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Community Service

  • Would you like to do any of the following?
  • Work outside
  • Leave a lasting legacy
  • Help preserve history
  • Use your research skills
  • Use your computer skills
  • Use a camera to see things your eyes cannot
  • Use your GPS skills
  • Strengthen your resume

We have an opoprtunity for you to be involved in some Community Service projects ulike anything you have ever done before. You may undertake on eof these challenging projects by yourself, or you can enlist the help of a team. Either way, the job you do will leave a lasating legacy, appreciated both today and for years to come.

Did you know that there are more than 80 historic cemeteries in Putnam County? Each of those cemeteries is the final restin gplace for many of the people who settled Putnam County and who helped make it what it is today. There are soldiers from the French and Indian War, The Revolution, The War to End All Wars, and from each of the gloabl conflicts America has faced. There are inventors and authors, circus performers and business people, politicians and laboraers. There are slaves and slave owners, Native Americans and immigrants. People who lived amazinly long lives and those who lived but a few short days. Some were loved, somewere hated, some were outstanding citizens, and some were scoundrels. Eachleft a lasting legacy; each left a story waiting to be discovered, perhaps by you.

A Variety of Projects
Each of thse projects shall be coordinated with a representative of the Putnam County Cemetery Committee. They may be done by one person, or as a group project. If you are interested in taking thoese projects a step farther you may even be able to produce a professional publication.

  • Photo Inventory of an Historic Cemetery
    Each of Putnam County's Historic Cemeteries has graves marked with a variety of gravestones. Some are simply rocks placed as reminders of whwere a loved one was buried. Some are elaborate mounuments with incredible sculptures. Some have just a person's initials, and some have inspiring poetry.

    Over the years, grave markers were made from various types of stones and materials. Some of these stones deteriorated over the years, many are deteriorating now. Your jon will be to take a digital image of each of the gravestones in one Historic Cemetery. This will help preserve the information for years to come. If you use a mirror to cast sunlight across the face of a stone and then take your pictures, the camera will reveal images and inscriptions not clearly seen by the human eye.

  • Cemetery Mapping & GPS Project
    A very helpful project is to produce a map for a Historic Cemetery. Some cemeteries have maps, many do not. A mapping project will identify the location of each grave marker in a cemetery. Some cemetery maps identify the plot owner. Your job will be to identify where each person is buried in a Historic Cemetery. It would be especially helpful if you do this in a digital format. You should also produce a physically printed map. It is helpful to identify the cemetery with GPS (Global Positioning Satellite) coordinates. You may want to identify each stone with GPS markers.

  • Cemetery Transcription Project
    A written transcription of what is on each grave marker in a Historic Cemetery is a valuable project to help preserve history. The inscriptions on many grave markers become illegible over the years. Unless someone transcribes the information, it will be lost forever. Your job is to transcribe each marker in your chosen Historic Cemetery. This is especially helpful if someone has first completed a pohto inventory. Transcriptions should record exactly what is on each stone, even if the stone has spelling mistkaes. Editorial notes may accompany a transcription if yo uso desire. You may want to make notes to identify the location and condition of each marker.

  • Biographical Profile of a Historic Cemetery
    Who is buried in your Historic Cemetery? People are more than just names and dates. Your job is to make a list of each person in a cemetery and provide a brief biological profile. You may do this for an entire cemetery, or you may focus on particular groups located in the cemetery, such as: Veterans in the cemetery; people who died before their 20th birthday, peopel who were born in the 1700s; people who were born in the 1800s. If possible, add a photographic image to each profile.

  • Road Name & Cemetery Project
    Have you ever wondered how the roads in your town got their names? Many of them were named after people who played some significant role. Who were they? What did they do? Where are they buried? Your task will be to compile a list of the names of each of the roads in your town. You will then identify which ones were named after people. You then will do a brief biographical profile of each individual, one or more paragraphs. You will then find out where they lived, where they are buried and take a photograph of their grave and include a transcription of their gravestone.

  • Restore or Maintain a Historic Cemetery
    This is a very challenging project but one many people will notice. Some Historic Cemeteries have been neglected over the years. Some are barely distinguishable as a cemetery. Your job is to help restore a cemetery. This involves removing brush, and perhaps trees. It may involve fixing or setting fallen stones. There are some resources you can draw upon to do this.

    Another much needed project is to adopt a Historic Cemetery and help maintain it. This involves seeing that fallen branches are removed and the cemetery is mowed during the year. If a cemetery is not maintained, it will quickly fall into a state of disrepair.

  • Fulfill Required Community Service Hours
    Some schools require students to fulfill a certain number of Community Service hours. Most of these projects will qualify. These projects may also be used to help fulfill court-imposed Community Service hours.

  • Eagle Scout/Gold Award Project
    Many of these projects may be used as Eagle Scout or Gold Award projects. If you are a Boy Scout or Girl Scout, contact your Sout Master and the Putnam County Cemetery Committee for more details.

The Putnam County Cemetery Commmittee
Catherine A. Wargas, Chairman
Cell: 846-406-8530


Sarah Johnson, Ph.D.
Putnam County Historian
68 Marvin Avenue
Brewster, NY 10509
(845) 808-1420 x44117