Monday, September 29, 2014

52 Ancestors: #39 ~ Luther's Grave Marker in Union Cemetery

This is part of the "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks" Challenge begun by Amy Johnson Crow, author of the blog No Story Too Small.

I've written about my 4th great-grandfather, Dr. Luther L. Waterman, here on my blog before. He was a surgeon in the American Revolutionary War. I was thrilled to find his signature on a document dated August 23, 1776. I shared that exciting find on my blog. If you'd like to see his signature on that special document, click HERE.

Today I'd like to share a photo of Luther Waterman's grave marker. I found it on Find A Grave. The photo was taken by a Find A Grave volunteer named
Nancy. I'm very grateful to her for taking this photo.

Luther L. Waterman Tombstone
Dr. Luther L. Waterman Grave Marker
Photo Courtesy of Nancy

Luther L. Waterman Tombstone
Dr. Luther L. Waterman Grave Marker
Photo Courtesy of Nancy

Unfortunately, the grave marker is somewhat difficult to read. I can make out the letters DOC above Luther's name. But that's about it.

Luther passed away on 9 September 1807 in Cazenovia, Madison County, New York and was buried in the Union Cemetery in Cazenovia. This map shows where Union Cemetery is in relation to Cazenovia.

Google Map - Cazenovia to Union Cemetery

And here's a different map showing Union Cemetery.

Google Map - Union Cemetery

Rootsweb has a webpage dedicated to the Union Cemetery. On this website, there's a map showing where the cemetery is located and a plot map as well. There's also a listing of those buried at the cemetery. From the list, it appears that Luther was the only Waterman buried there.

According to The Waterman Family, Volume 1, Descendants of Robert Waterman of Marshfield, Massachusetts through seven generations, Phebe and her children moved near Coolville, Ohio sometime after Luther's death.1 A document in Luther's pension file which was signed by Phebe stated that she was a resident of Troy Township in Athens County Ohio on 8 September 1838.2

I was curious to see the distance from Cazenovia, New York to Coolville, Ohio. I once again turned to Google Maps. You can see the distance between these two cities on the map below.

Can you imagine moving this far in the early to mid 1800s? How did the family travel to Ohio? What mode of transportation did they use? Was the trip difficult or easy? In 1838 Phebe was 82 years old. I don't know exactly when she and her family moved to Ohio. But, even if it was ten years earlier, she would have been 72 years old at the time. What must it have been like for her to move hundreds of miles away from her home in New York?

Google Map - Cazenovia to Coolville

Athens County Ohio became the home and/or birthplace of several generations of my Waterman ancestors. These include my 3rd great-grandfather, Asher Waterman, his daughter and my 2nd great-grandmother Cynthia Maria Waterman, and her son and my great-grandfather, Watson (Frederick) Emory Webster. You may recognize Watson's name because he is affectionately referred to as "The Traveling Dentist" here on my blog.

In future 52 Ancestors posts, I'm planning on sharing what I know about the children of Luther and Phebe Waterman.

Thanks for reading!


© 2014 Copyright by Jana Last, All Rights Reserved

1 Jacobus, Donald Lines, and Edgar Francis Waterman. The Waterman Family. Vol. 1. New Haven, CT: E.F. Waterman, 1939. 297. Print.
2 Revolutionary War Pension file of Dr. Luther L. Waterman.


  1. I would imagine they traveled via Lake Erie as long as they could. Water travel was so much easier then. I believe the move predated most trains, especially any going to Ohio. But to make such a journey in that day and age past 70 years old! Kudos to her. It would have been the death of many.

    1. Hi Schalene,

      I was doing some research about travel during that era before I published this post and I had wondered about whether the family had traveled by water. That does seem to be a likely mode of travel for them. I also didn't see any railroad travel available to them at that time either. So, yes, they must have traveled over land or by water.

      I too am impressed by Phebe's ability to travel that distance at her age.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  2. I've been following your posts on the Watermans with interest, Jana, because I also have Athens County ancestors. That's a LONG trip from New York.

    In exploring how they made it, I would give strong consideration to canals. They could have taken the Erie Canal from Albany to Buffalo, boarded a steamship to Cleveland, then taken the Ohio & Erie Canal south through Ohio. I have a map of the Ohio canal system, and there was a Hocking Valley spur off the Ohio & Erie that went straight into Athens, where it terminated. Canal travel was much faster and easier than overland travel. Anyway, that's my bet. Hope it helps!

    1. Hi Shelley,

      Thank you for following my posts about my Waterman ancestors! I'd love to see the names of your ancestors from Athens County. It would be so cool if we had some ancestors in common.

      I like your suggestion that the family made the trip via canals. Thank you! Also, can you tell me where I can find the map of the Ohio canal system?

      Thanks for stopping by!




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