Stories From Main Street: Rockland Boy Restoring Historic Monsey Cemetery As Part Of Eagle Scout Project

MONSEY, NY (WCBS 880) – On a rainy day, an old cemetery in the middle of Monsey seemed forlorned, forgotten, and abandoned.

WCBS 880’s Sean Adams In Rockland County

For his Eagle Scout project, Brian Negrin adopted this piece of Rockland County history and set out to repair the damage caused by heavy equipment during a construction project next to the New Hope Christian Cemetery.

“When I heard about this and heard that there were veterans buried here and that they just drove their machinery straight through the cemetery destroying everything, I was appalled and I wanted to do something about it,” says Negrin. “The original settlers of this area are buried here.”

“Several rows of tombstones were taken down,” he says. “Some of them [were] just pushed down flat. Some of them broken into six, seven pieces.”

Some of those headstones stood for more than two centuries.

“There are nine war veterans buried here. They were from the Civil War, War of 1812, and the Revolutionary War,” he tells WCBS 880 reporter Sean Adams.

Stories from Main Street - Photo: Evan Bindelglass / WCBS 880

Stories from Main Street - Photo: Evan Bindelglass / WCBS 880

RELATED: More Stories From Main Street

Negrin had pulled the weeds and cleared the trash. He’s putting in boxwoods, a flag pole, a patio, and having the headstones repaired. The Lions Club will honor the veterans with bronze plaques.

“I believe that it’s a big part of this town’s history and the fact that they would just destroy it the way they did is appalling. It’s disgusting,” says Negrin. “We’re just trying to make it nicer so that it’s not so disrespectful for the veterans that are buried there.”

Rockland County veterans affairs coordinator Jerry Donnellan said, “Anything that honors our veterans is very much needed.”

“You have to respect these people for what they’ve done. You have to respect your history and know that there is history in this area. There’s history everywhere and you just have to be careful about what you’re doing,” says Negrin.

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  • B. Martha Erickson

    Good reporting but you have written this article as if this is a new revelation! Over a year ago when the construction was going on Shatemuc Chapter DAR and Stony Point SAR, descendants of people interred in the New Hope Chritian Cemetery,and other interested parties contacted the supervisor in protest. One of those Revolutionary War soldiers buried there was a General. Only 2 Generals of that war were from Rockland County and this is one of them Promises were made to the protestors that although nothing could be done about those graves already covered over by expansion of the road and the new Hasedic Temple there would be a rededication ceremony. Apparently that idea died. The cemetery is a split off from The West New Hempstead Dutch Reformed Church (1772).I believe there WERE something lie 325 graves.. All of those records are in the County Archives in New City; history is in the Brick Church (West New Hempstead Dutch Reformed Church) 2 histories.

  • steffi

    Good for you Brian. The adults could learn from you. By the way, the construction and the town should foot the bill. Who the hell was in charge. Didn”t they see it. I wonder how they would feel if it was their family. I don’t care if the graves are two hundred years old or two years old. They should be fined.

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