Port Washington’s Monfort Cemetery may get a facelift in the coming year with North Hempstead Town Historian Howard Kroplick proposing a plan to restore the almost 300-year-old cemetery.
Kroplick suggests that the Town of North Hempstead move forward to implement the second phase of the project, which would include the removal of plant growth and a site survey, as well as getting recommendations for treatment and restoration of the headstones.
Monfort Cemetery has 151 headstones and burial markers that are in various states of disrepair due to weathering.
The first phase of the restoration was completed in May with the installation of a historical marker. The installation was followed by a workshop on gravestone restoration in July.
Burying Ground Preservation Group Inc., a Long Island-based nonprofit, has submitted a proposal for the second phase of the project.
The group offers services in site surveying, recording historic information, condition assessments, cleaning, and conservation and restoration for burial grounds.
The newly formed group was founded by Zachary Studenroth, the former historian of the Town and Village of Southampton, and Kurt Kahofer, a teacher in the state for 23 years.
Some of the headstones in Monfort Cemetery belong to the graves of the early Dutch settlers of the Cow Neck peninsula, with the oldest headstone dating to 1737.
Descendants of the pioneers were buried there until 1892.
The cemetery’s notable interments include the graves of people who were integral to the formation of the North Shore of Nassau County.
Those buried there includes revolutionaries who signed North Hempstead’s declaration of independence from the Town of Hempstead, which was loyal to King George III of Britain.
One of the declaration’s signers who is buried in Monfort Cemetery is Adrian Onderdonck, who was the first supervisor of the Town of North Hempstead after its separation.
He is buried along with his brother, Hendrick Onderdonk, who was the owner of New York’s first paper mill and hosted President George Washington when he visited Roslyn in 1790.
Another family member can also be found there, New York state Sen. Andrew Onderdonck, who won his election over Aaron Burr.
Kahofer, in a telephone interview, emphasized the importance of preserving burial grounds because sometimes headstones are the only record left of people from the past.
If requested, the preservation group will create a written narrative for the cemetery, which explains the history of the burial ground and those who are buried there and can be used when giving tours.
Kroplick said the project proposal is being reviewed by the town staff.
Reach reporter Jessica Parks by email at [email protected], by phone at 516-307-1045, ext. 214, or follow her on Twitter @_JessicaParks.