History of Mount Olivet Cemetery
The first meeting to discuss the formation of the cemetery was on March 26, 1850 at the house of James Maurice in Maspeth. It was there that the name and the first Board of Trustees was decided. The first Board of Trustees was Rev. Samuel Haskins, George Fash, James Maurice, Lawrence Waterbury and Noah Waterbury, the first president of the cemetery.
Mount Olivet Cemetery was incorporated in 1850 under the Rural Cemetery Association Act of 1847 as a nongovernmental supervision, non-religious and private non-sectarian cemetery. The original restriction of having mostly Espicopal Church services was repealed in 1851.
The original land was acquired from George Fash (42 acres), and from the estate of James Waterbury (originally the property of Thomas Hallett). The later parcel, of 16 acres, was purchased in 1878 and gave the cemetery 360 feet of frontage on Grand Avenue. A later purchase resulted in today's total acreage of 71 acres.
The cemetery was designed as a "Garden Cemetery" with winding roads and many horticultural specimens. Space was allotted in and around most family lots to allow for landscape planting and a vast variety of trees and shrubs that have been planted. The cemetery has a regular tree and shrub pruning program and plants trees to make up for those lost due to storms, insect or disease damage.
It can only be assumed that the highest point of the Cemetery, 165 feet above sea level, was used as a lookout for the "Mespatches" Indians. Maspeth, which was formally settled by colonists in 1642 was named for these Indians. The village began with 28 English settlers, mostly of the Quaker religion, as a result of the "Newton Patent" of 1642, which granted over 13,000 acres of land to those wishing to settle and develop what is now western Queens County. The original village developed around Newton Creek, west of the current town.
The original office was located on Brown Place. It was eventually established on Grand Avenue in 1878 after land was purchased giving frontage on the more desirable main street. The current office building was built in 1936.
Mount Olivet Cemetery is proud to have on its grounds the Robert J. Marks Post #560 Grand Army of the Republic Lot. Located in the center of the lot is a monument inscribed "Dedicated to the Defenders of the Union". Burried in the lot are 25 veterans of the Civil War along with 17 wives.
On June 17, 2000, as part of the 150th Anniversary Celebration of Mount Olivet Cemetery, 25 military monuments were replaced and dedicated in memory of the brave men who defended the union. With the assistance of the Sons of Union Veterans, a field mass and unveiling ceremony followed.