Young author’s book to help preserve Little Merrit’s Tomb and the Beardsley Cemetery

Submitted By Vicky House

Oxford Historian

On Saturday, Aug. 23, Stefan Foster will be in front of Bartle’s Pharmacy in Oxford with his first book, “Pining For The Past: Little Merrit’s Tomb & The Beardsley Cemetery.” Come meet Chenango County’s new, young author anytime from 9 a.m. until noon and purchase an autographed copy of his book.

It was just over a year ago that I received a phone call from a young man who was interested in Little Merrit’s Tomb. I am always hesitant to share information about the boy’s grave site because it is unique and has been vandalized in the past. Stefan Foster, who was 15 years old at the time, visited with me and outlined his plans for the grave of the little boy who was afraid of the dark and the rest of the Beardsley Cemetery. I was impressed with Stefan, his plans and, especially, his determination to do a job and do it right.

Part of Stefan’s plan was to author a book, which he has done, with all the proceeds to benefit the cemetery. Stefan made presentations to the Oxford Town Board, Lions and Rotary Clubs to share his ideas and garnered support from all as well as the Oxford Historical Society.

During our first visit, Stefan recalled when his parents first told him the story of Little Merrit Beardsley. He was deeply affected by the little boy’s death being he was about the same age as Little Merrit when he died. In his book, Stefan shares his feeling, “Little Merrit’s Tomb has meant so much to me because of its ability to recreate such powerful sentiment. This local story, that has been recounted over one hundred years, led me to feel the mourning of a dying child’s parents, the love expressed by a father to fulfill a promise to keep his son in eternal light, and the anguish from vandalism from the unthinking. But now, I feel content knowing that the small eight year old boy can rest in peace, safe and protected.”

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