History of Middle Village and the Lutheran Cemetery - JuniperCivic.com
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History of Middle Village and the Lutheran Cemetery

History of Queens County, New York, W.W. Munsell & Company, 1882

Lutheran Cemetery illustration

MIDDLE VILLAGE.

The name of this village refers to its position between Williamsburgh and Jamaica on the old turnpike, which connects them. The village is made up very largely of German families, and nearly all the business of the place is transacted in that language. A post-office was established here in the summer of 1881 and Christian F. Seibs was commissioned postmaster.

THE LUTHERAN CEMETERY.

This cemetery is the principal feature of Middle Village and the labor connected with it is the principal industry of the people in the vicinity. This is perhaps the most important Protestant cemetery in the vicinity of New York; the interments here in 1879 were nearly twice as many as at Greenwood, and in 1880 more than in all the other Protestant cemeteries in Newtown. The existence of this cemetery is largely due to the efforts of the late Rev. Dr. Geissenhainer. In 1850, when the common council of New York forbade burial in the city, Dr. Geissenhainer was pastor of St. Paul's German Lutheran church on Sixth Avenue. St. Matthew's church sent John H. Imbush and Benjamin Van Raden to confer with Dr. Geissenhainer as to some means of providing the two churches with a suitable and cheaper place of burial than Greenwood. Dr. Geissenhainer's church declining to co-operate he took the responsibility individually, and became half owner in this new cemetery a Middle Village. Ten acres were purchased of Jonathan Morrell and divided in halves, so that the part owned by St. Matthew's church was distinct from the part owned by Dr. Geissenhainer. F.W. Geissenhainer jr. purchased eight acres adjoining, which was subsequently added to the cemetery. St. Matthew's society also made additions to its part of the cemetery. Dr. Geissenhainer's part was laid out and improved by him as a private enterprise, until March 22nd 1852, when a company was organized under the general act of 1847, and the "Lutheran Cemetery" was incorporated. Dr. Geissenhainer's part of the original purchase and the lands subsequently bought by his son were conveyed to this corporation. In 1860 the corporation bought the Harper farm of thirty-eight acres. St. Matthew's society had in the meantime purchased several acres, and during the eight years that followed a bitter rivalry existed between the two parties. These differences were terminated in 1868 by the Lutheran Cemetery proprietors purchasing all the land belonging to St. Matthew's church.

The price of burials in this cemetery was originally $2.50, and lots were sold at $7.00. The managers have followed the design of the founder by keeping the price of lots as low as in any incorporated cemetery.

In 1880 16,844 interments were made in the several cemeteries in the town of Newtown, as follows: Methodist Episcopal, Middle Village, 171; Machpela, Ridgewood, 199; Cypress Hills, 949; Evergreen, Ridgewood, 1,693; Lutheran, Middle Village, 3,815; Calvary, Laurel Hill, 10,017.