Established early 1800s

A Brief History of Poplar Grove Cemetery

A meeting of the citizens of Phillipsport was held at the house of Nathan Baken on the evening of July 23, 1867 for the purpose of organizing an incorporated body to procure and control a burying ground or cemetery. By a vote of a majority, it was determined that the association should be known as Poplar Grove Cemetery Association and that 6 trustees fixed upon to manage the concerns of that body. 

The oldest portion of the cemetery was donated by brothers Peter and John Budd. Records state burial lots were sold for $5.00 each. At the second annual meeting on August 3, 1868, the Treasurer’s Report lists assets of $1.22 on hand.

The second section of the cemetery was added in 1886, when according to cemetery minutes, a committee of 3 was formed to look into purchasing more land from Robert White. During that year, they purchased the adjoining land for $280. The Trustees took $80 from the bank and Rudolphus S. Smith put up a note for $200 payable in 3 years. 

In 1905 $500-$600 was agreed upon to build a vault, based upon the request of  “quite a few deed holders”.  The vault was used for the deceased in the winter when the ground was frozen and graves could not be dug. The vault was beautifully hand built and still stands strong today.

This small rural cemetery grew as the surrounding towns prospered with the creation of the D&H Canal and the O&W Railroad. Many local prominent citizens are buried here.

For many years the cemetery was managed by a caretaker. Over the years as Trustees could no longer volunteer their time or passed away, the cemetery began to fall into disrepair.

In 2011 when Wallace Budd, the last member of the Trustee Board, passed away, New York State Division of Cemeteries held a reorganizational meeting. It was required that another Board of Trustees be chosen and officers elected. At that meeting on June 7th, seven individuals volunteered as trustees and officers were elected. One week later, the new Trustees held their first meeting. With only $16.16 in the maintenance fund checking account, the immediate concern was the upkeep of the cemetery and raising funds for maintenance.

As with many of the area’s small private cemeteries, funds have been depleted over the years as no new grave plots were sold and bank interest rates have fallen.

The current Board of Trustees applied for a Sullivan Renaissance Grant to assist in our effort to restore the beauty to this gem. One of our current goals was to design and open a new burial area to increase our maintenance funds. Cemetery up keep and beautification was a primary goal necessary to attract new lot holders. Working with Sullivan Renaissance has beautified our cemetery and created a renewed community interest and pride in Poplar Grove Cemetery.

On Monday August 11, 2014 Phillipsport won the $25,000.00 Golden Feather Award for all the efforts for various beautification projects at the Community Center, Cemetery, and locally).

Janet Lybolt
Treasurer, Poplar Grove Cemetery
July 31, 2014