The Fishkill Rural Cemetery
In the Beginning:
Before the formation of community cemeteries, a country churchyard was the only public burial ground available. Sometimes an obscure corner of the family farm held the remains of family members. Gradually, the churchyards were being filled up. Public interest was aroused by a number of Fishkill citizens getting together to seek a suitable site for a cemetery. The Fishkill Rural Cemetery was organized on April 25, 1866, with Isaac Cotheal as chairman and Jas. E. Van Steenbeergh as secretary. A track of 27 acres was purchased from James Smith, a local farmer. On October 17, 1866 at a Dedication Ceremony with appropriate and solemn services, the Fishkill Rural Cemetery was established as a resting place for the dead. The Honorable Allard Anthony presented the opening address. Doctor Lewis H. White, the beloved physician who cared for the local residents served as first president.
The DuBois Chapel:
The DuBois Chapel was built in a Gothic Revival Style Architecture in 1888. Doctor Abram DuBois and his wife Catharine provided initial funding of $2,000.00. The DuBois family donated several stained glass windows and the original bell donated by James E. Van Nostrand survive to this day. Restoration of the chapel began in 1996, restoring the windows, fireplace, and the entranceway. New stained glass windows were also donated to replace damaged windows. Funding of the chapel restoration was provided by plot owners and concerned citizens. The Chapel which was refurbished through donations included new memorialized benches.
The Community Mausoleum:
A local need was fulfilled when construction of the first Community Mausoleum in Southern Dutchess County was completed in 2000. The outdoor and indoor crypts and niches provide more options for a final resting place. In 2003 the Board of Trustees realized the need to expand and initiated a plan to double the capacity of the facility by 2005.
The Cemetery Office:
The original building was a one room structure built in the early 1900's. The building was expanded in 2002 and now features a new sales room and a board meeting room along with a more efficient office and reception area. The new facility is designed to provide complete services for the community.
Although many veterans are buried in family plots the cemetery has three areas set aside for Veteran Burials. These sections range in time from the Civil War to the present.
The Cemetery Today and in the Future:
The cemetery today has grown to 142 acres of dedicated land with ponds, evergreen trees, and a variety of flowers, add to the extensive landscaping, enhancing the beauty and serenity of the park-like setting with views of the surrounding Fishkill Mountains.
The Fishkill Rural Cemetery is a Not-For-Profit corporation. When plots/mausoleum space are purchased a portion of each one is dedicated for permanent maintenance. Plots and Mausoleum space can be purchased in advance by contacting the office at 845 896-6227. Trust funds are available for additional services desired for a specific lot, such as flowers purchased for holidays or cleaning monuments. A dedicated Board of Trustees assures its permanence for many generations to come.
A quiet walk through the cemetery affords the opportunity to appreciate its respectful serenity, the distinctive architecture, the luxuriant landscaping and the timeless heritage. Visitors are sure to be impressed with the charm and tranquility of Fishkill Rural Cemetery and its desirability as a final resting place for those loved ones who are cherished.