Payne Cemetery, Town of Nelson, Madison County, NY
Payne Cemetery, Town of Nelson, Madison County, NY
Field check and map May 11, 13, & 19, 1994 by Daniel H. Weiskotten
1806 - 1873
(old lists include: Evans 1949, Meyer et al. c.1960)
posted 6/3/2000
(modified 7/11/2004)
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This page presents a list of those buried in the Payne Cemetery, Town of Nelson, Madison County, NY.  The history text is DRAFT only.

        This cemetery is one of the more fascinating cemeteries that I have seen.  While there are only 24 names to be found on tombstones there are twice as many people also buried here in "unnamed graves."
        Owen Evans, in 1949, reported that this cemetery was on the Joe Gaiser farm and the land was once owned by Ruggles Payne, one of the first settlers of the town of Nelson, coming from Ashfield, MA (Evans mistakenly says CT).  Evans wrote that Payne first lived in a hollow tree until he built his cabin.  His only neighbors in that early time being bears and Indians.  He later went back east and married Susie Daniels who returned with him.  They spent the rest of their lives on this farm and brought up a large family.
        The front section of the cemetery, about 180 feet along the road and 60 feet deep, has recently been cleared of brush and it appears that it has been kept somewhat clear for many years.  The cemetery is much larger than this, actually extending well into the woods to the west.  In the front cleared part, scattered among the standard tombstones, there are 23 graves that are noted only by rough and unmarked field stones (UMFs), and there are another 25 UMFs in the woods scattered among the large maples and surrounded by myrtle.
        The cemetery is situated at the top of a rise from which much of the surrounding countryside can be easily seen, and for quite some distance to the northeast.  It is roughly 150 feet deep and 200 feet along the road, but does not form a regular rectangle, with the south end being at an angle to the other sides.  Large forest trees have grown up in the west (and larger) portion of the cemetery.  I counted 110 annular rings in the stump of an ash tree that had been cut down within the last decade or so (began growing c.1880).  Myrtle has become a primary ground cover not only in the cemetery itself but also for several hundred feet to the west and north (field to the south, road to the east.)  The graves are in straight rows and all rows are parallel except the sixth row which was skewed slightly from the north-south alignment of the others.  The rows are 10 to 16 feet apart and the graves are at a density of 15 graves in 50 feet (individuals were allotted an average size plot of 11 by 3.3 feet.).  The graves are aligned with the head to the west and the stones (that are marked) face eastward to the road.
        To be sure that all visible graves were found and properly counted I made a detailed map of the cemetery.  The stones were in quite neat rows and this made it very easy to lay out transects along the rows of stones.  I then marked all stones and other evidence in the immediate area and mapped everything.  The graves are clustered in the east-central and middle sections of the cemetery but all other areas of the 33,000 square foot cemetery were checked carefully.  Several stones (headstones and UMFs) were found separated by some distance from the main cluster of graves, and this indicates that many other unmarked graves may also be in this cemetery.
        Of the stones on an old lists for this cemetery those of Austin W. Daniels, Mehitable Hudson, John W. Payne, Charles Smith, and Elizabeth Smith were not found in 1994.  No additional stones were found but the increase in population by recognition of the UMFs is considerably important.

Those buried in the Payne Cemetery include:

Benson, Dewitt C., died January 12, 1858, age 23 years.
Childs, Marinda, wife of Almerin Childs, died March 27, 1845, age 32 years.
Daniels, Alford, son of Rheuben (Reuben) and Jerusha Daniels, died February 22, 1812, age 25 years, (the face of this shale headstone is shattered into dozens of pieces).
Daniels, Austin W., son of Elijah and Sarah Daniels, died May 9, 1835, age 17 years, (stone not found in 1994).
Daniels, Elijah, died October 14, 1852, age 73 years.
Daniels, Jerusha, wife of Deacon Reuben Daniels, died March 17, 1821, age 69 years.
Daniels, Reuben, Deacon, died August 25, 1823, age 77 years.
Daniels, Sarah, wife of Elijah Daniels, died September 18, 1869, age 89 years.
Daniels, Sophina D., daughter of Elijah and Sarah Daniels, died July 3, 1865, age 62 years.
Hudson, Mehitable, wife of Charles Hudson, died April 13, 1806, age 48 years, (stone not found in 1994, shale footstone marked "M.H." was found in 1994).
Payne, Abiel, died August 20, 1849, age 67 years.
Payne, John W., son of W. and S. Payne, died March 28, 1861, age 4 weeks 3 days, (stone not found in 1994).
Payne, Lyman, died November 15, 1839, age 34 years.
Payne, Rufus R., son of W.L. and Sarah H. Payne, died October 7, 1874, age 8 months.
Payne, Ruggles, died January 24, 1857, age 86 years.
Payne, Sarah A., wife of Lyman Payne, died December 29, 1873, age 60 years.
Payne, Susannah, wife of Ruggles Payne, died June 26, 1829, age 48 years.
Smith, Charles, died 1889 (stone not found in 1994, data from Evans list).
Smith, Elizabeth, died 1878 (stone not found in 1994, data from Evans list).
Smith, James, died August 30, 1847, age 53 years.
Smith, James N., son of James and Susannah Smith, died August 4, 1841, age 5 years.
Smith, John, died February 4, 1821, age 79 years.
Smith, Lyman P., son of James and Sally Smith, died August 19, 1827, age 5 months.
Smith, Sally, wife (1) of James Smith, died September 28, 1834, age 40 years.
Smith, Sarah, daughter of James and Susannah Smith, died February 28, 1839, age 4 weeks.
Smith, Susannah, wife (2) of James Smith, died June 18, 1844, age 35 years..

END of Payne Cemetery list compiled by Daniel H. Weiskotten