Lawson Cemetery

Photo added by Gene Baumwoll CSW

Lawson Cemetery

Also known as Emmanual Cemetery, Larksburg Cemetery

51 Barger Street
Putnam Valley, Putnam County, New York, USA
Memorials 39 added (92% photographed)

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Also Known as: Larksburg Cemetery A/K/A Emmanuel Cemetery

Located near the Jefferson Valley Shrub Oak exit of the Taconic State Parkway, West on Route 6 toward Peekskill the cemetery can be found up Barger road.
Access:Via Right of way, beginning of which is by the white stone pillars just north of 44 Barger Street

The cemetery established by Bishop Robert Lawson of Temple Refuge Church in New York City, in connection with a summer colony for African Americans.
Part of the Refuge Temple, and, later, the Greater Refuge Temple of Harlem community which in 1927, Bishop Lawson founded the Barger Street Colony, variously known as the Emmanual Inn, Lawsonville, or Larksburg, on 121 acres in Putnam Valley, New York. The property contained a 20-room summer inn, a cattle barn, a grocery store, and a gas station.
There were few if any recreational country opportunities for urban black New Yorkers. By the early 1930s, busloads of people, mostly from Lawson’s Harlem church, perhaps several hundred for a summer weekend, would make the trip from the city to Putnam Valley.
When the 1964 Civil Rights Act opened up other resorts to African-Americans, the boomtown period for African American resorts subsided. These communities continue to be important as heritage landmarks.
Today, little remains of the once-thriving resort of Lawsonville.

Most of the bungalows were sold and converted to single-family homes, and the acreage sold off little by little. Records indicate that the old hotel was demolished around 1970. The gas station building is being used for storage by its present owner.
The 20-acre cemetery remains, although it is in poor condition. Records show that about 30 people are interred there, the most notable being Bishop Lawson himself. However, most of the grave markers have been overturned and/or are illegible. The earliest gravestone found dates to 1927.
"The names listed are from a correspondence dated August 10, 1931: "This is to acknowledge the receipt of the following of "Transit and Burial Permits" from the Larksburg Cemetery Corporation of interments [sic] made in Emanuel Cemetery." A photocopy of an unidentified book shows an additional seven names (marked with * in the following list), as well as this comment: "Twenty other graves, unmarked are just field stones. The cemetery is in very bad condition and is uncared for."
Putnam County Historical Society

Local historical societies and scouting organizations are making efforts to restore this historic burial ground.


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GPS Coordinates: 41.34498, -73.81903

  • Added: 2 Jan 2000
  • Find A Grave Cemetery: #65071