Our Town has always been blessed with individuals who step up and work at preserving our heritage. So, this week I would like to shine the spotlight on one of them, Adrian (“Bud”) M. Stillwell, IV. I was blessed meeting Bud a year or two ago when he attended one of our grave marker cleaning workshops at the Rossville Cemetery. It was great to be able to chat with someone who shares so many common interests.
Some Sundays, I drift over to the American Legion Hall on Union Avenue for breakfast and fellowship which is always a good time. Over the past year or so, on my journey over there, I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me, however. Every time I drove by the old Gardnertown Cemetery, another grave marker or two had turned a much brighter white! One could hope old Mother Nature was doing this, but that wasn’t the case.
Bud had been diligently tackling cleaning the markers one at a time. Doing this can become a guilty pleasure, one in which you begin getting addicted and crave doing another, then another, and so on. Bud caught the fever and the results are astounding!
Not only have markers been cleaned, but some have been straightened, some fallen ones put back up, the fence painted, and the overall landscaping improved. Bud did share a neighbor of the cemetery, and some other individuals, pitched in to make this all happen. It only takes a few caring people to make a difference. This type of work is not a spectator sport. You don’t have to be a robust, strapping youth to cut and carry brush. One piece at a time is all it takes. Many hand make light work as the saying goes.
The highlight of what Bud and the other volunteers accomplished is putting together a beautiful binder with the deeds for this cemetery with a map, a listing of the names on the grave markers, and their location in the old cemetery. Some of these names are available on Find-A-Grave, but photos have not been taken of every individual stone. Once some of the more “dirty” stones were treated with Biologic D2, the years of mold and lichen retreated and brightness returned, making them easier to read. This is probably why the markers at Arlington National Cemetery remain the way they are. So perhaps it’s time for some current photos to be uploaded.
In this document, Bud has also listed individual military veterans from the War of 1812, and the American Civil War, their military affiliation, the expenses for their gear, and compensation they received. Interestingly, some received land for their service!
Anyone seeking genealogical information on family buried here needs to give a loud shout out thanking Bud, and his team for their volunteer work! I have taken the book and digitized it so it can be archived on the Newburgh History Blog. If anyone would like a copy, I can e-mail you a pdf copy.