The efforts of two volunteers, 26 years apart, are helping to restore gravestones at a cemetery in Bushnell’s Basin. The first volunteer, former Fairport High School student Graham Brooks, led a team that inventoried and photographed the gravestones at the cemetery in 1993.
The result of Graham’s Eagle Scout project resides in Perinton’s town archives. It is a large three-ring binder filled with detailed records of burials at the cemetery, the only such record in existence.
I found Graham Brooks, now living in Massachusetts, and asked about his Eagle Scout project of 1993.
“It was a great mix of the past and present. We spent time getting to know each stone, figuring out where they belonged, and what was said on each,” said the class of 1994 FHS graduate.
Graham’s team also trimmed trees and bushes and cleared away debris.
The second volunteer is Tim Romeo, who has taken it upon himself to repair, rebuild and clean gravestones at the cemetery, once tucked behind the long demolished Bushnell’s Basin School No. 1, not far from the foot of Garnsey Road on Route 96. Like many others, there is much work to do at the Bushnell’s Basin cemetery, which has long been in a state of dormancy.
Graves include those of Revolutionary War soldier Amos Woodin — 1753-1842 — and many veterans of the Civil War. There has not been a burial here in decades, and like a few other such cemeteries in Perinton, responsibility for its upkeep lies with the town.
Cemeteries in Pittsford have benefitted from Tim Romeo’s passion for some time. He transports his tools, even buckets of water, in his car, as often no water is available on site. In some cases, cleaning is all that is required. Other gravestones need more help. Some are broken into several pieces, and over time, the headstone and footstone upon which it rests have become separated. When that is the case, the 1993 inventory by Graham Brooks and his team can be a valuable resource. Some gravestones that are now fallen and broken were in one piece in 1993.
Graham’s documentation and photos combined with Tim’s restorations are helping to preserve our history for future generations.
Although Graham has never met Tim, he said he was gratified to learn that his Boy Scout project “is providing value 26 years later, as another volunteer continues the work on the cemetery.”
The efforts of Graham Brooks and Tim Romeo are restoring some peace and dignity to those who lived and died in this town so long ago.