Hoff / Shelp Cemetery
Many family researchers express concern about the condition
of an ancestral cemetery. As volunteers, usually not residing in a county, there's nothing GenWeb coordinators can do as individuals
to assist in expediting restoration or clean-up. A little background. In NY State, small private or abandoned cemeteries don't have the protections of cemeteries that are
active or owned by cemetery associations that provide "perpetual care". Most of the surviving early family cemeteries reverted to the town's
stewardship long ago and damage accumulated over the years. NYS town governments are required to clear grass and brush once or
twice a year but aren't responsible for stone repair or replacement. Cemeteries on private property aren't protected at all, the land is just
property, although on occasion a provision was made in a will or deed allowing descendants access for visiting and caretaking.
Henry and Lydia Parkes Shelp's is the one tombstone still upstanding.
Following are some comments on the little Hoff/Shelp Cemetery by Mill Point Road written by Florence K. Millar (descendant of Revolutionary War hero Capt. Garret Putman), and cc'd to a group of other concerned researchers. The photographs were provided by Jack Williams, a Shelp descendant.
"I have a personal interest in this graveyard because my 3x-great grandfather, Captain Garret Putman, who served in
the Revolution from 1779 to 1781, is buried there, as are his wife and other members of his family, including my
great-great grandparents. The graveyard is located in a sumac grove about fifty yards north of the Mill Point Road
(Rte. 161), 3 miles east of the village of Glen. When I visited the graveyard in 1946, the tombstones were upright and
family stones were grouped together. However, in several visits over the past nine years, the last time being in May, 1998,
I have found the graveyard to be in very poor condition.
The tall, thick sumacs and dense undergrowth make it very difficult to locate the stones. The stones themselves lie broken and jumbled randomly together. It is sad. I understand that upkeep of these country graveyards is the responsibility of the town governments and I hope that it will be possible to restore this site to the neatness and order which these early pioneers of the valley deserve."
Florence K. Millar
Reply from Dr. Charlie Hoff (descendant of Richard Hoff), who visited the cemetery earlier in the 1990s.
"As you know, there are at least 3 Revolutionary War veterans buried there. My ancestor, Richard, Sr. (his burial is an educated guess on the basis of the weathered stone next to), Richard, Jr.'s and -- as I recall -- one of the Shelps. My guess that the weather-defaced stone is Richard, Sr.'s because it is next to Richard, Jr.'s. In all relevant historical documents I come across they seemed closely linked while there is no mention of the other siblings of Richard Jr.'s -- who were supposed to be numerous."
Charlie Hoff [Note: researcher Charles Hoff passed away.]
Headstone of Henry Shelp and his wife Lydia Parkes
1st cousin 4 times removed of Jack Williams and 2nd great-grandfather of Alice Shelp
Close-up of base, showing condition of stone.
Vegetation is sumac overgrowth.