Cemetery Index

Cemeteries of Madison County, NY


Go to Gifford Cemetery Census


Town of Sullivan

Burials: 1836 (or earlier) 1892(3)

	The abandoned Gifford Cemetery is located in a small grove of trees on the south side of NY Rt. 31 
one mile west of the Lakeport four corners, and just east of the intersection of Weaver Rd. and Rt. 31. It 
is a family cemetery located on land that was owned by the Gifford family for several generations. 

	Paul Gifford and his wife, Patience Tripp, came to Lakeport from MA in the early 1800s. Reuben Spencer 
and his wife, Mercy Chapman, came to the area about 1815 from CT. Marriages united these families, and for many
years members of the Gifford/Spencer families owned most of the land extending from the present Town of Sullivan 
Chapman Park eastward to the Lakeport four corners. Burials in the cemetery represent four generations of these 

	According to Evalena Hubbard the cemetery dates back to 1823, although in her DAR Survey no stone bears a 
date earlier than 1836. She stated that there are three Civil War veterans and a War of 1812 veteran buried there. 
The last recorded burial was 1892, although Spencer descendent William Weaver stated that the last burial was that 
of Welcome O. Spencer who died in 1893. Reportedly the Gifford family records note forty burials in the cemetery. 

	Seventy years ago a dozen monuments were in evidence, while today only about half that many stones stand as 
a reminder that once twenty seven monuments were inventoried. According to a 1935 newspaper article, Merle Gifford, 
who owned the land on which the cemetery is located, and Dr. Howard Chapman decided to raze the cemetery. A number of 
stones were destroyed; among them were the grave markers of Lakeport founders Reuben and Mercy Spencer. Members of the 
community voiced strong objections, and the District Attorney Woolsey was sent to speak with Gifford, regarding his 
right to raze the cemetery. Although Gifford believed that it was his land as no separate deed existed, he agreed to 
replace the stones that had been removed and were not yet destroyed. "Two rows of graves in the cemetery are alleged 
to have been plowed and set to rows of berries." 

	Evalena Hubbard, member of the Skenandoah Chapter of the DAR, completed the original survey. She lived near 
the cemetery, and was a descendent of the Spencer family buried there. It should be noted that in completing her 
inventory, she remained loyal to the task, recording only verifiable observations. She did not include information 
that she may have known as a family or community member. Sandra B. Wilsey compiled the notes in 2008. Please contact 
her, swilsey@twcny.rr.com, with corrections and additions.
2008 Sandra B. Wilsey. All rights reserved.