About a dozen people gathered on a cool Sunday morning for a ceremony to rededicate 40 graves containing members of some of the area's oldest Quaker families.
The graves, located by Chappaqua's Fair Ridge Cemetery, are those of members who passed away in the 19th century and belonged to the Croton Valley Meeting in northeastern New Castle. The graves, according to New Castle Town Historian Gray Williams, were originally located by the meetinghouse, near the confluence of the Croton and Kisco rivers. They were moved in 1903 because the New Croton Reservior was expanded to meet New York City's growing demand for drinking water, with the Chappaqua Friends Meeting purchasing land for them. Other remains from the original site were moved to locations in Mount Kisco, Bedford and Yorktown.
The passage of time was not kind to the graves, however.
"The plot was located in a wooded area set apart from the rest of the cemetery, and was apparently never maintained," Gray Williams wrote in a history overview of the graves. "The grave markers were neglected, and several broke or fell over. Only a few inscriptions remained legible."
Williams, who has had an interest in the site for some time, said that work began during the spring. It involved clearing brush, having neatly mowed grass and fixing headstones. The work was also funded by Town Justice Douglas Kraus.
The graves contain members of several old-line families from the area, including Weeks, Sutton, Underhill and Thorn, Williams wrote. The Croton Valley meetinghouse, which was replaced at a nearby location after the reservior flooding, remains as an active congregation today.
VIDEO OF THE EVENT IS ATTACHED.