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Taft Cemetery

The Taft Cemetery is the final resting place of Royal Taft (first postmaster of Tafton Post Office), his wife, four daughters, a daughter-in-law and a grandson. For a more detailed history of the Taft family, see this page.

Royal Taft was born in Windom County, Connecticut in 1787. He taught school in Connecticut and New York before entering the mercantile trade. In the early 1820s he purchased a 400 acre tract of land in the area of the Lake Wallenpaupack dike from his mother-in-law. He established a trading business and a post office at what became known as the Taft House. The Taft House was located within a few yards of the present Wallenpaupack Visitor's Center. The family cemetery plot was established just east of the Taft House along the Milford-Owego Turnpike.

The eight graves in the cemetery are the final resting place of::

Amanda Taft b. 06 Jan 1822 d. 25 Apr 1823 (daughter of Royal and Sarah V. Taft)

Adeline Taft b 19 Nov 1820 d 19 Jan 1832 (daughter of Royal and Sarah V. Taft)

Elizabeth Ann Taft b. 18 Oct 1823 d. 26 Jan 1832 (daughter of Royal and Sarah V. Taft)

Royal Taft b 03 Apr 1787 d. 02 Aug 1841

Sarah Valentine Taft b. ? d. 30 Oct 1853 (wife of Royal Taft)

Eliza Adelaide Taft b 04 May 1833 d 04 Aug 1842 (daughter of Royal and Sarah V. Taft)

Charlie Taft b 24 Aug 1861 d. 12 Sep 1861 (son of Theodore W. and Sarah M. Taft)

Sarah M. Taft b 1832 d 01 May 1867 (wife of Theodore W. Taft)

 

The farm and the cemetery

In 1868 the Taft Property was sold to Franz K. Gustav.  The deed stipulated the cemetery would continue to belong to the Taft family as long as it was fenced in, and the family reserved the right of access.

The Taft farm had a succession of owners including the Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey Power Company, and the Pennsylvania Power and Light Company.  A large portion of it is now under the waters of Lake Wallenpaupack.  In 1992 the property surrounding the cemetery came into the possession of Joy-Beck Inc.  During 1998 and 1999, the Society identified and contacted the remaining heirs of the Taft Family to request their rights to the fenced quarter acre of land be turned over to the historical society.  The family executed deeds to give ownership of the cemetery to the Wallenpaupack Historical Society in 1999.

In the spring of 1999, Society members began the first major cleanup of the cemetery and removed 7 large trees in and around the cemetery.  Since then, the Society has conducted a clean up of the cemetery every spring. 

In November 1999 Society members met the 3 great grandchildren (and principle heirs) of Thomas V. Taft who traveled from California and Connecticut to visit the site.  For their generosity in donating their interest in the Taft Cemetery to the Society, Thomas Tuttle, Elizabeth Toone, and Georgia Stabell were named the first Honorary Members (for Life) of the Society.

Pictured are (l-r back row) Jon Tandy (then WHS Vice-President), Donal Coutts (then WHS President), Thomas Tuttle (Royal's great-great-grandson), Dorothy Guccini (then WHS Secretary/Treasurer), (l-r front row) Georgia Tuttle Stable (Royal's great-great-granddaughter), Bernadine Lennon (then Chair of the Cemetery Committee) and Mrs. Thomas Tuttle.

Significance of the carvings

Carved on the Taft grave markers are either a weeping willow (accompanied on some markers with an urn) or a rose bud.  According to The Association for Gravestone Studies, the urn and weeping tree (which almost always was a willow) motif was introduced at different times in different parts of the country, but the first large scale use of these symbols occurred in the eastern cities in the late 1700s and early 1800s.  An urn, a classical form associated with ancient Greek and Roman art, was especially appropriate for our new Republic and the Federal and Greek Revival styles that were popular at that time.  It represented death.  Willows, with their weeping branches, were associated with mourning and sorrow.  An urn and willow motif was popular and almost universally accepted as an appropriate classical, tasteful gravestone design which honored the memory of the deceased. A rose bud and/or broken stemmed rose represented a life cut short, a bud that would not bloom on earth.  A broken or bent stemmed bud was usually used for a young person, often a child or a young or unmarried woman.

 

 

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Last update: 18 November 2011