The Martinsburg Historical Society has been involved with the restoration of the town's abandoned cemeteries. Each time a cemetery is restored, a census is done to determine who is buried there and also, what veterans are interred there.
In 2017, the Maple Ridge Cemetery restoration began. It is a 2 year project and was completed in the summer of 2018. This cemetery is high up on Tug Hill. The location was once a thriving Irish settlement. St. Patrick's Catholic Church was built atop "the ridge" and a cemetery was located behind the 400 seat church. The church was dismantled in the early 1940s. The settlement dissipated. The residents moved to places far and wide. The cemetery has over 200 burials. Those interred are primarily of Irish descent. In the 1980s a group of descendants organized and took over upkeep of the cemetery. When that group disbanded, the cemetery began to fall into disrepair. Had this group not taken up the restoration at that time, it would not have been possible for the town and the historical society to save this cemetery.
October 5, 2019, we are planning an event to celebrate the completion of the restoration, provide military honors for the Irish Civil War veterans buried in the cemetery and unveil a road sign to designate the site of St. Patrick's Catholic Church. We hope to have descendants of these early settlers participate in the event. Sons and Daughters of the Union Veterans will be in attendance. Our local military organizations will provide military honors. The original altar from the church will be on display, thanks to the Lewis County Historical Society.
Follow the road to Maple Ridge!
With the outbreak of the War of 1812, Lewis County was strategically located near Sackets Harbor, the military installation of the day. Sackets Harbor, located on Lake Ontario, was a ship building port and subject to raids and attacks by the British and Canadian forces from across the lake. Many of the New York Regiments from the Mohawk Valley marched through Martinsburg on their way to the Sackets Harbor battlefield. A young lad, Shadrach Snell, was in Martinsburg when Herkimer's regiment was marching through. This young lad followed the regiment to Sackets Harbor and signed on as a fifer.
Shadrach enlisted in 1812, was captured in 1814 during the Battle of Plattsburg and was taken to Dartmoor Prison in England. It was there that he died in 1815. Burial was in a mass grave outside the prison walls. Job Snell, Shadrach's father, served in the Revolutionary War and drew a pension for his service. The Snell family remained in the Town of Martinsburg. The burial site for Job was never located.
The Veteran's Administration accepted our application for a military marker to honor Shadrach Snell. Our request was granted and the military marker is in Martinsburg-ready to be placed in the Martinsburg Cemetery. The Martinsburg Cemetery Board is graciously allowing the Martinsburg Historical Society to place the military marker in the cemetery near the flagpole. The day after Martinsburg Day, August 11, we will pay honor to Shadrach as well as his father, for their service to their country. Watch the paper for further information.