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Lawson Cemetery (a.k.a. Larksburg Cemetery and Emanuel Cemetery)
Putnam Valley, NY

Current Status: Inactive but subject to use.
Description: Established by Bishop Robert Lawson of Temple Refuge Church in New York City, in connection with a summer colony for African Americans. Bishop Lawson and his wife are buried at the cemetery.
GPS: N41• 20.645; W073• 49.017
Location: Near Barger Street
How To Access: Via Right of way, beginning of which is by the white stone pillars just north of 44 Barger Street
Tax Map No.: Putnam Valley 85.13-1-33
Owner of Record: Rabbinical Seminary of America, Queens, New York
Size & Use: 20 acres. In use beginning in 1927.
Earliest Gravestone: 1927
Most Prominent: Bishop Robert Lawson
Current Condition: Poor. Other than the grave of Bishop Lawson and his wife, there does not appear to have been any recent care. The Bishop's plot is fenced and seeded, but grass did not appear tohave been cut recently. Grass inside teh fence is the only vegetation other than trees, saplings and a few weeds. Only 1 granite headstone and 1 granite base remain in addition to the Bishop's plot. Some stones and depressions suggest other possible gravesites.
Maintained By: Rabbinical Seminary of America. Contact Rabbi Meir Glazer at mglazer@rabbinical.org
Repairs Needed:

James Gummerson, Eagle Scout Troop 165 in Yorktown completed his Eagle project.  He and other volunteers cleaned up the trash and debris left in the cemetery area, planted grass, refilled sunken graves, created a path, and built and planted a memorial garden with stones bearing the names of each person interred in the cemetery.  James writes "I hope my project helps to bring awareness to the importance of small bits of history like this one that are being lost.  I really feel privileged to have been able to acomplish restoring this little piece of history back to a respectful and beautiful place."

James will be heading to Binghamton is the fall to study History and hopes to have the opportunity to encourage others to help restore and respect our local historic sites. 

To see a slide show of the work James and his team did on this historic cemetery, click here.

Troy #: 5I

"All marked graves are 1927 or later." - Buys.
"Reverend Lawson, a black bishop, who preached dancer Bill 'Bojangles' Robinson's funeral in 1949, lived on Barger Street. The Lawson Cemetery there was the first all-black burial ground in this area." - Constant

References: Fisher p. 73; Buys p. 115 (mention, but no listings).

The names and dates on the list below are from a correspondence dated August 10, 1931: "This is to acknowledge the receipt of the following of "Transit and Burial Permits" from the Larksburg Cemetery Corporation of interments [sic] made in Emanuel Cemetery." A photocopy of an unidentified book shows an additional seven names (marked with * in the following list), as well as this comment: "Twenty other graves, unmarked are just field stones. The cemetery is in very bad condition and is uncared for."

Name Age Born Died
Bailey, Robert 39 Years    
Barbour, James 28 Years    
Butler, Raymond J. 18 Years    
Clarke, Sarah 75 Years    
Cobb, Henry H. 51 Years    
Cobbs, Lucy 35 Years    
Coleman, Margaret 8 Years    
Drayton, Adeline C. 47 Years    
Edwards, Jonas 46 Years    
Folton, Ada 28 Years    
Freeman, John 54 Years    
Hatter, Henrietta L. 64 Years 1871 1935
Hatter, Walter L. 50 Years 1887 1927
LaMond, George W. 56 Years    
Lark, Sumner, H. 57 Years    
Lawson, Carrie F. (wife of Bishop Robert Lawson) 52 Years 1891 1948
Lee, Henry 58 Years    
Logan, Eva 23 Years    
Marcus, Andrew 4 Months    
Murray, Mary 54 Years    
Nelson, Elenore 2 Years    
Patterson, Eleanora 41 Years    
Randolph, Ellen     May 3, 1938
Randolph, Mary     Jul 6, 1952
Rommeyer, William 31 Years    
Rosario, Rosana 20 Years    
Samuels, Moses 23 Years    
Saunders, David 29 Years    
Tandy, Samuel F. 56 Years    
Walker, Edna 29 Days    
Washington, Margaret 16 Years    
Watford, Izzie Nora 68 Years Jun 15, 1884 Oct 19, 1952
West, Mary 53 Years    
Wilkins, Louise 28 Years    
Williams, Hettie 52 Years 1891 1943
Young, Alfredia J. 17 Years