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Yates County Cemetery Project
Part IX: Cemeteries in the town of Barrington

Kress Cemetery: Notes

Kress cemetery

In March 1812 one of the most poignant episodes in Yates County's two centuries of history took place on the John Pembroke farm in Benton. Pembroke came from Ulster County with his family about 1809. His wife died and he hired a young teenage girl to watch over his children and keep house for him.

The girl was Sally Kress, and her father John, with his brothers Samuel and George, was one of the very first settlers in this part of the county, having come up from Orange County through Newtown (Elmira) in the early years of the century.

Apparently Sally stayed with Pembroke about 3 years and with or without his encouragement formed an attachment for him. He repulsed her; perhaps he was courting another woman, perhaps the girl was even carrying his child. In any case, one day he told her he would not marry her and that she would have to leave the house. The next morning, as he was in the woods tapping his maple trees, she murdered the three youngest children, cutting their throats with a razor and then turning the weapon on herself.

The girl could not be buried in consecrated ground because of her suicide, so she was interred in a single grave on her father's farm in Barrington. He felled two huge trees over the grave to protect it from desecration. The girl's grave was never marked with a stone; in any case there is no trace of it today, and it's uncertain exactly where on the farm she was buried. It was said to have been near the residence, at the edge of the woods. The family moved away some years later and the place was purchased by William Ovenshire.

Kress Cemetery: Burials

Kress Sally 1812 Mar 26 D about age 20, daughter of John & Martha Kress

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