I was at the Rochester Public Library yesterday to look at a few things and I asked the librarian if they had the old Sexton records of burials in Rochester’s earliest cemeteries. First thing he did was check the manuscript collection on his computer. It appears that the index to the manuscript collection is not in with the regular card catalog online. He couldn’t find any reference to the Sexton records. He also looked in an old card catalog that has notes on the early cemeteries but again nothing related to the Sexton records.
The newspaper index at RPL has references to the Sexton reporting the number of deaths from 1827 to 1850. I also have been looking at records for the Village and then City of Rochester. The Sexton for the years 1828 to 1830 was named Forest D. A. Foster. I looked for him in the 1827 and 1834 Rochester directories and he isn’t listed. It is strange that if he was a public official that he wasn’t in the Rochester directory. In 1835 Rochester appointed Zebulon Norton as Sexton of West Cemetery and William G. Russell as Sexton of East Cemetery.
When you are looking for one thing you sometimes find some unrelated facts. I ended up finding information on the cemetery of St. Patrick’s Church. The Church was formed in 1822. At first they had a small cemetery behind the church. It had always been assumed that the church used this burial ground until 1838 when they bought land on Pinnacle Hill. The Village of Rochester records have that on 15 May 1827, Thomas Kempshall asked to have the burials removed from the cemetery behind the church. The church trustees asked for a lot outside of the Village to move their burials to. The Village Trustees gave a counter offer for 60 lots in the Village owned West Cemetery. On 5 June 1827 the Village records state that the church has accepted the offer of 60 lots in West Cemetery. So for the years of 1827 until 1838 when St. Patrick’s Church bought the 21 acres on Pinnacle Hill, they probably were burying their dead at West Cemetery. If the Rochester Sexton’s records are found than it should prove that to be the case or not.