The Colgate Scene
May 2002

At rest, at Colgate

For those unfamiliar with Colgate history -- and, probably, for many who aren't -- a trip just past Chapel House yields a surprise. There, overlooking the athletics facilities and the farm fields beyond, is the Colgate cemetery.

Documents in the Colgate archives indicate that the first interment in the "burial place for use of the Institution" took place in 1838. With the death that year of Edward E. Whipple, Class of 1838, a faculty and trustee committee selected the site of the cemetery, which was meant to be used primarily for the burial of students whose families lived far from Hamilton. Not long thereafter, however, use of the cemetery was expanded to include alumni, faculty and staff. In 1862, two of founder Daniel Hascall's grandsons were killed in the Civil War, Ralph H. Hascall, 18, at the Battle of Malvern Hill, Va., and Arthur F. Hascall, 22, at Antietam. They were buried in the Colgate cemetery. Thirty-seven years later, Daniel Hascall's remains were moved to Colgate when the town cemetery was closed.

Now, plots in the cemetery are reserved for current or retired tenured members of the faculty, current or retired officers of the university, current or retired employees who have served at least 25 years at Colgate and current or former members of the board of trustees.

The stones and monuments to be found in Colgate's burial grounds testify to the long history of the college -- somber, 19th-century references to "passing through the gates of gold" can be found near a stone (under which no one is buried yet) proclaiming "It happens." Celtic crosses, Cyrillic letters and carved weeping willows coexist with a Star of David. Immigrants from England lie near those from Kiev and St. Petersburg.

The photos on this page cannot do justice to that diversity -- only a sojourn at the cemetery can.

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