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Local Gravesite Motivates Historians

In 1662, Claes Cornelissen Van Cats sailed from his home in Schoonhoven, Holland to settle in what is now, Bushwick, New York. Van Cats, a firm believer in democracy, home rule and civil liberty, was a knickerbocker, who fought against the autocratic rule of Governor Stuyvesant. Van Cats died in 1692, but he lived on through his family, some of whom now rest in the Van Cott Cemetery of Farmingdale.

 

Vicki Gruber, a corporate and securities attorney, came to the Farmingdale Public Library on Feb. 9, for a discussion on the history of the Van Cott Cemetery as part of the Farmingdale-Bethpage Historic Society’s “winter program series” at the Farmingdale Public Library. Gruber has been studying the Van Cott Cemetery in order to preserve the rich history behind the plot of land, and is proposing a marker be erected to bring attention to its purpose and denote the history of the site. 

 

“It’s about preserving the history behind the cemetery,” said Gruber. “There’s nothing to commemorate how they got here and what their story is.”

 

According to Gruber, the headstones dates back 165 years and are severely cracked. In addition, they are virtually unnoticeable because they were laid down parallel to the ground to make it easier for landscapers to tend to the area. Gruber proposed that a sign be built on a boulder in front of the Van Cott Cemetery, on the corner of Richard and Rose Street in Farmingdale, in order to indicate the purpose of the small plot of land and serve as a historical marker for the Van Cott family. 

 

The Farmingdale-Bethpage Historical Society was optimistic about helping to fund the project. 

 

“It’s going to be an historic marker and motivate the community to take care of its history,” said Eric Goldschrafe, president of the Farmingdale-Bethpage Historical Society. “We want to promote and preserve the rich history of Farmingdale and Bethpage.”

 

The Van Cott Cemetery is the final resting spot of 16 souls. Eight of the people buried in the cemetery are decedents of the Van Cats family, who later changed their surname to Van Cott. The deaths and burials of the people at the Van Cott Cemetery occurred from 1849 to 1891, spanning 42 years. Many of the deaths occurred in 1864, during the Civil War period. About half of the deaths occurred before the age of 14 and only five of the people buried made it past the age of 50.

 

“I never knew there we had so much history buried in the center of Farmingdale.” Dr. Benjamin Giminaro, 93, a lifelong resident of Farmingdale.

News

At a recent meeting of the Farmingdale Board of Education, school district superintendent John Lorentz discussed New York State’s proposal to invest $2 billion into districts statewide

through the Smart Schools Bond Act.

 

If approved by voters in the upcoming general elections, the act would allow the state to borrow $2 billion in the form of a capital bond to provide students with access to classroom

technology and high-speed internet connectivity, with the goal of equalizing opportunities for children to learn, adding classroom space, expanding pre-kindergarten programs, replacing classroom trailers with permanent instructional space and installing high-tech security features in schools. 

Over the weekend, thousands of Long Island residents flocked to the Village of Farmingdale for its 26th annual Columbus Day Weekend Fair and Fireman’s carnival. Running from Oct. 9

to 13, the five-day affair featured live music from Farmingdale’s own Electric Dudes and Long Island party band Superbad, a Fire Department barbecue, food vendors, a street fair, fireworks, carnival rides, games for kids of all ages and, of course, the Columbus Day parade. 


Sports

Last week, officials with the St. Kilian Saints baseball team inducted John Lombardi and Aaron Powell into their Hall of Fame. 

 

—Submitted by Farmingdale PAL and St. Kilian Baseball 


The 2014 Reilly Cup finals featured the two most successful OTHG teams over the last 9 years. Sal’s Place and Singleton’s have had 11 finals appearances and 7 championships between them during this period of time. They split 2 games during the regular season and Singleton’s became the winner’s bracket representative in the 2014 Cup by beating Sal’s deep in the tournament.

 

Sal’s took the first game 14-7. The game was close until the 8th inning when Sal’s broke it open with some timely hits and taking advantage of a Singleton’s miscue or two.  Sal’s held

Singleton’s to 7 runs with outstanding all-around defense, which was particularly impressive given that some of their significant contributors were visibly fighting through late-season injuries. 


Calendar

Homecoming - October 24

Autumn Fair - October 25

St. Kilian Blood Drive - October 26


Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com