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History

 

In the years prior to about 1825 it was the general custom in rural areas to inter the departed in family property, church yards or in community burial grounds.  In most cases these grave sites were given minimal care compared with the landscaping maintenance standards of today.  Also, the interments were informally documented and those records were generally vulnerable to deterioration over time.

September 4, 1779

Con Daw Haw, a Seneca Indian village occupied the land that later became North Hector.  The Seneca were one of the six tribes of the Iroquois Nation.  Sadly, on this date, the entire village was destroyed by the troops of General Sullivan because they were allied with the English during the Revolutionary War.

March 30, 1802

The town of Hector, N.Y. was organized as part of Cayuga County on land formerly occupied by the Seneca Indians.  North Hector  was designated as a separate hamlet at that time.  In 1817 Hector became part of Tompkins county and was incorporated into Schuyler County in 1854.

December 27, 1814

The Seneca Union Cemetery traces it’s history to the interment of Elizabeth Bloomer Lamoreaux, (1778-1814), first wife of Daniel Lamoreaux (1771-1853), on what was then the Smith family farm in North Hector, N.Y.   This is the first known interment in what eventually became the Seneca Union Cemetery.  In the years following her burial, there were 118 additional interments recorded prior to the formation of the Seneca Union Cemetery Association on March 18, 1861.

March 18, 1861

The Seneca Union Cemetery Association was formed, in accordance with New York State law, at a meeting of fifty men who met at the Methodist Episcopal Church at North Hector, N.Y. for the purpose of  “forming a Cemetery Association enlarging and improving a cemetery, and purchasing additional land from the Smith farm”.  Twelve Trustees were elected and they, at a Trustee meeting immediately following, elected John Knight as President, M. D. Hawes as Vice President, George Fausett as Treasurer and Silas Byram as Secretary.

April 6, 1861

An additional 1.75 acres of land were purchased from Daniel B. Smith.  There were five more purchases of land made from the Smith farm over the years, bringing the cemetery total to 6 acres on July 7, 1932.

September 14, 1897

The Association sold the Interment Rights for Lot 186 to the Daniel B. Smith G.A.R. Post for $1.00.  There are seven Civil War veterans interred there.  In addition, there is a monument for Selah Smith in the Cemetery South Section who died in the Andersonville Prison Camp on July 2, 1864.  There are another 144 veterans of all wars interred throughout the Cemetery.

April 1, 1903

North Hector was renamed Valois in recognition of Hon. Arthur E. Valois, head of a legal firm based in New York and Paris.   He was a summer resident who donated funds for many community improvements.   He built a large lakeside home know as the Valois Castle.

June 9, 1930

The Association was incorporated under the “Membership Corporation Law” of N. Y. state.  This corporation is exempt from Federal Income Taxes under Section 501(c)(13) of the Internal Revenue Code, however, an “Information Return” must be filed each year.

Today

There are now over 1,600 documented interments in the Cemetery representing 365 family names.  The largest family group totals 74 interments and there are 119 families with single interments.  The operations are managed by twelve volunteer Directors who are elected for three year terms at the Annual Meeting of the Association.  All owners of gravesites, or their legal heirs, are entitled to vote at this meeting.

(Authorized by the board of Directors, Seneca Union Cemetery Association, Inc., updated April,  2017)