Genealogical researchers owe a bow of credit to Melvin W. Lethbridge, a resident of Montgomery County who undertook readings of numerous cemeteries in the 1920s. The following report to the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors gives insight into past efforts to acknowledge area veterans with service markers, as well as into the extent of Mr. Lethbridge's coverage of Montgomery County cemeteries. In this report he specifically mentions surveys he made in the towns of Florida, Glen, Charleston and Amsterdam. All of the cemeteries he read in these towns were published in a decade's run of issues of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record published in the 1920s and 1930s. Also in these volumes, but not mentioned here, are readings for the towns of Root and Mohawk, and some from other towns.
A fraction of Mr. Lethbridge's readings are on our site (although most of our Montgomery County readings are his) and will be posted on line as they become available to us. For researchers who can't wait, the journals containing Mr. Lethbridge's readings are known to me to be available for your viewing in the genealogical room at the New York City Public Library, the New York Genealogical & Biographical Society on E. 58th St. in New York City, and the New York State Library in Albany. N.Y. Mr. Lethbridge mentions that in 1931 he gave copies of his readings to the Montgomery County Clerk's office; many cemetery records are available for your viewing at the Montgomery County Department of History and Archives in Fonda, N.Y.
REPORT ON MARKING VETERANS GRAVES
Proceedings of the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors
December 29, 1931
MELVIN W. LETHBRIDGE
December 29, 1931
To the Honorable Board of Supervisors, Montgomery County, N.Y.
In May of this year I purchased through the chairman of the purchase committee of your board the following markers for veterans' graves:
Sixty Spanish War.
They were disposed of as follows:
Sixty-five new marks of Civil War veterans' graves (this included five turned over to me by the G.A.R.)
Forty-five Spanish War veterans' graves were marked.
Twenty-five World War graves were marked.
Four Revolutionary War graves were marked.
Four 1812 veterans' graves were marked.
Seventy new rods were placed in Civil War veterans' markers (this included twenty purchased from the local Memorial Day fund).
There has since been twelve World War veterans' markers placed on graves of veterans who died this year.
The balance of the markers were placed in the hands of Mr. Edward J. Sheehan, commander of the Floyd Deckro Post of Fonda, N.Y. for use up the county, and he has disposed of them as needed.
The markers that I placed were distributed as follows: Town of Mohawk, Pine Grove cemetery; town of Florida, Chuctanunda cemetery; town of Amsterdam, St. Mary's cemetery, Fairview cemetery, Polish cemetery; Hagaman cemeteries, old and new; Jewish, two Italian, two Polish and one Lithuanian cemetery.
There is at present about twenty markers to be placed, consisting of Revolutionary, 1812, Spanish and World War markers.
In the course of my work I have since the purchase of these markers, visited the following cemeteries: Glen, Fultonville (old and new), Fonda, Charleston Four Corners, Canajoharie, Rural Grove, St. Johnsville, Fort Plain, Buell, Ames and Rider's Corners, and have found that the markers in these cemeteries are in very poor condition or missing entirely, and if your honorable body will furnish the same number this year, I will be very glad to place them without any expense to the county, as the various veteran posts throughout the county have promised to assist me in this work.
The markers placed this year are permanent, as the bronze rods will not rust out, and they were rebored, threaded and rods inserted without any cost to the country by the writer.
I have had the cooperation of Dr. Garlock of Canajoharie, Mr. McWethy of St. Johnsville, Supervisor Don of St. Johnsville, Mr. William K. Smith of Fonda, Mr. Edward J. Sheehan of Fonda, and the veteran societies, including the D.A.R., in this work. I found that there is great interest taken in it by every one I talked to.
During the year I have, with the cooperation of Mrs. Frank N. Becker of this city, furnished over eight thousand inscriptions for publication in the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, a copy of which is on file in the county clerk's office at Fonda, N.Y., through the order of your honorable body.
The record of all the graves in the towns of Florida, Glen and Charleston are completed and published, and they are now publishing the town of Amsterdam. The next will be the town of Mohawk, which I have nearly completed, and in doing this work I can register veteran graves and mark them at the same time, if furnished with markers. I only ceased field work on December 19th of this year.
I would therefore request that the same number of markers be provided this year, if possible, but in different quantities, if possible, as follows: Twelve U.S. veteran markers to cover graves of men who died in service, but were in no war, twelve Indian War markers, twelve 1812 markers, one hundred Civil War markers and thirty-six World War markers. Also one hundred brass rods to repair Civil War markers.
If there is anything further that your honorable body wishes to know, I will be very glad to meet you at any time and furnish the information to the best of my ability. One of your new members, Captain John Liddle, has been associated with me very closely during the past two years in veteran work and can probably give you considerable information.
Thanking you for your consideration, I remain,
MELVIN W. LETHBRIDGE
Motion by Mr. Clark that the report be received, adopted, spread on the minutes and printed in the proceedings. Seconded by Mr. Harr and carried.
Source: Proceedings of the Board of Supervisors of Montgomery County for the Year 1931
Copyright © 1931 Melvin W. Lethbridge
Copyright © 1931 Board of Supervisors of Montgomery County, N.Y.
Copyright © 2000 - 2012 Martha S. Magill
All Rights Reserved.