Sunday, June 3, 2012
Man searches for Fort Totten graveyard
From the NY Times:
The fort, Mr. Wilkins insisted to no avail, had once been his family’s rolling farmland and the cemetery on it was still his. It had been retained, he said, by a special provision set out when his father sold the property, which was eventually bought by the military before the Civil War.
More than a century later, Tom Loggia, Mr. Wilkins’s great-grandnephew, is continuing the family quest to seek out and memorialize a cemetery that he steadfastly insists lies unmarked on the land.
His goal, which he has been pursuing for years, is to erect a monument or marker to replace the vanished headstones of what he says are up to 30 members of an extended family and their neighbors.
But history repeats itself, sometimes with eerie symmetry: About a decade ago, on Mr. Loggia’s first try, he was turned away by a guard at the fort’s gates, he said.
Fort Totten was decommissioned; parts of it were turned into a city park, while the Army, the Coast Guard and the New York Fire Department control the rest. Officials there remain skeptical that the graveyard exists.