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National Register of Historic Places Program

The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the Nation's historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America's historic and archeological resources.


Reference Number 16000107
State New York
County Columbia
Town Village of Kinderhook
Multiple Property Submission Name N/A
Status Listed 3/22/2016
Areas of Significance ETHNIC HERITAGE: Black
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Established ca. 1816 exclusively for the use of the area's black population, the Persons of Color Cemetery at Kinderhook is a historically significant resource that illuminates an important and underrepresented aspect of this early Dutch-settled village's history. The land on which this burial ground was established was willed for this purpose by John Rogers, a native of Ireland who came to Kinderhook ca. 1795 and later resided in the Van Schaack House-known variously as the "Centennial Mansion" and the Vanderpoel place - a commodious house of Georgian characteristics that was erected ca. 1774. It was in this house that Rogers later resided that the vanquished British General John Burgoyne was entertained in October 1777 following the defeat of his forces at the Battle of Saratoga. Rogers had recognized the need for a place of repose for Kinderhook's African-Americans, and around this same time manumitted his slave, Harry, noting that his manumission was his "will and pleasure." The property in question was a narrow rectangular strip of land that formed a part of Rogers's village holdings; a 1914 account indicated that it was used until "every available inch was taken up" and by that date had long ago ceased active use. The nominated cemetery, a simple flat expanse of mown grass with a grouping of simply crafted grave stones aligned in rows near its center, remains an important historic resource that portrays the lesser known history of Kinderhook's non-white population. While the extent of burials there remains a matter of speculation, the cemetery's use beginning in the 1810s and its association with John Rogers's estate is definitively established. The name "Persons of Color Cemetery at Kinderhook" relates to the wording used by Rogers at the time he set this land aside for this purpose. The cemetery is being nominated in association with NRHP Criterion A, in the area of Ethnic Heritage, for its value in chronicling a significant and underrepresented aspect of this well-known Columbia County village's history.

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Properties are listed in the National Register of Historic Places under four criteria: A, B, C, and D. For information on what these criterion are and how they are applied, please see our Bulletin on How to Apply the National Register Criteria