Thursday, July 5, 2007

First Parish Cemetery, Newbury Massachusetts

After a long drive down Route 1A to Swampscott, we came back the same way and stopped at First Parish Cemetery in Newbury around 3:00pm. So far I’ve found (after several tries) that’s been the best time to get the light on the face of the gravestones.

Newbury once included Newburyport, West Newbury, parts of Rowley and Byfield. This particular cemetery hosts some of the towns earliest and most prestigious founders. Members and founders in America of the Stickney, Chase, Lunt, Coffin, Sewall, Dole and many others. Too bad its such a mess.

There are several stones here from the 1670’s-1740’s, all carved by early Boston artisans. One of the more interesting stones belongs to Henry Sewell:

MR HENRY SEWALL SENT BY
MR HENRY SEWALL, HIS FATHER
IN Ye SHIP ELISABETH & DORCAS
CAPT WATTS COMMANDER
ARRIVED AT BOSTON 1634
WINTERD AT IPSWICH HELPD
BEGIN THIS PLANTATION 1635
FURNISHING ENGLISH SERVANTS
NEAT CATTEL & PROVISIONS
MARRIED MRS JANE DUMMER
MARCH Ye 25, 1646
DIED MAY Ye 16, 1700
ÆTAT. 86 HIS FRUITFULL
VINE, BEING THUS DISJOIND,
FELL TO Ye GROUND JANUARY
Ye 13 FOLLOWING; ÆTAT 74
PSAL · 27 · 10

and Judeth Coffin, virtuous wife of Deacon Tristram Coffin, Esq., who lived to see 177 of her own children and grandchildren.

Many of the older stones were made of Schist and are deteriorating. And of course the 19th century marble and limestone stones are melting away. There are some broken stones but not a large amount by comparison.

The biggest problem seems to be the landscaping. Its tended too rarely. And although I’m happy they’re saving the monuments from weed wacker scars, the grass and plant-life are certainly taking over.

The newest photos can be seen at the end of the gallery at http://gravematter.smugmug.com/gallery/937112 or go to the index page at http://www.gravematter.com/cem-ma-newbury2.asp

First Congregational Church Cemetery, Kittery Point, Maine

Sunday I took a trip across the bridge up Route 103 to revisit the First Congregational Church Cemetery in Kittery Point, ME. The drive itself is a common one for me on weekends, but it had been a while since I had photographed that cemetery and since I wasn’t happy with the quality of the photos so I decided to replace them.

If I had an award to give any town or caretaker for cemetery upkeep and beautification, it would be this one. This particular cemetery does have the advantage of being in a picturesque location. It rests on a sharp bend overlooking the ocean where it meets Portsmouth Harbor.

It’s neighboring structures add to the antique quaintness as well. Across the street stands the First Congregational Church, established in 1714 with the original parsonage in the back and on the opposite site of the street is the gorgeous Georgian-style Lady Pepperell Mansion, built about 1760.

To add to the already teeming beauty of the area, they’ve added a large memorial garden that was full of blooms and butterflies. The flowers were carefully arranged around large granite boulders and a slate-stone path, which was the same color as many of the older slate gravestones.

And not only was the grass well kept, they had a sprinkler going to compete with the lack of rain lately.

As for the occupants, we have the Whipples, the Crew of the brig Hattie Eaton, the husband and family of author Celia Laighton Thaxter, and many Civil War and Revolutionary War veterans.

This burying ground gets an A+. To view the main page of this gallery, visit http://www.gravematter.com/cem-ma-kittery.asp.