Cortland County Cemetery

One of my Patriot ancestors is Stephen Price (on my father’s side), who served for seven years in the Revolutionary War as a Sergeant in the Continental Line of the State of New Jersey.  He enlisted in May of 1777 when he was 19 years old.  He participated in the battles of Short Hills, Brandywine, Germantown, Newtown and Yorktown.

When Stephen’s widow, Elizabeth, applied for a military pension based on her husband’s service, she included pages which had been ripped out of the family Bible in order to prove the date of her marriage, and the births of their thirteen children.

Page from Price Family Bible in Stephen Price Revolutionary War pension file
Page from Price Family Bible in Stephen Price Revolutionary War pension file

Affidavits of two of Stephen and Elizabeth’s sons indicate that the Bible record was written in their father’s own hand.  The Price Bible – priceless!!

After the war, Stephen and Elizabeth Price relocated from New Jersey to Homer, Cortland County, New York, and I recently spent a week in a campground near there so I could research the family.

On a sunny fall day, I visited Atwater Cemetery, where Stephen Price is buried.

Gravestone of Stephen Price, Atwater Cemetery, Homer, Cortland County, New York
Gravestone of Stephen Price, Atwater Cemetery, Homer, Cortland County, New York

Although I had seen a photo of his gravestone online, it’s an entirely different experience seeing it in person.  The cemetery was peaceful, with many old gravestones, and I tried to imagine the way it might have looked when Stephen was buried in 1831.  His wife Elizabeth was still living at the time of his death, and I imagine she surely visited his grave there.

There’s a large Price monument directly next to Stephen’s smaller gravestone which I didn’t know about.

Price Monument, Atwater Cemetery, Homer, Cortland County, New York
Price Monument, Atwater Cemetery, Homer, Cortland County, New York

At the foot of the monument there are two markers, one on each side, which are barely legible, but I could make out “Father” and “Mother”.  The monument itself has no words on it except for “PRICE”.

To the left of the monument are two tombstones, for Almira R. (d. 183?) and Sibyl M. (d. 1840), both of whom were 24 years old when they died, and both of which say the young woman buried there was the wife of Aaron L. Price (one of Stephen’s sons).  Another small tombstone near the two women is illegible; perhaps it’s a Price child.

I know very little about my 4th great uncle Aaron.  Most of Stephen and Elizabeth’s children left Homer to go to the western part of New York, including my ancestor, William.  But Aaron stayed; he was still living in Homer in 1850. The U.S. Census shows him living with Ann (probably his wife), and children ages 13, 8 and 1.

I had no idea that Aaron had been married twice before.  Now that I’ve seen the cemetery, I know that the 13 year old living with Aaron in 1850 is NOT the child of Ann, the presumed wife of Aaron in 1850.  Aaron could not have been married to Ann in 1837 when that child was born.  He was either married to Almira or Sibyl.  This is a really great example of the reason we can’t assume relationships based on census records.

As so often happens in genealogy, the more questions which get answered, the more questions arise.  Who are the Father and Mother buried under the Price monument?  Could they be Stephen and Elizabeth?  If so, why does Stephen have an additional stone?  Who is buried under the illegible stone?  What are the full names of Aaron’s two young wives?  What year did Almira die?  These are all research questions which need to be addressed in the future.  I’m definitely planning to come back to this place next year.

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