Benson Mines Cemetery

New York State Hwy. 3
Star Lake, St. Lawrence County, New York, 13690 USA
Memorials 240 added (100% photographed)

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When first established in the 1890's, the Benson Mines Cemetery was just outside the small mining village of Benson Mines (in the Town of Clifton, St. Lawrence County, New York) on lands donated by the Benson family. On 09 Apr 1907 a cemetery association was formed to sell plots, establish regulations, and run things. It was called the Fernwood Cemetery Association. However, the cemetery was referred to by both names (Fernwood and Benson Mines) for a number of years. Eventually, the cemetery association dissolved, and the cemetery became the property of the Town of Clifton. The name Fernwood Cemetery fell into disuse.

The mining operation was eventually taken over by Jones and Laughlin Steel in 1942 and operated as WWII Defense Plant. The open pit mine there was once the largest in the world. J&L wanted to expand the mining operation, and the geologists informed them that the ore vein ran right under the village. The St. Hubert's Catholic Church was moved from Benson Mines to a site on NYS Rte. 3 in Star Lake. Some of the homes in Benson Mines were moved to a tract of land bought by J&L just outside Star Lake (still known today as "the J&L Location"). Then, the village of Benson Mines was, for the most part, destroyed and the mine expanded. This was also about the time that the Diocese of Ogdensburg bought land adjacent to the Benson Mines Cemetery for use by St. Hubert's Catholic Church as a consecrated, Catholic cemetery.

There has been much confusion about the Benson Mines Cemetery. When established, it fronted on an old road which no longer exists. The engravings all faced this old road (or, to the South). When the newer St. Hubert's Cemetery was established, it fronted on NYS Route 3, to its North. All the St. Hubert's headstone engravings face North. The only access to Benson Mines Cemetery today is through St. Hubert's Cemetery, adding to the confusion.

In a few instances, after the establishment of the St. Hubert's Cemetery, some devout Catholic families had their deceased loved ones dug up from Benson Mines and reinterred in St. Hubert's, only a few feet away.

The Town of Clifton no longer has any records for the Benson Mines Cemetery, so there is no exact, precise knowledge about who is buried where, in cases where there is no marker to locate the grave. The most complete record of this cemetery is what I have created by walking it, transcribing headstones, and mapping the entire cemetery.


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GPS Coordinates: 44.16454, -74.99104

  • Added: 25 Jan 2016
  • Find A Grave Cemetery: #2601808