By Karen Cuccinello
I was chatting with Marta Villanueva, who works at the desk of the Stamford Village Library, about some of my historical research in cemeteries. Marta told me she has always wondered about a little old abandoned cemetery that is near where she lives on Kemper Mountain Road in Gilboa. First we had to figure out if the cemetery had a name and if so had it been posted on findagrave.com..
A Google search told us that the cemetery was named Choate, and then to findagrave.com which revealed that the Choate cemetery was listed and eight gravestones were photographed. Of the eight stones listed, six are members of the Choate family and two are Maynards. The cemetery had at least 10 more broken and unreadable stones.
The Choates in the cemetery were: Durinda, Elizabeth, William Sr. and Jr., Ruth H. and Sally Ann. The Maynard stones did not have any visible dates. Because of Marta’s curiosity I decided to research the Choates.
A William Choate (I believe this would be Sr. who died in 1830) is listed in the 1799 Blenheim Assessment roll (this area became South Gilboa about 1848) as having a farm with a total value, real estate and personal, of $262 and he had to pay 26 cents in taxes per year.
Durinda Choate taught school 1837-38 and William Choate Jr. was a collector at the Kemper Mountain school District #6. Durinda also taught at Fork-in-the-Road school district #7.
In the 1850 Gilboa census William Jr., and his wife Ruth H. (Cook), both age 66, are living with their son Darius, a 27 year old farmer, his wife Phoebe Adaline (daughter of Iram and Betsey (More) Brewster) age 24, Sarah A., age 42, (probably Darius’ sister and the Sally Ann in the cemetery who died 1853) and a servant. William was a clergyman of the Old School Baptist Church and listed as being born in Massachusetts in 1850 but in the rest of the census reports he lists his birth place at Vermont. His wife Ruth lists as being born in Rhode Island.
In 1855 William and Ruth are living with their 48 year old son Gardner, a farmer, wife Selinda (Goodrich) and granddaughter Almina in Roxbury, NY. Darius, his wife and one year old daughter Emma are also in Roxbury.
In 1856 their son Darius dies, about age 35, in Watervliet, NY and is buried in the Brewster family (his in-laws’) cemetery in South Gilboa. From fairly extensive surrogate court records for Darius it appears that he went to Watervliet sick and lived with his in-laws Iram and second wife Gitty/Gertrude (More) Brewster who had recently moved to Watervliet from Schoharie County in 1854. Darius appeared to leave about $6,000 to divvy out. As a side note, two years later Iram Brewster hung himself at age 61. Mrs. Phoebe A. Choate, widow of the late Darius Choate, died in Los Angeles, CA, September 17, 1898 at the home of her daughter, Mrs. John (Emma)Yerkes and is buried out there, not with her husband in Gilboa.
Married at South Gilboa August 26, 1861 by Rev. William Choate, Hiram Howard of Albany to Miss Cordelia M. Choate, daughter of Gardner Choate Esq. and granddaughter of officiating clergyman.
In 1865 William and Ruth are living next door to Gardner and in 1870 living with Gardner in Gilboa. On November 18, 1872 William Choate died age 88 years, 1 month and 12 days and Ruth continued living with Gardner. Most census enumerations take place in the summer so Ruth must have died shortly after the 1875 Gilboa census as she was included, living with Gardner, and died June 25, 1875.
Now the only child left, of a family of five, is Gardner.
In 1879 a piece of property, listed in a legal notice, is being auctioned off and states “excepting and reserving, the family burying ground upon said premises as now fenced, belonging to William Choate”.
October 17, 1895 (Jefferson Courier)- “Gardner T. Choate, one of the oldest and most respected residents of this village died October 12. He was born in the town of Gilboa, on the place now owned by Avery Parsons, (then in the town of Blenheim), near the South Gilboa station, in 1806. Gardner had a brother Darius, and three sisters all of which are dead. He married for his first wife a Goodrich, of the town of Roxbury, by whom he had three children, two which are dead, and Cordelia M., wife of Hiram. Howard, of Stamford. One of his daughters married Ed Grant of Stamford and left a daughter, now Mrs. Aleck Johnson, of Bovina. When he married his first wife he moved to the town of Roxbury, on the place now occupied by the widow of John McKillip, near the South Gilboa creamery, where he lived for 25 years. He then moved to South Gilboa village, where he spent nearly 25 more years of his life, until he moved to South Gilboa he followed farming very successfully and accumulated a very large property. He was a man who did not seek political distinction, altho he held for eight years the office of Justice of the Peace in the town of Gilboa. In 1882 he sold his house and small farm at South Gilboa to merchant Perry Lane, and moved to Stamford, where he lived with his son-in-law, Hiram Howard,for nearly two years. While at Stamford, he married his second wife, Nancy Howard, or the widow Peck, and in 1884 he moved to Jefferson where he bought a pretty home and has since resided. He was in his 90th year, having passed the 89th milestone on the 19th day of last September. He had always been a man of excellent habits, and identified with the Old School Baptist church. He was a staunch Republican, very exact, a man of excellent judgment and sound reasoning. Burial in the Stamford cemetery. His wives are also buried in Stamford.”
I could not find any additional information on the Maynards as there was not enough information to work with.