Despite myself, I found half an hour:
The New York Times, Sunday, December 6, 1981, WC 29
An Old Cemtery Plot is Center of Ongoing Dispute
by J.C. Barden
For more than 90 years, starting in 1800, members of the Flandreau family were laid to rest in a small plot on the rolling farmlands along Boston Post Road at what is now the eastern edge of this city.
By 1892, when the last-known burial took place there, the cemetery contained the bodies of about 30 members of the French Huguenot Family as well as a monument to one of the young members who died in the Civil War.
The burials began when the Flandreaus owned extensive acreage along the road. They continued long after the family sold the farm in 1815 because it reained the plot, known for many years as "the Flandreau Burying Ground" along with a right of way from Boston Post Road.
However, as the pressure for more building land grew and the area began to be developed residentially early in this century, some of the bodies were exhumed and moved to Beechwood Cemetery in the cityís west end. The monument, to Elisha Harsen, who perished when the monitor Tecumseh was sunk in Mobile Bay in 1874 [sic. 1864], was moved too.
But the portion of the cemetery that remains Ė an overgrown plot of about 25 by 75 feet Ė has become a center of controversy in the neighborhood of $100,000 homes.
Two brothers, Donald and James Toth, who live next to the cemetery on Chester Place, have used the plot as an adjunct to their yard since moving into their two-family house eight years ago. Their children have long had a Jungle Gym on the plot which borders the town of Mamaroneck.
A recent visit to the site found one of the youngsters industriously sawing up a dead tree in the plot. Only two tombstones were intact, one lying flat on the ground and the other leaning against a tree, Portions of other stones could be seen beneath the tangle of weeds and fallen limbs.
"When we moved in," Donald Toth said, "people were using the cemetery as a dump. They came by in cars and threw stuff in it. My opinion is that using the cemetery as a play area is better than using it as a dump. We have not disturbed any tombstones."
Elinor Katz, who lives on the other side of the cemetery on the same side of Chester Place but in Mamaroneck, moved in with her husband, Joel, a few months after the Toths. She said there were about 15 gravestones in the cemtery at that time. She said that it was in desperate need of care.
Four years ago, Mrs. Katz hired a lawyer to look into the possibility of buying the land, with the thought of fixing it up.
The purchasing process proved to be to [sic] costly. The New Rochelle Corporation Counsel, Maxwell E. Charat, said the heirs of those who established the cemetery were the owners today. Because cemetery property is not taxable in New York, it cannot be taken over for non-payment of taxes.
However, Mr. Charat informed Mrs. Katzís lawyer that the city did have the right to take over and sell an abandoned cemetery. It is an involved process, he explained, that would require a State Supreme Court order. To get it would require finding out who was buried in the cemetery and getting permission from their heirs to move the bodies.
After those steps were taken the city would have to pay for the removal of the bodies to new grave sites and the cost of their perpetual care there, a sum that would be established by the court. The city did not want to go to such trouble and expense, Mr. Charat said. He suggested that perhaps the Katzes would. They said they would not.
The one known heir to the property, William Flandreau, a New Rochelle resident in his 70ís and a part-time taxi driver, is himself the son of a former superintendent of Beechwood Cemetery. The family has had a burial plot in Beechwood since 1910, Mr. Flandreau said, adding that he was not interested in the property on Chester Place.
"Iím too old to go down there and work," he said. "I went down there a few years ago and didnít see anything but a couple of swings."
Donald Toth said, "Anyone who might be interested in maintaining the cemetery has been contacted, and no one is interested, including the Daughters of the American Revolution."
One of the other neighborhood residents, Michele Ferencsik, a member of the neighboring Larchmont chapter of the D.A.R., said that "the D.A.R. doesnít have the time or money" to take on such a project.
So far as is known, no soldiers of the Revolution were buried in the Flandreau grounds. The first person known to have been buried there was Benjamin Flandreau, who died Feb. 19, 1800, and it is his tombstone that is propped against a tree, still legible. It reads:
Exult my soul with days that flow
From Godís Almighty hand
Whilst here my mouldering body lies
To rise at his command."
A brief aside: William H. Flandreau, the "one known heir", passed away in 1988. He and his sister and brother are buried in Beechwood Cemetery along with his grandparents Lemuel and Harriet Flandreau, and other members of that branch of the family.
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