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Trails found behind disputed cemetery

August 12, 2009
By NATHAN BROWN, Enterprise Staff Writer

BLOOMINGDALE - The town of St. Armand is researching the ownership of Union Cemetery.

The cemetery had been maintained by the towns of St. Armand and Franklin for years, said St. Armand Supervisor Joyce Morency. She said the town of Franklin started to dispute whether it owns or is responsible for any of it about a year ago.

There is a possibility the cemetery is still owned by the Arnold family, who used to own much of the land around it.

In the meantime, family members of a volunteer caretaker are under state police investigation for allegedly cutting trails behind the cemetery through private land.

The St. Armand town board voted Tuesday evening to do a title search, to make sure the town owns the cemetery. The vote was 4-1, with Councilman Tom Jones voting against, saying the town should survey the land first.

"I don't want to pay for a survey for something we don't own," said town Councilman Sam Grimone. "It sounds like (the town) own it, but let's find out."

Town Councilman Charlie Whitson said there are all-terrain vehicle tracks in the cemetery, trails cut behind the cemetery that start on cemetery land but soon go into adjoining private property, and a cabin in the woods behind it with two bunks inside. The marble bases of headstones were used to bridge some brooks, he said.

"Somebody's been playing around down there for a long time," Morency said.

Morency said the volunteer caretaker had said he wanted to be buried in the cemetery.

"It seemed like a great deal," Morency said. "He didn't want to be paid."

The investigation is ongoing.


Contact Nathan Brown at (518) 891-2600 ext. 26 or



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