Wilder Cemetery

5903 NY 64, South Bristol, New York

Cemetery of the Ghost Town of Mud Creek

Photos 

Historical Marker Obverse

The barn to the right and the cemetery are the only remnants of the community that was known as Mud Creek.

Photo taken by J.R. Manning in November 2020

Map 

Description 

The Wilder Cemetery is a public cemetery of 18th and 19th Century people interred. It's about an acre in size, on top of a knoll located between Bristol and South Bristol, in Ontario County. The stones range from 1801 to 1900. A large sign for the new Founder's Cemetery (opened 2007) and a historical marker tell you where the entrance is located on NY 64. (A gravel road continues past the Wilder Cemetery to the Founders Cemetery.) The Wilder Cemetery is accessed on a grass-covered two-track, up the hill to a tiny parking area. A split rail fence defines the Wilder Cemetery.

It was founded as the town cemetery for Mud Creek, a community founded by Gamaliel Wilder in 1788. The community of Mud Creek has long since dried up and blown away. The old barn you drive past at the entrance and the cemetery are the only relics of a town that was here. The internments appear to be descendants of Gamaliel Wilder, daughters and sons in law, grandchildren and great grandchildren, with family names of Allen and Parish.

Many of the stones have fallen or are so weather-worn to be difficult to read, if readable at all. Someone who cares has installed a newer headstone for Mr. Wilder, although it is difficult to read because it is against the split-rail fence that appears to be a fairly recent addition. American flags have been placed on the graves of veterans. They are veterans of the French & Indian War, Revolutionary War, the War of 1812 and the Civil War.

There is an ancient wood-decked bridge (extant) that crosses Mud Creek. It was incapable of handling vehicles but has been replaced by a modern culvert.

A modern, split rail fence defines the boundary of the original cemetery. Although overgrown in the last 120 years, it is in remarkably good shape. The headstones appear to be in clusters, probably familial. One is marked simply, "Mother."

Perhaps someday, a civic-minded group will adopt this cemetery. It seems that a group effort could clean up the cemetery, knock down the weeds, perhaps even clean up and/or restore the stones.

National Register information 

Status
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on March 23, 2003
Reference number
03000130
Area of significance
Exploration/Settlement
Level of significance
Local
Evaluation criteria
A - Event; C - Design/Construction
Property type
Site
Historic function
Cemetery
Current function
Cemetery
Periods of significance
1800-1824; 1825-1849; 1850-1874; 1875-1899; 1900-1924
Significant years
1801; 1900

Update Log 

  • November 10, 2020: New photos from J.R. Manning
  • November 10, 2020: Updated by J.R. Manning: Updated status, updated description and added photos

Sources