The Irish of Clovesville

There is a small burial ground in Clovesville that harbors a forgotten immigrant history of our area. Known locally as the “Irish” or “Catholic” cemetery, it is located across Old Route 28 from the larger Clovesville Cemetery. Whether those interred wound up there by choice, or because they were denied admittance to the Protestant burial ground is not clear.

Roger Davis took the following headstone inventory of the Irish Cemetery in August of 2001. The cemetery was in bad shape then, and is even worse now, with the steep bank below it cut away by flood and excavator, leaving some of the graves in a precarious situation.

The annotations in parentheses after each headstone inscription were prepared by Ed Stewart in 2009 in an attempt to provide a little more information about these folks. Says Ed, “I suspect there may be many more people buried in this cemetery than we realize given the significant number of Irish around in the 1840-1880 censuses, and the high mortality rates of those years particularly among the tanneries and the quarries.”

Many Irish immigrant men are known to have worked at the Clark Tannery in Dunraven around 1850, for example, and it can be assumed that the J. D. Elmore tannery, shown on the 1869 Beers Atlas map of Dunraven, employed Irish as well. The coming of the Ulster & Delaware Railroad in 1870 no doubt attracted a later tide of Irish laborers.

Interestingly, the Beers Atlas does not show either of the cemeteries that existed in Clovesville in 1869.

If you have any information about or are descended from these nearly forgotten people, or if you would like to help repair this cemetery, please email us at

Irish cem headstone, 3 children, 1877,

Headstone, 3 children who died within one month in 1877

 John M. (Mc) Mullen, d. Sept. 18, 1877 aged 61 yrs. (Listed in the 1870 Census as John McMullen residing Town of Middletown with Bridget his wife. Listed in the 1850 Census as born in Ireland 1818 – probable son of Catherine)

Rachel Kelly, wife of John O. Kelly, b. March 6, 1820 d, Jan. 3, 1864 (Listed in the 1850 census Town of Shandaken as a 26 year old female born in Ireland along with John Kelly, 29 b. Ireland; William, 6, Thomas, 4, Edward, 1, Gerald Grace Kelly, 2, children all born NY)

Edward Kelly d. Oct. 6, 1894 (listed in 1850 census of the Town of Middletown as a farmer born in Ireland age 32 – also in household Thomas 30, Margaret 57, Mary 20, Sarah 14, George 17, and Anna Maria 13 with George being the first listed as born in NY))

William Kelly d. Sept. 18, 1847 aged 63y – 3m – 17d

Margaret Byrne, his wife, d. Sept. 29, 1857 aged 65y – 4m – 8d (in the 1850 census listed with Edward Kelly as a 57 year old female born in Ireland)

Rachel Barker, wife of John Kelly, d. July 8, 1847 aged 95y – 4m – 13d

John Dwyer, d. Nov. 5, 1865 aged 17 years (Listed with parents, James and Mary, both born Ireland, in 1860 census Town of Middletown, aged 13, b NY)

Mary, wife of Hugh Riley, d. Feb. 26, 18(65) aged 80y – 8m – 1d (Listed 1850 census Town of Shandaken, female born Ireland, aged 65, with Thomas, aged 24, laborer born Ireland)

Maggie d. Oct. 14, 1877 aged 10y – 14d, John d. Nov. 1, 1877 aged 5y – 1m, Burnie d. Oct. 22, 1877 aged 6y – 9m – 23d, Children of John and Bridgett McGuire (John possibly listed 1850 census, Town of Shandaken, as male born Ireland 1822)

Julia, wife of John White, d. April 14, 1846 in her 27th year

Julia, daughter of John and Julia White, d. Oct. 22, 1845 aged 4y – 4m – 2d

Alexander McMullen, d. Nov. 29, 1844 (Connected to the family of Catherine McMullen, see below, listed 1840 census, Town of Middletown, Delaware County)

John McMullen, Native of Ireland, d. May 7, 18(38) aged 51yrs

Catherine McMullen, Native of Ireland, d. Feb. 2, 1869 aged 95yrs (Listed 1850 census Town of Middletown, female aged 72 born in Ireland with John McMullen, farmer aged 32 b. Ireland, Sally McMullen, aged 25, b. NY; and Bridget McMullen, aged 34 b. Ireland)

Augustine Quinn, d. March 18, 1872 aged 20y – 11m – 2d (Possibly listed 1860 census Town of Colchester, male, age 9, with Timothy, 45, b. Ireland, and Mary A., aged 18, housekeeper b. NY)

Michael McCormick, d. Feb. 12, 1873 aged 50 yrs (Listed in the 1850 and 1860 census town of Middletown as a 32 year old farmer born in Ireland along with Mary 32 b. Ireland, Catherine 12, William 10, Nicholas 8, Mary 5, Michael 3, Bridget 6/12, children all born NY)

Thomas Dwyer, Native of Roscommon County, Ireland, d. June 25, 1868 aged 34 yrs (Listed 1850 Census, Town of Shandaken, 18 year old, b. Ireland, listed with John Dwyer, Catherine Dwyer, Michael Dwyer, and Dennis Dwyer, all born in Ireland. Prior family listed is that of John Dwyer, 35, b. Ireland, Margaret Dwyer, 28, b. Ireland, Mary Dwyer, 7, b. Ireland, John Dwyer, 3, b. NY, and Michael Dwyer, 1 b. NY)

John Dwyer, d. June 10, 1886 aged 71y – 6m – 16d

Mary, wife of John Dewair (Dwyer) d. Sept. 6, (1859) aged 37yr – 6m

Michael Macan, d. July 12, 1859 (Listed in 1850 census Town of Shandaken (present Hardenburgh) as a farmer age 55, b. Ireland, along with Jane, 60, b. NY, Edward, a farmer, 23, b. NY, Abraham, a farmer, 21, b. NY) (On prior page is Peter McCan, 27, b. NY; Sarah, 39, b. NY; Mary, 2, b. NY; Patrick, 1, b. NY)

Jane, wife of Michael Macan, d. March 7, 1855 in her 68th year

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