Hello, it has been a while since I have added to my History Blog, but I have a good reason, sort of. I decided last fall that since there was so much local history in the small cemetery that I would apply for a grant so there could be an historical marker. This process started in October, I lined up all the necessary information that the organization needed and I met all of their deadlines.
Then in January, while I was in Florida, I was contacted by one of the grant advisors. He told me that the wording would not be approved and that I needed more primary sources to prove that the information I wanted on the marker was accurate. (Would you believe that a gravestone is not considered a primary source?) (Would you believe that the organization refuses to use the word "graveyard" on any of its signs?) ***
So that began many many hours of getting primary sources on line and rewording and rewording and rewording. Finally by the end of March, the advisor was satisfied with everything I had submitted and with the final wording of the marker. Then I waited and waited. Finally after two months went by, I contacted the organization inquiring about my application and they answered me by asking..."who are you and what is your organization?" I was dumbfounded. So I reminded them of my application. They then wrote me a long email and said that there were 4 major problems with my application, that I submitted in December and also they would not approve the wording of the marker that I had worked on all winter. I was floored. On top of that they said I had two weeks (until June 16th) to submit the corrections. I admit, I got a little snarky in my response, but I sent all the necessary information that they requested. And I sent two revisions of the wording. I waited. They sent me an email saying that they could not approve my application and to try again next year when the grant window opens. I sent two more revisions on June 10th since they had given me until June 16th. Today is June 16th and I still have not heard from them. Arrogance is the word I would use to describe this organization. I sent an email to them last night informing them that I would NEVER apply for a grant through them again.
So sadly, the little cemetery will not have an historical marker from that organization. It is a shame since buried in this tiny cemetery there is a Revolutionary soldier, a US Congressman, a cousin to Harriet Beecher Stowe and a Mayflower descendent along with other notable people.
I am the Deputy Historian of Northampton and my boss, who lives in Northville, has had similar experiences with this particular organization. We have decided to begin to find ways to have local businesses help us with historical markers. Our history in this area is too amazing to ignore. As I research Fish House and this small cemetery, my husband and I have been overwhelmed by how this little town and its residents have so often contributed to the history of the United States.
I will continue to try to make the public aware of the history of this small hamlet called Fish House.
***The definition of a graveyard is "a burial ground, especially one beside a church" This small cemetery, sits next to the old brick Presbyterian Church, hence it is a graveyard.