Roslyn Landmark Society has been awarded a $10,000 grant from the Robert D. L. Gardiner Foundation to help restore the historic Townsend Cemetery in East Hills. The restoration is expected to begin in the spring.
Dating back to 1790, the cemetery was active for almost 104 years. Throughout this period, it was known as the Willis Farm Cemetery, Greenvale Cemetery and now the Townsend Cemetery. The earliest internment was Timothy H. Townsend (Nov. 24, 1790) and the last burial was Ethalinda Jackson (Nov. 12, 1894.) A total of 33 internments were documented in the burying ground. In a 1912 survey by Josephine Frost, a total of 29 headstone inscriptions were compiled. Nine headstones and five footstones are currently visible on the ground.
Burying Ground Preservation Group, Inc. in collaboration with Steward Preservation Services have prepared a comprehensive plan for the restoration. The proposed multi-phased project plans to address the need to survey and record the cemetery, and to provide recommendations for its conservation treatment and restoration.
The restoration work will be a joint project with the Town of North Hempstead who is responsible for the management of the property.
“We’re committed to collaborating with local non-profit community groups such as Roslyn Landmark Society to raise funds and care for our town cemeteries and landmarks. Such partnerships provide the feedback and enhance the cooperation we need to get things done and do them right” Town of North Hempstead Historian Ross Lumpkin said.
Bill Stone, a descendant of the eight members of the Jackson family buried in the Townsend Cemetery, said of the grant, “Our family was delighted to receive news of the generous grant from the Gardiner Foundation for restoration of the Townsend Cemetery. We want to extend our gratitude and thanks to those who have participated in acquiring the grant and facilitating the work including former North Hempstead Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth; Councilman Peter Zuckerman, Historian Ross Lumpkin, the Town of North Hempstead Department of Highways, Howard Kroplick and the Roslyn Landmark Society. It is comforting to know that the final resting place of our ancestors is in good and caring hands.”
Two additional Long Island historical societies also received the first non-matching grants awarded by the Robert D. L. Gardiner Foundation for the restoration of historic cemeteries, The Davis Town Meeting House Society (Davis Cemetery, Coram), and Yaphank Historical Society (Hawkins Family Cemetery, Yaphank).
Kathryn M. Curran, Executive Director of the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation said, “Our local cemeteries offer a wealth of historic information including genealogy, views of artistic, religious and social trends and even land use to name just a few. We are pleased to support the local stewardship of these sites.”
The Roslyn Landmark Society thanks the Robert D.L. Gardiner Foundation for their continuing support of historic preservation on Long Island.
—Submitted by the Roslyn Landmark Society