The Bennet Family Cemetery – Cheektowaga’s “oldest cemetery” – sports a new historical marker thanks to the Cheektowaga Historical Association’s latest restoration project at the cemetery.
The blue-and-gold metal marker, funded by the William C. Pomeroy Foundation, was erected along the north side of Walden Avenue just east of Harlem Road. It states: “Bennet Cemetery: Early Cheektowaga Cemetery. Oldest stone dated 1819. Graves of Armitage, Bennet, Adams, Davis, Doat, Watts, Boothroy & other Families.”
“This is still part of the restoration process that we stated two years ago,” said Maureen E. Gleason, a leader of the association.”
The cemetery, across Walden Avenue from the former Thruway Plaza, is where some of Cheektowaga’s earliest settlers are buried, including Elnathan Bennet, the town’s first assessor, commissioner of highways and unofficial first postmaster.
The historical association has experienced a particularly busy and successful 2012.
Also this week, besides this week’s marker being set, the highly anticipated new fencing, gate and archway at the Garrison Cemetery, also known as the War of 1812 Cemetery, on Aero Drive was finished, culminating years of effort.
New York State Fence Inc. of Hilton was contracted earlier this year to craft almost exact replicas of the twisted wrought iron fence that first adorned the historic cemetery, which is the burial ground of about 200 American and British soldiers.
In October, the historical association helped facilitate the relocation of former Cheektowaga farmer Amos Ray’s 900-pound headstone that was found in the Bennet Cemetery to his final resting place at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Buffalo.
Ray had been buried at the Bennet Cemetery between 1863 when he died until 1928. That’s when his remains were relocated with other family members to Buffalo’s most celebrated burial place.
One of Ray’s descendents, James G. Ray III, approached the Cheektowaga Historical Association earlier this year after genealogical research he did revealed that his great-great-grandfather’s headstone and burial spot were 5½ miles apart.
Also coming up:
• The Cheektowaga Department of Sanitation announced alterations to its garbage pickup schedule for the next two weeks. Christmas and New Year’s Day are the only two calendar workdays in the year when sanitation laborers have off from duty.
The Monday, Dec. 24 and Dec. 31, trash pick-up will be handled as usual. Then, regular trash pickup is bumped ahead a day. Regular Tuesday collection will be moved to Wednesday. Wednesday collection moves to Thursday. Thursday to Friday and Friday to Saturday, officials said.
• Members of the Cheektowaga Senior Center, 3349 Broadway, are invited to bring their grandchildren along to the center for a 10 a.m. Wednesday free movie. The film “Brave” will be shown in the craft room of the center.
• The Town Board will hold a work session at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the council office conference room at Town Hall, 3301 Broadway.