St. George’s Church to Hold Benefit April 30th

NEWBURGH – The cemetery committee  of St. George’s Church, Newburgh is issuing an invitation to celebrate  the 200th anniversary of the birth of Judge William Fullerton and National Law Day at an open house on Sunday, April 30th from  1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Fullerton Cultural Center at 297 Grand Street in Newburgh. The event is a benefit for St. George’s Cemetery, the burial place of Judge Fullerton.

The cemetery is a 7.4 acre sacred site in the heart of the city of Newburgh. This year it will cost over $8,000.00 to mow the lawns and over $2000.00 to install the next phase of new fencing to replace the old and damaged fencing. The cemetery dates from 1838 and was founded by the Rev. John Brown rector of St. George’s Church,  to provide a proper place of burial after the Old Town Cemetery became full. From its beginning, St. George’s was open to people of all races and creeds and that is still the case to this day.  The mission of the cemetery committee is to maintain, preserve and restore the burial ground that was once known as “the cemetery beautiful” for its natural beauty and orderly appearance. However, the ugliness of vandalism, graffiti, and unsightly trash have served to mar the gardens of stone. Yet, the underlying beauty remains. The committee has come to see that the improved fencing and  having the gates open by appointment only,  have helped the situation. Addressing the past desecration costs money. Trees planted for beauty and shade can sometimes inadvertently cause damage to nearby gravestones. The proper care of trees would not be expensive if money grew on them.

The benefit slated for April 30th is not only to profit the cemetery coffers, but also to do good for all who attend the event for even one hour or for all four.

“Everyone who comes out for this event will be making a difference for the cemetery, “ stated Catherine Costello,  cemetery chairman. “We have planned a time which we expect will be pleasant, educational,  and fun-filled for our eventgoers,” she added.

The program includes a tour of the house which served as the Judge’s residence from its construction in 1868 until his death in 1900. In August 1867 he  had been appointed to the New York State Supreme Court Supreme by Governor Fenton and became ex-officio a member of the Court of Appeals. William Fullerton had a distinguished  fifty year career as an attorney and was described as “having a profound knowledge of human nature, being quick and ready in debate, and thoroughly posted on the fundamental principles of law”.  He was “pre-eminently a great advocate” and was “without a peer as a cross-examiner”.  As a result of the Tilton  v. Beecher trial, he became known throughout the country as “the great cross-examiner.” Early in his legal career he had been dubbed, “the Orange County cyclone”.

The house tour will be given by Michael Green, the current owner and Fullerton expert.
Soon after his admission to the bar, Fullerton became District Attorney of Orange County.

The cemetery committee is pleased and honored to announce that the featured speaker for the event which takes place on the eve of the Fullerton birthday and Law Day is David Hoovler, Orange County District Attorney. Mr. Hoover’s topic will be community relations. Mr. Hoovler will be present throughout the event.

Judge Fullerton championed the cause of his clients, always giving his best. There was a four-legged champion named Judge Fullerton who was famous on the harness racing circuit. Rebecca Howard, the collections curator at the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame in Goshen will offer a special look at the chestnut gelding so well-known at the time. Also, she will present a slideshow on the history of harness racing through Currier & Ives lithographs. It is interesting to note that Goshen’s historic track was established in 1838, the same year as St. George’s Cemetery.

As an added attraction, there will be a wine and cheese reception. Birthday cake and nonalcoholic beverages will be part of the celebration, as well.

Ticket may be reserved by calling St. George’s Church at (845) 561-5355 or emailing

The cemetery committee  is pleased to remember Judge Fullerton on the bicentennial of his birth and Law Day in this special way and is grateful for the participation and help of David Hoovler, Rebecca Howard, and Michael Green.  The committee is also thankful for the significant behind the scenes assistance of William (Bill) Rose, Judge Noreen Calderin, and Lauren Hyde.

St. George’s cemetery committee consists of Ralph Arce, Mary Barber, Tia Bennett, Catherine Costello (chair), Melania Fontanez, Charles Greeney, Leslie Hoffman, the Rev. Wayne Schmidt, Richard Simms (consultant), and the Rev. Dustin Trowbridge (ex officio).

If you cannot attend the open house event,  but would like to contribute, you may  mail a check payable to St. George’s Church with “cemetery”  in the memo line,  to St. George’s Church, 105 Grand Street, Newburgh, NY 12550.

St. George’s Cemetery  is located at 147 Washington Street in Newburgh.

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