Forest City Cemetery, International

14 Jul 2014 4:52 PM | Debi Curry (Administrator)
At the entrance to the present day cemetery is a monument consisting of three granite grinding wheels salvaged from the old Grist Mill set on a concrete base with a plaque reading "In memory of Dr. Lyman A Lydic, 1978". Flags of both countries fly overhead.

To provide a historical framework for this unique cemetery, we offer the following background from a letter sent by retired funeral director, John A. Lowry, to Dr. Hilda M. Fife in October of 1970:

As nearly as can be determined, the land on which the Forest Cemetery is placed was part of a crown grant from King George of England to one Hill, about 1829.  This grant contained nearly all of what is now known as North Lake Parish in the Province of New Brunswick.  The work entailed in following title through a period of more than eighty years was dropped for the present time.  Title has been traced back to 1892, at which time the cemetery was in existence.  The earliest burial record was in 1869.

Before the International boundary was finally legally established and ratified in 1924, Forest City was really one village.  It came into being as a result of a tannery being established on the headwaters of the St Croix River and was about equally settled on both sides of the river.  At some time, and no date is available, a cemetery was started on the Maine side of the river.  In a short time this was abandoned and the original burials all moved.  Again, no date is available.  Since that time, the cemetery in Forest City, N.B. has served both communities.

In 1966, Dr. Lyman A. Lydic who was born in Forest City, Maine, retired from the practice of medicine in Dayton, Ohio, and built a home in Forest City, Maine.  The cemetery was in the state that most rural cemeteries are, with a few people taking care of their own lots, and the rest growing up to hay and hawkweed.  Through his efforts, the Forest City Cemetery Association was formed.  It now numbers about 80 members who assess themselves $5 per year to maintain and improve the cemetery.  The local members gather at necessary times to rake leaves, paint fences, and do the little things that are necessary.  A caretaker has been hired to do the weekly maintenance.  The cemetery has been graded, fertilized, and seeded, fences painted, new gates purchased and installed.  This summer, a sign of design in keeping with the situation of the cemetery has been erected, proclaiming this to be the Forest City Cemetery, International.  As in most rural cemeteries, there are many unmarked and unknown graves.  This year metal grave markers have been purchased and eventually all of these graves will be marked.

An unusual feature of this cemetery is that no lots are sold.  It is for the use of any person living in the community who wishes to be buried there.  And in most cases friends or neighbors open the graves and clean up the debris.  There is no fee for the lot or for the future maintenance.  Naturally we are glad to have everybody become a member of the Association, but it is not required.

The International scope becomes very interesting to me, for in forty years of funeral work, I never encountered another. 

John A. Lowry

Dedicated to the Preservation of Maine's Neglected Cemeteries since 1968.
Maine Old Cemetery Association, PO Box 641, Augusta, ME 04332-0641
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