2017-09-13 / News

Almont historical group raises tombstone funds

BY PHIL FOLEY
810-452-2616 • pfoley@mihomepaper.com

ALMONT TWP. — Revolutionary War widow Deborah Burroughs Allen, a member of one of Almont’s pioneering families, died in 1843 at the age of 85 and was buried in what is known as Sandhill Cemetery. But over the next 174 years, her headstone was knocked over and shattered into a dozen pieces.

The Almont Community Historical Society has decided to replace her grave marker with a simple granite stone and preserve the remainder of her original tombstone in the village’s museum.

To do that the society needs to raise $1,500. The group voted at its August meeting to kick off a Dollars for Deborah campaign.

“It seems fitting,” said James Wade, the society’s president, “to replace her headstone, both because of the extraordinary efforts given by her husband during the Revolutionary War but also because of her family’s involvement with the early development of Almont.”

Born in Fishkill, N.Y. in 1758, Allen’s father James Burroughs moved the family to Pawlett, VT. in 1777 as British Gen. George Burgoyne led his army down the Hudson Valley. Allen met and married Capt. Parmalee Allen, a widower and second cousin to Ethan Allen, in Pawlett.

After the war the Allens lived in Granville, N.Y., until Parmalee’s death in 1808. She moved to Wales Township, N.Y. with her children following her husband’s death.

Two years later her oldest daughter married Hiram Hoyt, who began a farm in Almont Township in the mid-1830s and helped establish the Union Interring Cemetery, which would come to be known at the Sandhill Cemetery, in 1841.

Allen’s son, William, began a farm in Macomb County’s Washington Township in 1822 and he and his son, George Washington Allen, literally paved the way to Almont, cut a trail through the woods from Romeo that would come to be known as Van Dyke Road. Allen’s grandson helped James Deneen begin the first homestead in Lapeer County and when he married, his was one of the first families to homestead Dryden Township.

Allen’s daughter Sally Johnson and her husband, Samuel, are buried next to her and her grandson and members of his family are buried in the Sandhill Cemetery.

Wade said checks payable to the Almont Community Historical Society can be mailed to P.O. Box 635, 149 S. Main St., Almont, MI 48003 or dropped off at the Museum between 1 and 4 p.m. any Saturday. He said any funds collected in excess of the cost of replacing Allen’s headstone will be used to upgrade displays in the museum.

For more information about this and other Almont Community Historical Society activities, call Wade at 810- 796-3355.

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