In 2014, the Robert Green Ingersoll Memorial Committee, custodian of the Ingersoll Birthplace Museum, reached out to local historians in Cazenovia, New York, in hopes of finding the grave of Mary Livingston Ingersoll, Robert Green Ingersoll's mother.
Two years after Robert Ingersoll's birth in 1833, his father, the abolitionist minister Rev. John Ingersoll, took an ill-paid position as a preacher in Cazenovia. Mary, John's wife and Robert’s mother, died on December 2, 1835. Rev. Ingersoll could not afford a proper burial. Luther Myrick, a fellow abolitionist preacher at the Free Church, offered a grave site on his family plot in South Cemetery, then a private graveyard. Mary Livingston was buried in an unmarked grave. In March 1836, Rev. Ingersoll and his four children moved on to another liberal church, the Congregational church at Hampton (now Westmoreland, in Oneida County). With time, knowledge of the location of Mary’s grave was lost.
Examination of old records revealed the role of Myrick, whose family plot lay due west of a large, unmarked potters field. (The cemetery, located on Number Nine Road about two miles south of the Village of Cazenovia, is now owned and operated by the Town of Cazenovia.)
The Myrick family plot was carefully surveyed and staked. On December 23, 2015, the plot was examined using ground-penetrating radar. Alongside the parallel graves of two of Luther Myrick's sons, a third, unmarked burial, was located.
Presumably, the exact resting place of Mrs. Ingersoll had been found.
On Memorial Day (May 30), 2016, a newly commissioned gravestone was dedicated on the site. Mary Livingston Ingersoll’s resting place bore a proper memorial for the first time in 181 years.
The Freethought Trail thanks Cazenovia town historian Sara Chevako, Cazenovia highway superintendent and South Cemetery sexton Timothy Hunt, Cazenovia town clerk Connie Sunderman, and Mark Manzari of New York Leak Detection, which donated use of the radar equipment.