The lives of some people buried at the Sheffield Cemetery

Pictured is the grave site of George Horton, former “superintendent of the Sheffield Tannery.”

It’s been a busy several weeks.

We don’t need to get into why but it has been.

I was writing a couple weeks ago about John Hoyt and needed to head up to the Sheffield Cemetery for a photo to go with it. That day, for whatever reason, had slowed down. So I spent some time there and came back with many more photos than I planned.

That proceeded to send me down some internet rabbit trails and into the county’s old papers to see what could be learned about these people’s lives.

In many cases, not much.

Pictured is the grave of Lorenzo Secor, a New York native who fought in the Civil War and is buried in the Sheffield Cemetery.

But here’s what I found.

It should come as no surprise that several of these individuals have connections to the Civil War.


Nathan Beebe was a New York native and enlisted at age 18 or 19 in the 15th New York Engineers in March 1864. He was discharged about two months after the Confederate surrender at Appomattox.

He had been promoted, however, to “artificer” in the Engineers. From what I’ve gathered, artificer was paid commensurate with a sergeant and meant that he had some kind of skilled labor abilities.

Pictured is the gravesite of Jeremiah Borden, founder of the Borden Funeral Home in Sheffield.

An obituary published in July 1915 gives us some details about his life. He had lived in the area for about 20 years

“The deceased was born at Camden, NY, near Utica, and came from that place to Brookston where he worked for a few years after which he left for the west, and returning, started a grocery store at Cherry Grove, moving from that place to Wetmore,” that account said.


Also a New York native, Secor was also a Civil War veteran – Co. B, 143rd New York Infantry.

Searches in the local papers only give us that he was a member of the International Order of Odd Fellows, that he was a Republican and that he was listed as a “carpenter” on a grand jury listing.

The grave of Theodore Bleech, which towers over the Sheffield Cemetery grounds from the top of the hill, is pictured.

He died in 1897.


If that name sounds familiar, it should. This man was the founder of the Borden Funeral Home in Sheffield.

He’s listed as a private in Co. I of the 7th US Infantry during the Civil War, though it would be decades before he would enter the funeral home business.

The Warren Times-Mirror published an article on the funeral home’s 50th anniversary: “The Borden Funeral Home was founded in 1898 by Jeremiah Borden, a native of Sullivan County, NY, and a veteran of the Civil War.”

“From its inception this firm has kept pace with improved methods brought about by scientific research in embalming and has always adopted the latest approved technique in funeral directing and placed emphasis on ethical professional service.”




David was born in 1869 while his wife, Gertrude was born in 1877. He was a veteran of the Spanish-American War.

Both of them died in early 1949.

A Times-Mirror obituary for David said he was a “retired machinist, of 4 Van Etten avenue SHeffield.”

“Mr. Mainwaring, a native of Oil City, was a Spanish-American War veteran and was a charter member of the Dinsmoor-Schwing Post, Veterans of Foreign Wars of Warren. He also had played for many years in the Warren VFW band,” the obituary reported. “He enlisted in the Navy on March 18, 1898 and served three years as a chief machinist’s mate before receiving his discharge on March 17, 1901.”

He appears to have been heavily involved in Masonry, both as a member of the North Star Lodge 241, a lodge in Warren and the Coudersport Consistory.

Gertrude preceded him in death by a month.


Wood, also a Spanish-American War veteran was born in 1865.

He managed a lumber mill in Sheffield and grabbed headlines in the Warren Mail when he died because he died in a doctor’s office in Warren.

“He had suffered with diabetes for several years and about two months ago he gave up his position as the manager of the G.R. Woods Lumber Co. at Sheffield and went to Jamestown to live and rest from his business cares,” according to the Mail.

He died in 1913.


A family history posted online notes that Horton was born in 1948 and was the “superintendent of the Sheffield Tannery.”

According to the March 8, 1893 edition of the Warren Mail, Horton died at the age of 42.

“Always robust and in good health, the deceased had been troubled this winter with sore throat and went South about two weeks ago, intending to return home by way of California,” the Mail reported. “In Texas he was taken worse and his trouble pronounced to be a tumor in the throat. He arrived home last week in charge of friends, but in spite of the best medical skill his end was speedy.

“George Horton was well liked by his associates, was kind and genial, a good business man and leaves many who will regret his departure. He was a member of the firm Horton, Crary & Co. and leaves a wife and two children.”

According to the Warren County Historical Society, the founding Horton of Horton, Crary & Co. was W.W. Horton, who appears to have been a somewhat distant relative.

It consolidated with the United States Leather Company the year George Died “to form a national monopoly of the tanning industry. The village of Sheffield owes its origin and growth to the several firms engaged in tanneries. In 1864, W. & W. Horton purchased land, and three years later the firm of Horton, Crary & Co. was formed and built one tannery. They had controlling interest in several tanneries and were producers of sole leather. They also owned sawmills and oil wells.”



This grave stone certainly stands out but I know next to little of the man.

He was born in 1867 and died in 1916 and a death certificate notes that he was born in Norway. It’s tough to read but it looks like his occupation is listed as “laborer.”

Jennie L. Gustafson

Jennie, born in March 1884, died at the age of 11 in November 1895.


The St. Michael’s Byzantine Catholic Cemetery is on the same hill as the Sheffield Cemetery and this grave stands out, towering over the burial grounds from the top of the hill.

Theodore Bleech (1892-1975) and Anna Fesiak Bleech (1893-1972) are buried there.

I found a brief obituary for Theodore: “Born in Pyskorovici, Jaroslav, Galicia, Ukraine (formerly in the Austrian Empire) on Feb. 2, 1892, he was a member of the St. Michael’s Church of Sheffield and the Providence Association of Ukrainian Catholics of America.”

It notes that he was preceded in death by his wife. They had been married for 57 years.


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