY July 5 1926 * Secretary Wright stated that he had much difficulty relative to telephone service via 'partyline' for cemetery business, and that he was changing to a private line at an increased cost. Trustee Bergman moved, seconded by Mr. Robert Rakestraw that the Association pay half the telephone service. Carried.

West New Brighton NY June 11 1927 * Secretary Wright reported that owing to the other cemeteries on Staten Island charging larger amounts for single graves and grave openings he, without calling a meeting of the trustees, advanced the price of single graves to $50.00 and grave openings to $18.00. On motion duly seconded and carried, Secretary Wright's action was ratified.

June 7 1930 * Several new faces were noticed among those in attendance and these in addition to the regular attendants expressed their satisfaction as to the appearance of the Cemetery.

June 3 1933 * A transcript of a special meeting of Richmond Post No. 524 giving permission to Arthur Egbert Post, Veterans of Foreign Wars, to inter in the lot held in the name of the former Post was read and upon motion ordered filed. Lewis J. Wright, Secy-Treasurer

June 2 1934 * In the report, mention was made concerning two dedication ceremonies at the Grand Army of the Republic lot. One a flag pole; the other the unveiling of a memorial tablet. Lewis J. Wright, Secy-Treasurer

June 1 1935 * The report of the acting Superintendent which states that there were five interments during the year; that fences had been replaced and repaired; and that labor had been engaged full time. Mrs. Alice Bergman, Secretary Pro-tem

Report of Supt. from May 1 1936 to April 30 1937 * We have had serious damage to grave stones and fences during the year and I have made several visits to the Police Dept. but to date the Police have not been able to find the persons causing the damage. I have made two hundred visits to the Cemetery this year and have warned all persons and children I have found there to keep out. Due to the falling off of the assessments I found it necessary to keep only the graves cut that have paid their assessments. There are some exceptions to this as I have tried to cut some that have been paying each year. This also includes the Perpetual Care which we are obliged to keep cut. Wm. H. Brinley, Acting as Superintendent

June 4 1942 * The next order of business was the election of Directors for the coming year. The following were nominated and elected: Mrs. Alice Bergman Mrs. Madeline Clark Mr. Thomas Bishop Miss Anna Knoble Miss Carrie Barker and Wm. H. Brinley.

May 1 1942 to April 30 1943


Assessments received for current and other years $ 345.00

Grave opening in plot 37 Foggin Estate 15.00

Grave opening in plot 46 and 47 Slaight Estate 40.00

Grave opening in plot 86 seven bodies removed 190.00

Grave opening in plot 66 Stout Estate 30.00

Total Receipts $ 620.00


Labor cutting grass, etc. $ 197.65

Salt for poison ivy 1.65

Stationery and Postage 6.75

Supplies for workmen 2.82

Lawn Mowers repairs 4.50

Grave opening Jos.Xiques 1.50

Secy fee 100.00

Telephone Expense 25.00

Total Disbursements $ 488.37

June 5 1948 * The Secretary had his office open from 3 PM until 4 PM and no members of the Association were present, therefore no business was transacted. Wm. H. Brinley, Secy Treas

June 3 1950 * There being only two members present; Mr. R.E. Sugden of Bogota, New Jersey Plot #21 and Secy Wm. H. Brinley, no business was transacted.

June 2 1951 * There being only two members present; Mr. R.E. Sugden of Bogota, N.J. Plot #21 and the Secy Wm. H. Brinley, no business was transacted.

June 6 1952 * There being only two members present; Mr. R.E. Sugden of Bogota, N.J. Plot #21 and the Secy Wm. H. Brinley, no business was transacted.

July 8 1955 Letter to Mrs. Sarah Bodine, New Haven, Conn. * I am returning three dollars which you sent me to cover assessment on 1/2 #89. So few people have paid anything in the last few years that Cemetery will be unable to accept any more assessments. Yours truly, William H. Brinley Secy-Treasurer

PS If you will contact Mr. Ralph Rispoli, 29 Tompkins Place, Staten Island 10 N.Y., Tele GI 2 9139 he will let you know if he can clean the lot for you.



Friends of Abandoned Cemeteries of Staten Island

Membership Form

Name ______________________________________ Enclosed please find:

Address____________________________________ Dues $6.00 ________

Telephone__________________________________ Tax Deductible Contribution $ __________

Please call me about volunteering ________

Return this form and your enclosed check or money order to:

Marjorie Johnson, Treasurer

115 Townsend Avenue, Staten Island NY 10304




Staten Island NY 10301








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