For my last article I wrote about Mill Pond Park which was really a nice experience. In the process of writing I attained some information about another historic area in Bellmore, the Baldwin - Southard Cemetery. It sounded interesting so I gave it a visit and did a little exploring. Located on Lakeview Road, the cemetery is connected to Mill Pond. Not too far from Sunrise Highway and right off Bellmore Ave. I found this historic burial ground to be peaceful and somewhat void. What a difference it must be from the past. Considering the surrounding area used to be a private farm and Lakeview used to be Mill Road. These days houses and cars fill up the street, yet it still has a sense of tranquility.
Upon walking into the park, a welcome sign greeted me with history of the former farm. It stated the owners were John and Ann Southard and it is likely the cemetery was on their farm located in the back corner. The only stone that remained was for a young girl named Lucy Ann, which I assumed was their daughter. Lucy's early death at the age of 13 made me wonder what could've happened to such a young girl? How did this loss affect the family and the production of the farm? It was questions like these that really got me thinking of the past. History has some great stories to share. So I started to look further.
While doing some research I came across some genial records on Lucy Ann and found a match. Included in this record were Lucy's parents, John Southard and Ann Whitmore, as well as her birthdate, July 25, 1828. The one thing that didn't match up was the date of her death. The date listed here was Jan. 29, 1841 while the sign at the cemetery read June 29, 1840. Considering the burial stone was not in the best condition, I could understand the mistake. I couldn't find any information on her death, but I do know John passed away three years later at the age of 44. I wonder if the deaths of Lucy and John were the result of some sort of illness. Whatever the cause, I assume John was also buried with his daughter at the cemetery. In 1884, at 83 years old, Anne's death followed.
Both around the same age, John and Ann got married in 1826 while they were in their late 20s. Then gave birth to Lucy two years later. I also found out they had a son. Warren M. Southard was born Dec. 14, 1838 in Seaford, only two years before his sister passed away. Warren lived a long life and made it to 72 years old. Even though he outlived everyone in his family, Ann lived the longest. I wonder what her secret was? Warren's wife, Harriet, had a good 50 or so years with him before his death.
Looking at a 1906 map, the cemetery was surrounded by land owned by David Bedell, William Fanshaw and Foster Smith. There was nothing recorded about the Southard farm on this map but there was a Mrs. G. B. Southard listed as a property owner just south of the cemetery. Could this be another family member? From what I have learned, Warren and Harriet didn't have any children so I thought maybe she could be a sister of John or an in law. Who knows who the mysterious woman is? What we do know is that the Southard family lived and worked in Bellmore for a number of years. They have a history here and will be remembered by all thanks to the small memorial at Baldwin - Southard Cemetery.
The next time you pass this special place, think about how life used to be for the Southards. Wonder how they defeated their struggles and celebrated their achievements. Feel the earth beneath you and know that they lived glorious days and sad days standing on this same land. Remember that we are all connected. Time can make a difference but its the stories that keep us all alive. Holding on to memories, yet striving for a new view.
(Editor's Note: A New View is a bi-monthly column that will be featured on Bellmore Patch. We welcome Melissa O'Connor's superb photography skills and informative history lessons.)