Fair Ridge Cemetery was founded in 1867, when a group of prominent town citizens met to establish "an association for the purpose of procuring and holding land to be used exclusively for a cemetery or place for the burial of the dead." Jesse Haight Underhill (1812 1896) sold the original 12-acre site to the association, and became one of its first trustees. The first president was Horace Greeley.

At the time, it was apparent that the four religious graveyards in town would eventually fill up. Some local families may also have wished for a more sizeable and secure alternative to the private burying grounds that they had on their properties.

Still another motive might have been to create a cemetery more in keeping with current fashion. The earlier graveyards were not planned, but simply grew. The graves tended to be laid out simply in rows and oriented so that on the Day of Judgment, the deceased would rise to face the east. During the 19th century, these expedient arrangements were supplanted by "rural" or "garden" cemeteries, laid out like parks. The monuments were given more space, and oriented to be viewed from curving paths and carriageways.

Fair Ridge Cemetery came into use as soon as it was founded, and some earlier graves were evidently moved into it from elsewhere. It has served as the community’s principal final resting place ever since. In recent decades, the site has been considerably enlarged to provide space for future expansion

By Gray Williams
December 9, 2013