One hundred eighty-nine years ago the first burial was made in the Villenova Cemetery that is used for the people of South Dayton and vicinity.  In the eastern end of the old part there is a slab of native stone on which appears the following inscription" "John, son of Eli Arnold, died Nov. 2 1811, Age 15 years. the first to die in this town and the first to be buried in this grave ground."

Rev. Eli Arnold was one of the first settlers of the Town of Villenova coming to this vicinity in 1810.  The cemetery is located on the farm settled by him and his log cabin stood about a stone's throw from the grave of his son John.

Rev. Arnold was the minister here for nearly fifty years, dying in 1857.  The Town of Villenova was first settled in 1810 and the cemetery begun the next year and has been made more beautiful each year.

Shortly after the burial of John Arnold there were other deaths in the Town and permission was given to have them buried near the grave of John Arnold.  Eventually this became known as the Villenova or Wrights Corners Cemetery.

By 1857 Rev. Eli Arnold died and William Pierce bought the Arnold farm.  The committee decided to buy one and one-half acres of the Pierce farm for a cemetery including a right-of-way from the highway.  At about this time Eri Sanderson, Edmund Wright and John Weed were elected trustees.  Trustees had a road constructed on the south side of the cemetery.  Money was raised by subscription.  This was done in 1888.

In October 1890 after looking into the State Cemetery by-laws a rural cemetery association was organized to be known as the Villenova Cemetery Association.  Nine trustees were elected by ballot.  They were T.H. Searl, T.R. Simpson, E.W. Crowell, Milo Wheeler, O.M. Wheeler, A.J. Dye, L. Ranlett, J.L. Palmer, and E.A. Chase.

Mr. Ewing was contracted to survey and make a map of the cemetery.  At that time - 1890 - single graves sold for $5.00 and digging and filling a grave cost $3.00.  Grave owners were assessed $1.00 to be used for cemetery improvements only.

By-laws for this cemetery were written from the ones for the Forestville Cemetery.  Copies to be given to each grave owner.

In 1914, it was voted that the price of all graves include perpetual care.

Land was previously purchased by Nelson A. Dye and deed procured was processed in 1923.

Before 1923 there were no women's names in any official capacity on the board.  Grave prices in 1927 were raised to $20.00 in the old section of the cemetery.  The cost of the other graves were raised to $25.00 or $35.00 each depending on the location.  In 1934 bronze name plates were bought for the entrance to the cemetery.

In 1952 the board purchased a mower for the cemetery and put in a special fund to be used for things such as marker repairing.

Bids were put up for the building of the vault in 1971.  In 1978 charges were set for the use of the vault.

In 1974 Mr. and Mrs. Peter Sauberan planted a red maple in the cemetery circle in memory of their son Joseph.  Mr. Sauberan also offered to see about getting a veteran's marker for the circle.  It is a black granite block.  In later years Kuttle Ward had a stone bench installed in the circle in memory of his wife Edna.

In 1980 Edna Brown made a new map of the cemetery graves.  It was voted in 1980 to require cement vaults for all grave burials.  At one time it was permitted to bury one body and three cremations in one grave.  This year the board ruled that only one body or two cremations could be buried in one grave unless it had already been set up before January 2000.

Over the years many people in the Town of Villenova and vicinity have served on committees or on the cemetery board and worked to improve the looks of the cemetery and the efficiency of the business for a well-run business.

In 1983 Lawrence Hooker transferred land to the Villenova Cemetery Association with the stipulation it be surveyed and brush kept down and level part mowed until needed for graves.

In 1985 Norris Nobles set a flag pole in the circle between the veteran's marker and the red maple tree.

Every few years it has been necessary to raise the cost of graves and other charges connected with the burial.  From time to time repairs have been necessary on the tool shed.  In 1994 a new well was drilled at the cemetery by Higley Nobles who donated the work.  Norris Nobles cut some trees for us.  The Brocton Correctional Facility provided free labor for cleaning and straightening stones and they did a fine job.

In 1997 Riles Funeral Home in Forestville took over the job of putting in foundations for grave markers and are still doing ti.

Marc Nobles put a new roof on the vault for us - volunteered.

Since April 1999 Charles Miller Jr. has been our grave digger and does an excellent job.

Every year we have a work day in May to do any cleaning up needed at the cemetery.

The following are the present officers af the Villenova Cemetery Association - have been since 1996 (it is now the Villenova Burial Association).

President - Roger Samuelson
Vice-president - David Dayton
Secretary - Phyllis Dye
Treasurer - Lawrence Hooker
Trustees - Norris Woolley
                 Helen Crowell
                 Tim Nobles

The Villenova Cemetery Burial Association's sexton is Edna Brown.  The assistants are Roger Samuelson and Phyllis Dye.

SOURCE:: Written by Phyllis Dye, 2000