Historic Putnam Cemtery restored

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Former Kent Town Historian Betty M. Behr is surrounded by (left to right) Putnam County Clerk Michael Bartolotti Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell, Putnam County Legislature Chairwoman Toni Addonizio and Richard T. Othmer Jr., Supervisor of the Kent Highway Department.

KENT – In May of 2018 a tornado ripped through the area leaving a trail of destruction in its path.  The Smalley’s Corner Cemetery was not spared by the tornado which leveled several trees in the burial ground, making access difficult.  A partnership of governing bodies has restored the property.

“The Putnam County Legislature was proud to help restore the historic Smalley’s Corner Cemetery,” Chairwoman Toni Addonizio said. “The May 2018 tornado left behind a trail of destruction, but the partnership between the Putnam County Parks Department and the Kent Highway Department cleared the damage and returned the property to its beautiful state. This cemetery is a historic treasure.”

Betty M. Behr, the former Kent Town Historian, said Smalley’s Corner Cemetery is a tremendous resource. More than 40 gravestones fill the site, including one for Issac W. Parker, who enlisted in 1862 when 60,000 men signed up to fight in the Civil War. Local scout troops and others visit the cemetery regularly to learn about early Putnam residents like Parker, who lived from 1842 to 1913, and whose headstone reads: “He was a soldier for the Lord and for his country for 56 years.”

“That tornado hit the cemetery and laid 100-year-old trees flat,” Behr said. “Without the help, we wouldn’t have even been able to get into the cemetery to put wreaths on the graves.”