To the editor:
I read with interest the Aug. 15 front-page story on the hundreds of people buried in unmarked graves in Gardiner, Pittston, and surrounding towns, and that many were from the Old Men’s Camp in Jefferson. It brought back memories of when I served on the St. Denis Cemetery Committee in Whitefield. Serving with me were Jane Hellegers and Edith Manley, both now deceased.
Sometime in the first half of the ’90s, we discovered that there were many indigent men from the Old Men’s Camp, but we weren’t sure where. Working with Tom Staples from Staples Funeral Home, we were able to deduce that most were in a rear portion of the St. Denis Calvary Cemetery in an open area that we thought held unsold plots. We were greatly distressed by this, both because they weren’t being properly honored but also because we could have inadvertently sold lots in that area and had new graves dug, exposing their remains!
To alleviate this situation, we had the area in question closed off and delineated with a single-strand chain-link fence. We then had a large boulder (Jane loved referring to it as a “glacial erratic”) moved and placed in the area and had a bronze plaque affixed to it. The plaque reads “Sacred to the memory of the deceased residents of the Jefferson Camp and others buried here.”
I wish Ann Cough and Ed Grenier success in their efforts to do the same in their cemeteries.
Glenn B. Angell