Ovid Union Cemetery
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On May 23, 1860, a group of local citizens formed the Ovid Union Cemetery Association to create for Ovid a majestic park-like burial grounds with mature trees, fine lawns, and carriage ways that meandered through the natural contours of the land. Such beauty was previously only available to the wealthy. The cemetery, inspired by the Mount Hope Cemetery in Rochester, also broke social barriers. It was non-sectarian and allowed people from all denominations and social status to be buried side-by-side in picturesque surroundings.

The first burial in the Ovid Union Cemetery was Lucretia Dahin who was buried on August 22nd, 1860. The oldest person buried was 106 year old Jennie Lerg. She is one of several Willard patients buried in unmarked graves in what is called Patient’s Row. As part of the Capital Campaign, the cemetery wishes to erect a monument to honor these unnamed patients. The wrought iron fence (refurbished in 2008) was built in 1879. The Cemetery, enlarged several times through the years, is now 15 acres, 11 of which is developed.

The Ovid Union Cemetery, with its majestic pine trees, well maintained grounds and rich history, has been a centerpiece of town life for nearly 150 years.


May 23, 1860Filed incorporation papers with Seneca County Clerk.
Meetings to be held first Tuesday in April.
Elijah Howell - Chairman
James Ferguson - Secretary.
May 8, 1875Changed name to Highland Evergreen Cemetery.
Apr 19, 1876Meetings to be the first Saturday in June at 3p.m. at whatever place the secretary shall name.
Jun 2, 1877First superintendant of grounds was G.W. Freleigh.
Jun 7, 1879First motion for building of vault if the cost did not exceed $3,000 – motion for building fence on the north side.
Jun 5, 1880Offered $25.00 reward for conviction of the thief that took the tubing and chain from the well.
Jun 4, 1881Motion to build tool shed, 16 x 20 feet and the cost not to exceed $100.00.
May 1883Gave James Bennett contract to build tool shed.
Jun 23, 1883Resolved that grounds be mowed 3 times each year and at such times as the President directs.
Jun 7, 1884Bond treasurer for $1,000.00.
Jun 6, 1885File maps of new grounds with county clerk.
Jun 1, 1889Receiving vault cost not to exceed $500.00 and the material used shall be stone and Portland cement. Such said vault to be finished by the first day of November 1889 with the capacity to hold 12 bodies.
Jun 6, 1889Frank Kinne said he owned well on cemetery grounds. Appointed a committee to look into matter.
Jun 7, 1890Set up committee to write By-Laws.
May 2, 1891The cost of digging graves is to be $3.00 except if ground is frozen then the price is to be $3.50. A cost of 75 cents for receiving and delivering a body to and from the vault. Bodies in vault over 30 days will be charged for by the association.
Jul 10, 1893By-Laws adopted.
Apr 1898Bequest of Schuyler Coe placed in certificate of deposit.
Aug 10, 1898Mr. William L. Eastman’s horse jumped fence and fatally injured it.
Jul 14, 1899Mr. Samuel L. Smith gave cemetery land known as “Old Tuttle Place” on east side of property. The only consideration being that the association keeps his lot No. 178 O.P. in good repair forever.
Apr 12, 1910Motion was adopted that $50.00 be the least amount accepted as a fund for perpetual care of any one lot.
Feb 23, 1911Paid F.E. Allen $500.00 for the purchase of the “Old cider mill lot”. Paid $200.00 for Hendrix lot. Sold house on said lot to D.B. Austin for $1500.00 and he had to agree to remove the house.
May 13, 1915Cost of making new maps of the New Part of cemetery grounds was $5.00.
Apr 10, 1917New shingle roof on tool shed.
Mar 3, 1920Sexton appointed at a compensation for work performed for the association of 30 cents per hour. Raised opening and closing of graves to $6.00.
Apr 15, 1924Raised opening and closing of graves to $8.00.
Aug 8, 1925Treasurer empowered to bid on Stafford estate which ajoins the cemetery on west side and a portion thereof lies to the north on the opposite side of highway. His bid shall not exceed $1500.00.
Apr 13, 1926$2.00 for vault rental for bodies buried in cemetery. $3.00 for bodies committed to vault but not buried in cemetery.
Apr 12, 1927Sexton’s fee raised to 40 cents per hour.
May 5, 1933An attorney revised the By-Laws and they were approved.
Aug 8, 1933Ovid National Bank has been restricted from doing business.
Sep 5, 1934Apply for aid together with Holy Cross Cemetery in having certain improvements made to cemetery. Aid to be applied for from the Seneca County Emergency Work Bureau through the cemetery board.
Apr 11, 1939Price of single burial to be $10.00.
Apr 20, 1943Authorized the treasurer to buy $4,070.00 Series F Savings Bonds. Pay 60 cents per hour for help in cemetery.
Apr 12, 1955Resolved all monies collected for perpetual care be deposited and under no condition be used other than interest incurred.
Apr 12, 1955Resolution: Opening Graves: $25.00 pine box, $35.00 vault.
Price of lots: $125.00 - 4 burial lots, $200.00 - 8 burial lots.
Jul 29, 1958Borrowed $500.00 for 3 months.
Aug 16, 1962Borrowed $500.00 for 3 months.
Nov 13, 1964Sold house and land to Lloyd Northrup for $2,000.00.
Apr 17, 1968Opening graves $40.00 pine box, $50.00 vault.
Feb 17, 1969Lloyd Northrup taking care of cemetery at proposed amount of $2,000.
Apr 24, 1970Contacted mason (Duffee of Trumansburg) for repair of vault (stonework).
Apr 6, 1971Ford Bequest of $10,000.00. Choice of cash or IBM stock.
Apr 10, 1973Ceased the sale of perpetual care and now will put 15% of lot sale in Perpetual Care Fund.
Nov 29, 1974New maps authorized to be made.
Apr 8, 1975New maps completed by Mr. James Close of Interlaken.
Jul 14, 1977Proposed all grave markers be placed at ground level in certain areas of cemetery.
Jul 2, 1980Fred Nielsen Bequest received. Proceeds were used to expand the vault.
198326 Northern Pine Tees Planted.
1985Well cleaned and pump replaced.
1985-86Vault facing installed on expansion. Plaque installed in memory of Fred Neilson.
199121 Spruce Trees and 2 Globe Arborvitae planted.
1995Signs were installed at the three entrances to the cemetery. These signs were donated by the Seneca County Highway Department.
Oct 6, 2003Long-time Cemetery Association President Wisner Payne Kinne dies at the age of 89.
Jun 28, 2007Declining income threatens to close down the cemetery. New Board Members John White, Leonard Reynolds, Sheila Reynolds, Mark Jauquet, Gertrude Fischer and Leon Kelly are elected to try to keep the cemetery afloat.
Aug 2008The NYS Department of Transportation donated road millings from its repaving Main Street Ovid. The millings were spread on the cemetery roads by the Trustees to add a much needed base.
Aug 26, 2008The Paroles from the Willard Drug Treatment Center (“the Green Machine”) help refurbish the wrought iron fence along Gilbert Road.  The fence, originally built in 1879, was reinforced and repainted.
P.O. Box 175 | Route 414 | Ovid, NY 14521