The DeLancey Cemetery
Dear Friend of Mamaroneck History,
First a little history…
Did you know that at the close of the American Revolution, a young American came back to Mamaroneck to build a house on the site of his grandfather’s mansion on Heathcote Hill?
John Peter De Lancey was the single most influential citizen of Mamaroneck in his time. He was the grandson of Caleb Heathcote who purchased (most of) Mamaroneck from John Richbell's widow, Anne Richbell to build the Manor of Scarsdale.
De Lancey and Munro founded the parish of St. Thomas in Mamaroneck, and built the first Church building. JP's son, William Heathcote De Lancey, was the minister there and went on to become the Bishop of Western New York.
JP’s daughter, Susan Augusta, married the writer James Fenimore Cooper in 1811, and JP was intimately involved in their lives. His grandson Edward Floyd De Lancey, was a famous historian from whom we acquired much of our knowledge of the history of Mamaroneck.
JP was active on the Town Board, including a stint at Supervisor, at a time that Mamaroneck was still recovering from being pillaged during the Revolution. People had abandoned their land and farms, and were now trying to rebuild.
He was a School Trustee when New York State decided that communities should fund local education.
He was a slave owner like other residents in Mamaroneck, at a time when we began to understand that the institution was wrong...immoral.
He was a microcosm of what was going on in America at that time; a person who embodied all the traits of a people trying to understand what it meant to be an American.
The family burying ground is at Palmer and Delancey. As Susan Fenimore Cooper, JP’s granddaughter described it, “...there rose a beautiful wood, the remains of the ancient forest; within its shade there was an open enclosure, the family burying-ground, surrounded by a low stone wall.”
From 1808 when JP’s daughter was buried there as a child, to 1902 when the Bishop, his wife, and his son Peter were removed, this was a private monument to JP’s legacy.
The headstones are still there, some damaged, some lying on the ground. The wall is gone.
Photo from 1907
De Lancey Cemetery 2019
The Mamaroneck Historical Society has been working on documenting the burial ground and plans to restore it, wall and all.
We have secured the services of a brilliant burying grounds preservationist, Zach, and his company has made a detailed proposal for the restoration.
Now we need your help.
The Town is offering support, the Historical Society will be contributing, we are getting stone and labor for the walls, and we’ve done a ton of work on documentation.
We may have even found an undocumented grave of a former slave. If you would like to be part of this historic project, you can.
We are looking for funds to help us reach the threshold needed to put the restoration in gear. When the project is concluded, the wall is up, we’ll be installing a plaque.
When the project is concluded we plan to install a plaque.
• Sponsors contributing $1000 or more will be named on that plaque.
• Donors helping us with $500 or more will be named in the Rededication Program and receive a Historical Society bag filled with swag.
• Any person contributing $25 or more will also be named in the Program.
• All contributions, large and small, are appreciated and are tax deductible.
This is your chance to do something which your community and your future family will benefit from through the years to come. Please join us in this important work.
Mike Tripicco and Peter Fellows, Co-Chairs, DeLancey Family Burying Ground Committee
Checks: “Mamaroneck Historical Society,” Note: “Cemetery Project” and mail to P. O. Box 776, Mamaroneck, NY 10543. Pay online: www.MamaroneckHistoricalSociety.org