On a Finger Lakes wine tour this afternoon, I decided to stop by one of my favorite little picturesque cemeteries – the First Church Cemetery in Naples, NY. A quick stop for lunch and a wine tasting across the street at Inspire Moore vineyards provided the perfect opportunity to snap a few photos of the cemetery. The cemetery is located at 9 Mt Pleasant St, Naples, NY 14512. About a year or so ago, I did a little research on this particular location, so I figured this was the perfect opportunity to share some of the history of this site!
Check out this view of the cemetery from above:
First of all to set some context, beside the cemetery is a small park which is designated as the location of the first church in the area, originally known as “Middletown.” The compact for the community was created in 1800, and the original on-site church was built in 1824. Although the church no longer exists, its cemetery is still open to the public, and houses some interesting examples of funerary iconography and important local figures.
“First services were conducted in a log barn, and then a log schoolhouse next door. Several sources state December, 1825 as the date the Congregational church building was completed and dedicated. The marker states 1824 which may have been when construction began. In later years the congregation shifted towards Presbyterian. In 1850 a new church was built to the south. The original, at this location, was torn down in 1870 or 1871.” (source)
Even though there isn’t anyone particularly famous buried in this cemetery, it’s still a really neat little example of an original settlement burial ground. The area surrounding the cemetery has quite an interesting history too, with the site of the original church just outside the gate, as well as this marker just a little ways away from the cemetery:
Naples is explicitly connected to both the American Revolution and the War of 1812. Some of the smallest towns have the biggest histories! The next time you find yourself driving through Naples for a wine tour or eclectic dining experience, take a quick stop at this little cemetery right next to the local diner, and explore some of Naples’ interesting local history! I believe next weekend is the Grape Festival in Naples – which is great – so take some time to see this cemetery in between buying grape pies and tasting wines.
Below is a nice little video that someone made while stopping through the cemetery. While all of the assumptions/history are not entirely correct, it is a great way to get a look around the cemetery!