Sunday, June 20, 2010

Where did all the Bodies Go? CALVARY CEMETERY, COHOES, NY

There used to be a cemetery on the south end of Cohoes, west of the Mohawk Paper Mill and east of the old Erie Canal.  Calvary Cemetery was owned by St. Bernard's Roman Catholic Church.  Today it is a dog walk with a forest of day lilies. When I was growing up, it was a source of great mystery to me because I could only see one, very tall monument from the road.  I asked my mother where are all the gravestones were and her answer astonished me!  "They removed all the stones and dug up all the bodies".  Exactly "who" they were was unknown.  According to my mother the most amazing thing about it was nobody knew where they reburied all the bodies!  In the past few years I have learned several of my ancestors were buried there.  Did my mother realize her grandfather was buried there when she told me that no one knew where the bodies went? Were they reburied? Incinerated?  Why were the two monuments to priest allowed to remain?

A Sign at the Entrance

 According  to The Church of Latter Day Saints FamilySearch site, the cemetery is closed and there are no records available.  A closer look at the sign gives a little explanation......

Someone mows a path through
 the center of the old cemetery
The better to walk all the neighborhood dogs.
.An even more interesting question was why was it closed?  Was it poorly managed and posing a health hazard? Was Mohawk Paper Mill interested in purchasing the land?  It all happened a long time ago and there doesn't seem to be any one alive who has answers.
Here's a few more photos from a lovely walk in Calvary Cemetery...



  2. My grandmother told me that the bosies had to be moved because they were collapsing. . .



  4. "Improvement of Cemetery Completed.
    "The work of grading and clearing the land at Old Calvary Cemetery in the southern section of Cohoes has been completed and the plot will probably be landscaped and beautified next spring, it was learned today.
    "All of the brush, weeds and small trees have been removed from the site, together with most of the old headstones, which were fallen or in a dilapidated condition.
    "The cemetery is the property of St. Bernard’s Church but it has not been used for burial purposes for many years. Several former priests of the parish and the ancestors of many present members of the congregation were interred there. The bodies of more than a dozen veterans of the Civil War and the Spanish-American War were previously moved from the Cohoes Cemetery to a special veterans plot in St. Mary’s Cemetery, Waterford.
    "Some of the larger stones and monuments which are in good condition, have been allowed to stand. Included are those marking the graves of Rev. Thomas Keveny, pastor of St. Bernard's Church from 1855 to 1882, and his nephew who succeeded him, Rev. Thomas S. Keveny, who died in 1925.
    "Plans for the improvement project were made last June when lot holders and other persons interested in the former burial site met with Rev. James P. Lawlor, supervisor of cemeteries in the Albany Catholic Diocese.
    "Calvary Cemetery is located off the southern terminus of Lincoln avenue. It lies south of Bridge street and west of Saratoga street, along the Delaware Hudson Railroad line."
    "Improvement of Cemetery Completed.” Times Record. November 14, 1957: 24 col 5.

  5. This is a list and url of Calvary Cemetery ioo bodies ,obit's,and stone photo's

    1. Catherine M RoylanceFebruary 6, 2018 at 6:15 PM

      Checked for my GGF Edward Fennen from Ireland & resided in Cohoes NY. DOD:abt 1901/2. Not Found.

  6. new info shows a 1952 cem photo in cohoes ..there are lots of headstones very very very visible ..even that altitude .

    most were transferred to the east side of the union cem in halfmoon on rt 9 ..the union was mostly ..what was "cohoes cem" [nowin 1909 became west end park Columbia and masten ave] .

    so grgrma grave is post move ..but interred in union cem and 2 of her children at back corner BUT family was in hlafmoon 'then (1926) when she died .

    so 2 cohoes cems in halfmoon ..and some reinterrements/reburials in st jos and st Mary's wford ..

    I am looking into who has notes !! church was not much help and lady gets aggravated, NOW 2016 checking cohoes info [..were I moving bodies ..I'd want the st bernards records ..plot plan of graves ..then a same idea in halfmoon 1958ish ..east side of union cem-] I assume they want to know who was moved to where is likely the records were then given to ..halfmoon ..since halfmoon is now ..listed as owner ..but does not upkeep ..

    next move is ..ask halfmoon ..and they have been sticky before to get info before ..

    ie they/nobody "do not want to hear about it" .

    my ancestors deserve to be respected .

    dave wagner

    1. Catherine M RoylanceFebruary 6, 2018 at 6:25 PM

      Good Going Dave, I have been trying to find my GGFather for some time now, I guess I will have to exaust all of my options and start with the Union Cem.
      Bumbs Rush I guess.

  7. Pretty certain my Father's Grandparents were buried there. Amazing there were no records kept by the church. !958 was nearly 60 years ago but many cemeteries have parish or Diocesan records going back much further than that. An interesting recent newspaper article stated some local volunteers were clearing/cleaning up the Cemetery in Halfmoon but they were stopped by the then mayor of Cohoes. I guess the Cemetery is actually considered a part of Cohoes!

    1. Catherine M RoylanceFebruary 6, 2018 at 6:20 PM

      There are Records, but no one is saying, I was told the Records from St. Bernards were sent to St.Jeans(?) in Cohoes NY, on Vliete Blve. I called there but was told they could not find my GGFather in the Records. I don't know why, St Bernards was his Church, so what is really going on.

  8. People should be allowed to clean it up,The hell with the politicians,