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Sears Burying Ground to Get Historic Marker

The unveiling of a new historic marker for the Sears Burying Ground, also known as the Old Southeast Church Cemetery, is scheduled April 27.

By Jack Alcott

The Sears Burying Ground, also known as the Old Southeast Church Cemetery – the site of the oldest marked grave in Putnam County, dating back to 1751 and the resting place of Revolutionary and Civil War veterans – has a new historic marker. An unveiling, sponsored by the Town of Southeast and the Historic Sites Commission, is scheduled Saturday, April 27 at 3 p.m.

The cemetery, located at 1601 Route 22, is just north of the Red Rooster diner.

The iconic blue-and-yellow metal signs mark several other historic sites around Southeast and Brewster – and the county – and highlight important people, places and events around New York State.

Many of Southeast’s earliest settlers are interred at the cemetery, and it includes family plots and monuments engraved with many old names, such as Barnum, Crane, Crosby and Kent. The oldest marked grave is that of Abigail Moss Kent, wife of Elisha Kent, who died in January 1751 at age 33.

The recently restored and reunited gravestones of Revolutionary War hero and militia Captain Jedidiah Wood and his wife, Abigail, are also on view at the burying ground. Wood is famous for helping to take wounded American soldiers along a trail in what is now Brewster village to a field hospital in Danbury.

Abigail’s 1815 tombstone vanished in the late 1970s from a family graveyard on the Woods’ former farm behind Marvin Mountain. The stone was discovered in the woods near Tonetta Lake in 2022 and was later erected next to her husband’s at the Old Southeast Church Cemetery, aka Sears Burying Ground.

The Woods’ bodies remain in unmarked graves at the old farmstead near Nelson Boulevard.


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