Stories in Stone

For a tombstone tourist, the cemeteries of Bainbridge are a wonderful day’s outing. Six featured cemeteries are easily accessible and great windows to the history of a small Upstate N.Y. town. They are also a source of inspiration and entertainment, an architecture lesson, and a place to relax outdoors in a peaceful setting.


These cemeteries allow you to see the final resting places of pioneering Bainbridge residents beneath tombstone art that reflects the heritage of those who were buried there. Bainbridge’s cemeteries are quiet places of reflection, dotted with fine greenery and interesting statuary, and they invite visitors to stroll and read about those who have called Bainbridge home over the last 200 years.


Each of these six featured cemeteries in the Town of Bainbridge has its own personality, and together they provide pieces of the history of Bainbridge. For instance, the Bennetsville Cemetery (map) includes stones from the pioneers of that part of Bainbridge like the Bennetts and the Corbins. Ornamental statuary is scattered among the simpler stones that date from the early 1800s. To access the site, park in the pull off nearby on Corbin Road.


On the other end of town in West Bainbridge, the rural setting of West Bainbridge Cemetery (map) has been used to bury those who lived nearby for 200 years. The oldest stone dates to 1815, though it did not originate at the cemetery but was moved there from a nearby farm. The cemetery was most active before 1920, though recent burials have taken place as well. Family names on the stones are a roll call of some of the significant Bainbridge settlers: Herrick, Ireland, Lyon, Bush, Ingersoll, Searles and Loomis. Flags mark a number of veteran graves, covering the Revolutionary War to the Conflict on the Persian Gulf. A sharp bank leads from the road up to the cemetery, and it’s easier to access the site by parking along Cemetery Road and walking in.


In the village, the St. Peter’s Cemetery (map) also has many of the early Bainbridge pioneers. It is in the shadow of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church and has the most significant entrance gate of all of Bainbridge’s cemeteries. In St Peter’s, there are veteran graves of the Revolutionary War up to the Korean War. This cemetery is still being used, with the oldest graves near the Village Green entrance and the newer ones towards the town baseball field.


The Greenlawn Cemetery (map) is the largest and most frequently used cemetery today for burials. Though some graves there date to 1850, the cemetery includes the largest portion of newer stones in Bainbridge with a number of detailed pictures etched on the stones. The school district uses part of the grounds (potential expansion space for the cemetery) for a permanent soccer field.


There are numerous small, family cemeteries in the town as well. Two of the most accessible are the Bush and Kirby cemeteries, both on Route 7. Elnathan Bush was the first Bainbridge resident to die in the town in 1813. He and family members are buried on the plot next to his family’s homestead off Route 7, east of the Village (map). The family burying ground is impressive. A long, narrow area is surrounded by an iron fence, and the area with the historic headstones is surrounded by a stone wall. A 30-feet high obelisk towers over the smaller stones and can be seen from Route 7. Another small cemetery is the Kirby Cemetery (map) along Route 7 on the eastern edge of the town. Across from the grand “Kirby house,” the cemetery occupies a slip of land between the highway and the railroad tracks. It includes stones from the Kirby family and a few others.


Take time to visit the cemeteries of Bainbridge for a dose of entertainment and inspiration, history and architecture, and culture and genealogy.