Sunday, March 16, 2008


Today's featured cemetery is the

Dearstyne Family Burying Ground

This abandoned burying ground of the Lawrence Dearstyne family, who leased this lot in 1837, is in very bad condition. There are about 10 unmarked field stones. It is a sad little place. I wish I could post a photo but we have none. The Berne Historical Project would like to add GPS coordinates and photographic records of the stones to their site. If anyone can help us, it would be much appreciated. To find the cemetery follow the directions given on this link.


  • Yesterday I was searching the Fulton History site for items with the word "Berne" in them and found this article in the Albany Evening Journal on the August 27, 1916 dedication of St. Mary's of the Lake Catholic Church at East Berne.
  • I have added a permanent link in the left hand column for the Fulton History site.
  • Tom Tryniski, the Fulton History site owner, has generously offered to scan microfilmed archived copies of the Altamont Enterprise to post on his site so they will be available free of charge to anyone using the Internet. Once posted, archived newspapers are fully "searchable," and when an article of interest is found, such as an obituary or article on Berne, individual pages can be downloaded. I put the editor of the Altamont Enterprise in contact with Tom, and they have agreed that the Enterprise will have microfilmed copies of their archives sent to Tom for scanning. Having the archives of the Altamont Enterprise on line will be a wonderful service for all of the Hilltowns, and for descendants of Hilltown families living all over the country. Currently archived copies of the Enterprise are available on microfilm at the New York State Library, the Guilderland Public Library, and the Altamont Village Museum. Your local library may be able to get them on loan form the Guilderland library.
  • The same "Berne" search on the Fulton History site also turned up an article on the family of Sylvanus Walden Settle, born 1818 son of Jacob Settle, Jr. and Cornelia Rose Walden. About that same year, Jacob Sr. built a store with a meeting hall upstairs. He sold groceries, dry goods, crockery, hardware, paints and medicines. Source: Our Heritage. The former Settle store is the only store still operating in the hamlet of Berne.
Continuing the family line of work, Sylvanus Settle was a succesful Albany merchant when he died in 1899. In May 1901 his wife Caroline died leaving an estate of $30,000 dollars, some of which was left to various individuals in Berne and to the local churches. A front page article in the June 11, 1901 Albany Evening Journal gives the terms of her will and tells why her only living descendant, a granddaughter, was left just one dollar and was therefore contesting the will.
  • "Our Heritage," edited by Euretha Wolford Stapleton, former Historian, Town of Berne, and produced by the Town of Berne Bicentennial Commission, 1977, is a 144 page paperback on the history of the Town of Berne, including many early photographs, plus biographical sketches on the some of the families of the early settlers. Although much new information has been discovered in recent years on these families, there is still much of value in this very interesting book. Unfortunately it has been out of print for many years. A few years ago the Historical Society discussed the possibility of having it reprinted but for some reason nothing came of it.

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