The places where we honor our dead tell as much about a community as do the homes of the living. In pioneer times, travelers were often buried trailside, perhaps with a stone or stick to mark the grave. In Tompkins County the earliest cemeteries were usually family burial plots. Many of these isolated sites are still extant, sometimes found by unsuspecting farmers as fields are plowed and earth turned. More often they are overgrown and hard to find. Gradually religious organizations became responsible for interring the dead, and in the late 19th and early 20 th century private associations and municipalities also took on this role.
There are hundreds of cemeteries in Tompkins County, and The History Center will be featuring several of them in a new exhibit In Memoriam – Cemeteries of Tompkins County. We will examine the historical, genealogical, and architectural heritage of these places where we remember our past, our loved ones, and the people who came before us.
Check out this interactive map of cemeteries in Tompkins County! (Created and provided by Bob Kibbee History Center Trustee)