Brighton Cemetery

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Photograph taken by Warren Kling

Just where is the Brighton Cemetery? 
No, it's not in Brighton, but it is in the 21st ward of the city of Rochester. It's located on Hoyt Place which is off Winton Rd. South right next to the expressway near East Avenue. It of course was originally in Brighton but in 1905 the original village of Brighton, which included the cemetery, was annexed by the city of Rochester. Please come and visit the historic Brighton cemetery. Click on the map to find Hoyt Place:

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How old is the Brighton Cemetery?
It is one of the oldest cemeteries in the area dedicated in 1821. Many of Brighton's early pioneers are buried here while others are buried in Rochester's Mt. Hope Cemetery which was dedicated in 1838. By the way, Mt. Hope Cemetery was originally in Brighton.

Was there a church affiliated with the cemetery?
Yes, it was a brick building costing $4000 to build in 1822. 
Brief excerpt about the history of the cemetery from an article by Ruth K. Porter:  
"When the Erie Canal was completed in 1825 it flowed quietly past the cemetery on the eastern and northern sides. Today that quiet flow of water has been replaced by a never-ending flow of thousands of noisy vehicles as they speed through the interchange of Expressways I-490 and I-590 which were built on the bed of the old canal.  Most of the early pioneers to Brighton were pious Congregationalists from New England who soon organized a church which met in members' homes for several years. In the early 1820s they built a small brick church (40' x 55') on the high ground adjacent to the cemetery. Sunday services were from 10 am to noon when there was an intermission for the noon meal: In pleasant weather the members would stroll through the cemetery reading the inscriptions and looking for a shady place to enjoy their picnic lunch. When, the canal was completed they often spent the intermission watching the boats being pulled through the nearby lock. Then back to church they would go for another two-hour session. In 1867 a flaming shingle blown by the wind from a burning Village tavern landed on the steeple of the church which was soon reduced to ashes. Many valuable items were saved by quick-acting church members, but the cemetery records which were stored in the church were completely destroyed. The only record of burials prior to 1867 was the information gleaned from the gravestones and the names of those persons buried in unmarked graves were lost forever. Therefore the records of the Brighton Cemetery are far from complete. A larger and more beautiful church was built in 1868 on East Avenue in the Village, and the church and cemetery were now separated by the canal. For years the church was responsible for the cemetery. However In 1892 the Brighton Cemetery  Association with a Board of Trustees was formed to manage the cemetery  culminating in a complete separation of the church and the cemetery."

Interesting facts about the Brighton Cemetery

The Stone family have two of the oldest graves in the cemetery. Elizabeth Stone, first wife of Orringh Stone, and her seven month old son Allen, have graves that date back to 1814, amongst the earliest transferred to the cemetery after its opening.

The cemetery was also referred to as the "Dutch" cemetery because many families from Holland are buried in the southeast section. There are over 300 Dutch families and their descendants buried here with names including Van Der Ameele, Vandewall, etc. Many related families have a slightly different spelling of their last names.

The Erie Canal, which made Rochester America's first boomtown,  ran along the northeastern part of the cemetery where the I-490/590 expressway is today. It was there by 1822, although the entire Erie canal was not completed until 1825. Click on this link to find out more about Erie Canal history in New York.  Click on the picture to see how people traveled on Erie Canal Packet boats and what it cost.
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What is the blue gray Watson monument in the Brighton cemetery made of?

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It's a cast zinc alloy, and the trade name is called "White Bronze" although there is no bronze in it. There was only one company in America which made these monuments, the Monumental Bronze Company of Bridgeport, Connecticut. They were manufactured between 1877 and 1939 and not many were sold in comparison to marble or granite markers. The reason was they were looked upon as a low cost alternative and the majority were sold before 1900.  However, they proved to be quite durable because zinc oxidizes very slowly and over the years these monuments have held up much better than stone monuments. Also, being cast metal much more detail could be put in them than could possibly be carved in stone.  They came in all shapes and sizes including the tall obelisk like the Watson's. This particular monument is the largest example of a white bronze monument found in Monroe county. Although Mt. Hope Cemetery has many more examples of white bronze monuments, there are no tall white bronze obelisks there.

Home Brighton History May 2017 Event Rochester History Slide Presentations Ft. Myers Rochester Party History Research History Question Website Content Mansions Tour Lectures Warren's Book Book Orders Warren's Blog Warren's Tours Mt. Hope Cemetery Mt. Hope Notables Rochester Trivia Interesting Facts Brighton Pioneers Brighton Facts Brighton Cemetery