Thomastown Cemetery, Middleborough, MA

3/27/06

The Thomastown Cemetery was formed in 1806. It lies on Purchase Street, near the border of Carver, and is long and rectangular in shape, with a chain-link fence surrounding it. The cemetery is still in use, and has a wide variety of shapes and sizes for the monuments.

The visit was in part to seek further for the Middleboro Ramsdells, to no success.

However, it did boast several stones with one of my favorite symbols:

There are several versions of this symbol, but the most heavy-handed of them always make me smile. The finger pointing above is fairly blunt to begin with, but when a sign is included above the hand, as is the case here with Angeline, that says HEAVEN, it certainly brings home the point.

A few interesting symbols on some children’s stones:
Dove and broken stem flower

A very stark broken stem flower – life cut short

Sleeping lamb figure:

More Middleborough searches to follow…

Burial Hill, Plymouth, MA

Went on a visit today to the Pilgrim Hall Museum, then took a stroll through downtown Plymouth and ended up at Burial Hill, overlooking Plymouth Harbor. Nearby Cole’s Hill has the monument which always comes to mind: “ The Monument marks the First Burying Ground in Plymouth of the passengers of the Mayflower. Here under cover of darkness the fast dwindling company laid their dead, leveling the earth above them lest the Indians should know how many were the graves.” Cole’s Hill also has the large statue of Massasoit, as well as a sarcophagus which holds the bones of Pilgrims which periodically wash out from the hill, due to rains and erosion. (My mind always excites at notions of performing DNA testing on these bones!) Here’s a good description of Cole’s Hill and its significance.

Burial Hill, however, is separate and was once the main location for Plymouth’s fort. The oldest stone is 1681. James Deetz did much research in Plymouth, and wrote much about the area.

The main entrance to Burial Hill is well-marked:

A broad brick walkway leads up the Hill:

Here is a sketch from 1853 of Burial Hill:

(Bartlett, The Pilgrim Fathers (London: Arthur Hall, Virtue & Co., 1853))

And my contemporary view of the Harbor:

Burial Hill was the site of the first fort, as well as the powder house towards the back end, where another entrance is. It is also filled with many of the famous Pilgrims of the Mayflower and their descendants.

William Bradford’s obelisk:

John Howland:

Burial Hill is steeped in history and Pilgrim lore, and the town of Plymouth knows it well. The place is sprinkled with an array of signs, plaques, and monuments from clubs and organizations marking places of importance and people of significance within the cemetery. For all of its touristy nature, however, it still makes for a fun experience.

Warrentown Cemetery, Middleborough, MA

Am on a mission to find the burial location of the Ramsdells of Middleboro, circa late 1700-1800s. I know one set (John and Sarah Ramsdell) are buried in Lakeville (a field trip for another day!) but thus far finding John’s parents Seth and Soviah, as well as John and Sarah’s children has been a difficult task. Middleboro records do not seem to list the burial location of John and Sarah’s son (another John), who married Maria Jones of Virginia. John and Maria had a large family, with several children who died in middle childhood – old enough, I hypothesize, for their own gravestones, thus warranting a family plot.

Thus has begun a quest to wander through Middleboro cemeteries in hopes of finding them. John and Maria lived on Plain Street, in North Middleboro Street, called the “Lowlands” off of Thompson Street. (Hoping to find some records that the Ramsdell kiddos attended the East Middleboro school house, which was probably the closest school house to their home – the thought that they went to the tiny schoolhouse to learn, and now more than one hundred years later used by us every year for the East Middleboro Fair and countless 4H events is lovely! )

So I began today with the Warrentown Cemetery, as that seems to be the closest to their home. No luck though! But Thomas, Tucker, Vaughn, Washburn, Clap, Cushman surnames were aplenty, although the cemetery itself is not very large. A surprisingly low number of old Warrens, however, considering the neighborhood name! Set right along the road across from a cranberry bog, it was easy to access.

A view from the road:

A view from the graveyard looking to the bog:

Many veteran flags adorned the stones, which were mostly white granite and some slate. An interesting stone was set in the far back left corner though, beyond the marker for the yard. A tall polished granite monument, its shape was of a square tilted on a point, and it read :
IN MEMORY OF CHARLES ANDREW DRAFTS
DROWNED IN THE NEMASKET RIVER, MIDDLEBORO MA
APRIL 21, 1894

Here is the stone:

The Ramsdell quest continues…

Nemasket Hill Cemetery, Middleborough, MA

Took the kids this afternoon to the Nemasket Hill Cemetery in Middleboro, although we arrived right before dusk and did not get much of a chance to linger.

The cemetery’s oldest stone is from 1662, although it looks like a much more modern rural cemetery, for it has expanded greatly and has long winding pathways around a hilly landscape.

The Nemasket River runs along its back end:

The cemetery holds many of Middleboro’s oldest families, including the Tomsons (more recently called Thompson, who have a street and more named in their honor in Middleboro)

John Thompson’s original grave:

His wife, Mary Cooke’s modern grave, sponsored by her descendants (made to mimick John’s):

The holding tomb:

Overall, the cemetery was very pleasant to look at, and certainly made for leisurely strolling. Old stones are interspersed with new stones, and the cemetery is feels secluded, filled with many trees.