NASSAU, N.Y. — The Brainard Rural Cemetery sits along route 20 in East Nassau. From the road, you might dismiss it as just another landmark, yet within its fencing, the once abandoned cemetery has served for centuries as a final resting place for war-tired veterans.
“We’re restoring a historic burial ground that includes about 300 graves, including veterans from the American Revolution and the Civil War and the early settlers of our community in the town of Nassau,” said David Fleming, supervisor for the town of Nassau.
The cemetery has been getting a makeover, thanks to around $35,000 being pumped into its restoration via state grants and small donor contributions, along with hands-on reconstruction from Nassau community member volunteers.
“Pieces of our history that some had long forgotten have been discovered in this cemetery. We found Civil War veterans that we didn’t know were in the cemetery because their stones had long ago been knocked down and grass had grown over them. People’s stories are coming forward where, y’know, you’re learning the history through other family members who are now seeing the cemetery and are excited about a cemetery that they didn’t even know existed up until about a year and a half ago because it was so overgrown,” said Fleming.
Not only is this once-lost cemetery being revived to its true respectable stature, the result of such restoration motivated the town to create a Veteran’s Monument Restoration Fund, which will aim to restore all veteran graves in the town of Nassau.