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Monday: People











Monday, August 3, 2009 A7



g u s t 3 , 2 0 0 9 A 7 • PORT BYRON •

Photo provided

Mount Pleasant Cemetery has been under the care of many agencies, including the village of Port Byron.

Village helped cemetery expand

Over the years, Mount Pleasant Cemetery has been under many caring

hands. At one time, the Mount Pleasant Cemetery Associ-

ation was in charge of its oper- ations. I once read that the associa- tion was also responsible for expanding the cemetery. How- ever, I recently discovered that

the Village of Port



I recently discovered that the Village of Port Roe Dawn Byron was also involved in that

Byron was also involved in that

process. An article in the Weekly News and Democrat dated Oct. 16, 1895 would provide some of the details about the village trustee’s dedication to our cemetery. The article states that the village acquired title to a portion of land adja- cent to the cemetery and would be fin- ishing the construction of the roadways in that section. The village had also transferred the land to the cemetery association with agreement that they would provide the care and future maintenance of it. Upon completion of the roadways, it was said that Port Byron would have a burial ground that would be considered “second to none in the northern sec- tion of Cayuga County.”

A 1940 Citizen-Advertiser article also indicates that the village trustees in 1895 had transferred the land to the cemetery association for $2. The trustees of the village at that time were listed as Alvin D. Stewart, Calvin R. Aldrich, John W. Barrus, Andrew J. Shetler and Peter E. Howland. I thought it would be nice to share a little history about each of our village trustees that were mentioned in the $2 land deed:

Alvin Daniel Stewart, M.D. was a practicing physician at Port Byron for some 30 years. He died in 1933 at his home in Falconer at the age of 78. His son Dr. Alvin J Stewart followed his father’s footsteps and was a graduate of the College of Medicine at Syracuse University. He would later practice at Jamestown, N.Y. Calvin R Aldrich was a lawyer by occupation and was active within the village as well as the town of Mentz. He held multiple positions, such as town supervisor as well as town justice. He died in 1915. John W. Barrus was an organizer of the State Prohibition Party and also a prominent Mason. He perished in a house fire after successfully removing his wife to safety with the help of his neighbor Zach Graham. It is not known what object he reentered the home to try to rescue but that decision would result in his tragic death in 1908. His wife died four days later. One of their

daughters was Dr. Clara Barrus, a physician and author who was the offi- cial biographer of John Burroughs. Andrew J. Shetler was a boat builder. In 1873, Oliver B. Tanner pur- chased the Port Byron Dry Dock from Richard King Jr. in co-partnership with William Ridell and Andrew Shetler, operating under the name of Tanner Shetler and Co. Future changes in the partnership would result in the business being known as Tanner’s Dry Dock with O.B. Tanner being sole owner. Andrew died in 1907. Peter E. Howland was a success- ful farmer. He also served as superin- tendent of highways and justice of the

peace, as well as assessor. Peter died in


It is a fitting tribute that all of the above trustees that served our village in 1895 are buried at Mount Pleasant Cemetery, the same cemetery that they helped to expand. The Mount Pleasant Cemetery Association would later transfer the operations of the cemetery to the Town of Mentz, which currently provides and cares for our largest and only active cemetery in our community.

Dawn Roe is historian for the village of Port Byron. She can be reached at 776-8446 or by e-mail at Visit her blog at

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