Ancestral Adventures in Synchronicity

by | Jun 17, 2022

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I posted recently about a painting I am working on of my grandmother Mohena Belle Roberts (born in 1894) and my grandfather, Franklin Harris (born in 1886), on the family property in 1916. I had the photo for many decades, planning to paint it some day…and I finally started!


Shortly after,  I posted this family graveside photo, circa 1900, on the Historian of Newburgh’s Facebook page, asking if anyone knew anything about the cemetery.

My grandfather Franklin is the teen at front left, and the gravesite pictured is the Rossville Cemetery, resting place of  Hezekiah Harris, (Franklin’s grandfather and my great-grandfather, who died a hero at Gettysburg) and his wife, Catherine, who, according to the inscription, died in 1900. I wanted to find out the exact location of the cemetery, and whether it was overgrown, or would I be able to find the gravestone if I visited on my trip up to NY this summer?

I posted the photo about 1:00 am, hoping that I might get a comment by the next day…but I got a reply just a few minutes later from the site moderator, the Historian of Newburgh- who had serendipitously just woken up and decided to check his emails!

He told me that he and I are cousins! And that he and his group had just spent the past few months clearing out the cemetery and restoring the gravestones, and were celebrating their success with an upcoming performance at the cemetery, featuring an historical reenactment – with the actor portraying my great-great-grandmother, Catherine! And it is happening during my planned trip to NY! So I will be at the performance, and I will also take some reference photos so I can do a painting of the church and cemetery…the church building is nearly 200 years old, and they are raising money to restore it before the anniversary, and perhaps a painting could be used in some way to raise funds. Stay tuned, more art and more miracles are immanent!


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