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Lake View Cemetery History

History Written on Headstones at Lake View

Next to the worship of the Supreme Being, there is probably no duty more universally acknowledged, by all civilized nations, than a sacred respect for the dead.

Judge E.T. Foote
Dedication ceremony
of Lake View Cemetery,
Oct. 5, 1859

Memorial Day has been set aside as a day for our nation to pay respect and tribute to the dead. Veterans’ organizations give special tribute to the men who died in time of war. Families and Friends gather to honor their own.

Those who do view Memorial Day as a special time to honor the dead will visit cemeteries. Flowers will be placed on graves and special prayers said and ceremonies conducted.

In Jamestown, much of the activity will center at Lake View Cemetery, a 68-acre site at North Main and Buffalo streets.

Much history of this city can be found in Lake View Cemetery. It is written on head stones and pictured on monuments.

There are, of course, the Prendergast monument and Fenton mausoleum and the Hazeltine plot. There are also monuments to those whose names are not as well remembered today.

There is a monument to Lyman Crane, founder of Methodism in Jamestown. The epitaph of Pastor Carl O. Hultgren, a pioneer pastor of the Augustana Lutheran Church, it is written in Swedish. The Ellicott Hook and Ladder Co., in 1892, placed a bronze cast of a fireman in the cemetery in memory of Norman K. Ranson, first foreman of the hook and ladder company and founder of the Jamestown Fire Company.

The site at Buffalo and North Main was the third one used by Jamestown residents. The first cemetery was located in a pasture on a high knoll, southwest of what is now the intersection of Fourth and Clinton Streets. The cemetery was established in 1815. The settlers had not established one before that because no one had died.

The people were dissatisfied with the remote location and rocky ground of the original cemetery. A new cemetery was designated in about 1822 in the area of what is now Dow Park, north of the Prendergast Library.

Proof that the population of Jamestown in those early days was expanding rapidly is found in the fact that in a little more than 30 years, the second site became over-crowded. Judge Foote noted in his address at the dedication of Lake View Cemetery, that in the first 12 years of the settlement of Jamestown only five adults and 12 to 14 children died. Judge Foote said that all but one body was moved to the Dow Park Location.

The inhabitants of Jamestown organized in 1858 an association under the Act Authorizing the Incorporation of Rural Cemetery Associations. They resolved that the name association “shall be known and called ‘Lake View Cemetery’.”

The land was purchased and the association drew up a set of by-laws, rules and regulations that have guided the care, landscaping and placing of monuments.

The grounds were laid out and areas in the cemetery were given names such as Chestnut Hill, Wildwood, Oak Wood Bluff and Highland.

The first burial was that of Corrisande Barrett Lowry in the Wildwood section. The first lettered stone placed at a grave was that of Lydia Kidder, daughter of Abner and Polly Hazeltine. That stone is still there and the lettering is legible, despite the fact that other areas of the cemetery have suffered from vandalism.

The trees in Lake View Cemetery are an important part of the beauty of the landscape and are an indication of the forethought and sensitivity of the people who founded the burial site.

The most essential adornments of a cemetery are trees; they give expression, from the plain and lowly to the majestic and commanding, and are chief requisites in a beautiful landscape.

Jamestown Post-Journal, May 25, 1974