Historic Red Hook

                  St. Paul's Lutheran Cemetery
                                                                     Red Hook, New York

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St. Paulís Lutheran Cemetery History

St. Paulís Lutheran Cemetery dates to circa 1800.  It was begun by a German Reformed congregation, which relocated from Old Rhynbeck (Route 9 and Wey Road) to Red Hook.  In 1796, they obtained a five-acre lot on Route 9 (Kingís Highway) in Red Hook and built a new church on the site occupied by the present church building.  The building they erected was a frame building, but this was replaced with a stone structure in 1834. At that time the church was known as the German Reformed, Zionís Church. 

In 1841 Rev. Nicholas Goertner became the first Lutheran Minister to serve the congregation.  Perhaps since he served the sister church, St. Peterís Evangelical Lutheran in Rhinebeck he was chosen to fill the post for the Reformed Congregation.   In 1844, under the pastorate of the Rev. Charles F. Schaffer D.D. the congregation joined the Lutheran Church Synod of New York.  The present church building for the congregation now  known as St. Paulís Lutheran Church of Red Hook was built in 1890.

Cemetery records are sketchy regarding organization of the cemetery.  The first cemetery records, kept in small notebooks, were often difficult to read.  Sales of lots and burials in these lots are noted.  One of the early notebooks is 3 ĹĒ x 6í, containing writing in a tiny cramped script.

The cemetery includes graves of some pre-Revolutionary period burials. Perhaps these were re-interments. Many soldiers who served in the American Revolution are buried in St. Paulís Lutheran Cemetery.  Those who recognized by the Daughters of the American Revolution are:

John F. Benner,  Peter Benner,  Henry Davis,  Andrew Drom,  Thomas Lewis,  Jacob Miller,  Peterus Moore,  Henry Near,
Johannis Smith,  George Snider,  John Stickles,  Anthony Straat,  Thobias Van Kuren,  William Waldorph,  Jacob Whiteman

The cemetery is recognized as a Historical Cemetery by the Chancellor Livingston Chapter, DAR.

Over the years, the cemetery has been enlarged by the acquisition of property on the North and East sides.  It has now become the principal burying ground in the town of Red Hook.

Work on this database, listing the location of the lots, their owners and the burials known to have occurred was begun in the year 2000. After his retirement in 2000, Richard Hlavac, a dedicated member of the cemetery committee, began compiling the hand written records into a database on his private computer.  At his death, Richard had completed most of the early sections of the cemetery.  However, the north sections had not yet been completed. 

No description of the work on the database or the abbreviations Richard used was discovered.  As far as can be surmised, the following code was used in the Surname column:

            *A                   open site, not purchased or used
           *none            purchased but no burial recorded
            *unmarked      ?
            *Name?        Seems similar to *NONE

Richardís widow, Martha has graciously allowed access to the database records.  Although the database is not complete, there is much useful information, which this format makes accessible.  As corrections and additional section information becomes available, the information will be added to this database.

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