Veterans of the War of 1812 - Mathias Kline and Chester Barber - were honored with a plaque at the Kline Road Cemetery in a ceremony earlier this month by the Town of Lewiston.
In March, the town approached Downriver VFW Post 7487, asking if they would be interested in donating money toward the cost of a plaque for the veterans. Much to the town's surprise, not only was the post willing to pay for the plaque, but it also donated money toward the cost of installing a flagpole at the cemetery.
The cemetery is nestled in between two residential homes on Kline Road, just south of Saunders Settlement Road. It was established in the early 1800s by Mathias Kline as a family cemetery.
There are about 30 graves in the cemetery and some are not of the Kline family. One notable is that of Francis Saunders, for whom Saunders Settlement Road is named. The first burial on record in the cemetery was a young child in 1812, and the last was that of Mathias Kline himself in 1874.
The cemetery has long since been abandoned. Over the years, portions of it had become overgrown with brush, and Mother Nature and people damaged some of the headstones that still remain. A six-foot high Kline family monument was tilting and in danger of toppling over.
Last year, under the direction of Town Historian Robert Martinez, town crews removed brush and other vegetation, trimmed some trees, and cleaned up the grounds.
The town hired Niagara Monument Works to straighten the tilting Kline monument. In order to do this, the monument had to be dismantled, set aside, a new concrete foundation installed, and the monument reassembled. In addition to this, two granite grave markers for the two war veterans were fabricated and installed.
The cemetery sign and veterans plaque were designed and installed by town employees. A 16-foot flagpole was also installed and is equipped with a solar light to illuminate the flag in the evening.
"This project was just one of the many endeavors of historical significance that I and the town have planned to pursue in the near future," Martinez said.
All funding for the work done at the cemetery was acquired from the sale of plots at the town-owned Dickersonville Cemetery located on Ridge Road in Lewiston.
Town Supervisor Steven Reiter said he was very pleased with the outcome of the project. "This is a fine example of what can be accomplished when everyone works together for the good of the community. I'm honored to be here to commemorate these two veterans, and it's fitting that Memorial Day is this coming weekend.
"As you know, Memorial Day is when we honor and remember the veterans that paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country. And it reminds us that they are the real heroes, and the reality that freedom isn't free. There are Americans putting themselves in harm's way every day to keep our country safe and free. May God bless them and their families and God bless America."