Saturday, June 11, 2011

Quaker Cemetery in Ledyard

The Town of Ledyard was formed off from Scipio January 30, 1823. Many of our early families were born in Scipio but died in Ledyard. Often, I find information listed for Scipio by checking Ledyard records, so I am always curious when I read something about the history of that town.
I read about a reorganization meeting of the Friends or Quakers Cemetery association, in the Town of Ledyard, in the local paper a few years ago, and since my maternal great-great-grandparents are buried there I decided to go to that meeting. It was exciting when I saw a copy of the original incorporation papers – there was my great-grandfather Fred Peckham’s signature!
The church associated with the cemetery is no longer standing. Originally known as the Scipio Meeting House, it was built in 1810 on Poplar Ridge Road near Dixon Road. The earliest known burial is that of 16-year-old John Winslow Jr. in 1829. A few of the stones are repaired from the association’s meager funds every year, in hopes that no more will be lost to the elements. Many of the names on those tombstones that are still standing and legible are familiar local ones even today: Searing, Haines, Howland, Hoxie, Mosher, and Slocum to name a few.
I decided to take a closer look at the Peckham family buried in this cemetery. Daniel Peckham and his second wife Sally Mosher had six children. I started with two of my great-grandfather Fred’s brothers: Job and William Peckham. Quakers as a rule abstained from active military service, but since Fred had served in the 111th, I thought I would see if any of his siblings had served as well. I used online resources such as and, as well as information found on the Cayuga County Rootsweb site, and learned a lot about Fred’s brothers.
William had enlisted in the 75th NY, a group of mostly Cayuga County boys, when he was 22 years old. William saw a lot of action in Louisiana and Virginia with the 75th including that fateful battle at Cedar Creek. He was captured that day, and held prisoner for several months. He was made a Corporal upon his release, and eventually mustered out with the 75th in Savannah, Georgia in August of 1865. William’s health was likely compromised while he was held prisoner, and in 1887 at the age of 47 William died.
Fred’s brother Job also enlisted in Company D of the 75th four days after his brother William, but after only six months service he was discharged for disability at Fort Pickens, Florida. The Ledyard Town Clerk’s Book of Civil War Service tells us that he was in ill health in 1866, and then in 1867 Job died when he was only 32. Fred, who is buried elsewhere, was also discharged early for disability, although he lived on to the ripe old age of 73.
Despite the Quaker policy of peacefulness, these three brothers felt strongly enough about the issues that brought about the war to participate in military action. How difficult it must have been for their family to not only wait for their safe return, but to see the broken and disillusioned men who returned from the battlefields and prison camps.
William’s gravestone at the Friend’s Cemetery has been repaired, as has his father Daniel Peckham’s. Descendants of other families who are glad to see this once overgrown cemetery get cleaned up and improved have also had gravestones repaired or cleaned. The change in the last 5 years is remarkable.
If you would like to join the Friends Cemetery Association on their yearly walk through as they decide what is the most urgent need to work on this year with their limited funds, join us on Wednesday July 20, 2011 at 7:00 p.m. If you can’t be there, you can check out some photographs of the gravestones by visiting the cemetery section at

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