Rye's African-American Cemetery was established in 1860 when the Halstead family donated it to the Town of Rye to be used as a burial ground for African Americans. Although it was officially made a cemetery in 1860 it had most likely been used as a burial ground for African Americans long before that. There are an estimated 300 people buried at the cemetery, although many of them do not have headstones or formal markers. This cemetery was open up until 1964 when the segregation of cemeteries ended and the cemetery was closed for good.
There are 22 veterans of the Civil War, Spanish American War, World War I and World War II. One of the men buried there is named Samuel Bell who was a soldier in the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, one of the first black military units of the Union Army during the Civil War — the one chronicled in the 1989 Denzel Washington movie, "Glory." Another interesting person buried there is Robert Purdy, who escaped slavery and fled to Mamaroneck to start the Barry Avenue AME Zion Church, on North Barry Street on the border of Mamaroneck and Rye Neck. Other notable figures are a navy sailor who was in Washington on the day of Abraham Lincoln's assassination and a man who ran an Inn and restaurant on Milton Road in Rye.
Following its closing in 1964 the cemetery fell into a state of disrepair and was largely forgotten. Luckily, various community projects were were enacted in order to give new life to the cemetery. In 2003 the cemetery was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Every year on Veterans Day and Memorial Day there are events at the cemetery to honor those who are buried there.
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This cemetery was founded by the Guion family who were one of the early first settlers to the county. They owned vast swaths of land in the area and even named the nearby creek Guion Creek. This cemetery was a private cemetery run by the family and used almost exclusively for the burial of members of the Guion cemetery.
This cemetery contains almost exclusively members of the Guion family. The earliest grave stone that is legible is from 1809. The last legible one is from 1901.
You can find it located behind a private residence on Stuart Avenue in the Rye Neck section of the Village of Mamaroneck. It contains 44 gravestones in all and is nestled on the shore of Guion Creek.
In the early 1990’s the town supervisor Mr. Donald B. Gioffre visited the Stuart Avenue Association and offered the towns assistance in maintaining the cemetery. At that time the association turned down this help due to a fear of Vandalism. They later changed their decision and asked the town for help after the cemetery fell into disrepair and became infested with poison ivy and poison oak. At that time the town treated the poison ivy/oak and offered heavy duty equipment to help with clearing the overgrown shrubs and grasses.
Its history: This was a private family cemetery run by the Rogers family. These private cemeteries were extremely common during the time period.
Due to the fact that it is a private family cemetery, almost every person buried here is a member of the Rogers family. The last burial in the cemetery was Esther Horton in 1853.
According to a report, as of 1990 there were no visible graves inside of the cemetery. It is likely that they sunk into the ground, or were stolen/destroyed.