‘Meet’ 19 Residents Buried Here
By Eva Potter
“The Jefferson Street Cemetery stands as a historic record, an outdoor art exhibit and a quiet contemplative green space. Here are the farmers, physicians, lawyers, religious leaders, veterans and ordinary people who were part of the development and growth of our little community of Ellicottville,” according the Jefferson Street Cemetery Committee.
To honor these valued citizens who have passed, the Jefferson Street Cemetery will be open on Saturday, July 26 for the second annual Walking Tour. This year, 19 actors and actresses dressed in period clothing will portray some of those buried here and will entertain you with stories of their lives in those days. Project coordinator Gail Carucci said strolling flutists Collette Morris of Macedon, N.Y., and Rachel Morton of West Valley, N.Y., will be entertaining visitors.
“People will meet many characters that have lived in the past, tour Ellicottville’s history and have a great time,” explained Max Paddock, an ECS junior who is participating in this year’s cemetery tour. “It’s a very educational and different learning experience great for anyone. I highly recommend coming and having a ‘blast from the past’ in the Jefferson Cemetery tour.”
Two tour times, 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., will be offered. Tickets can be purchased that day at the Ellicottville Historical Museum on Washington Street. The cost is $10 for adults and $5 for children. Wagon rides will be provided to and from the cemetery.
Paddock, who is not related to his character, will be portraying Chauncy Vibbard.
“He lived in Ellicottville all his life and helped his father who was a drayman, a driver of a low wagon used to transport goods,” said Paddock. “Chauncy died at the age of 17, but he enjoyed reading and playing with his friends.”
That day, both the Ellicottville Historical Museum (2 Washington St.) and St. John’s Episcopal Church (at Jefferson and Washington streets) will be open to tour from 1–4 p.m. The United Church of Ellicottville (53 Elizabeth St.) will host an ice cream social open to all from 1–4 p.m.
The public is also invited to a 5 p.m. joint service between St. John’s Episcopal Church and United Church of Ellicottville to be held at St. John’s. Many citizens buried in the Jefferson Street Cemetery attended these churches.
The Jefferson Street Cemetery Committee has worked diligently the past four years to preserve and restore the headstones and monuments in the cemetery.
Carucci said, “Since 2010, we have had the cemetery listed on the National Register of Historic Places. All but 35 headstones and monuments have been cleaned.”
An unveiling ceremony was held last November for the sign placing the cemetery on the National Register of Historic Places.
On July 23, a new cemetery sign and a new headstone, for 46 people buried there that do not have headstones, were installed, according to Carucci.
Proceeds of the Walking Tour benefit the Jefferson Street Cemetery Fund, which helps pay for maintenance and beautification projects.