One of the four active cemeteries in Brooksville, this cemetery was created behind the Union non-denominational Church around the turn of the 20th century when Cynthia Blake; Carrie Gray and others rode around town in a buggy collecting donations for its establishment. The initial inhabitants were brought in from several private burial grounds around town. For example, Blakes buried originally near Bayside Lodge (or at least their headstones) were moved here. Perhaps this group included the stones for early settlers Israel and Hephzibah Blake, husband and wife born in the 1700's.
"In the olden days" i.e. the 1800's, epitaphs were sometimes pre-carved on stones that could be ordered from Boston. These were quite expensive, costing as much as a years' salary. (No wonder many old graves in town are unmarked, or marked only with a simple fieldstone!) These old inscriptions, while expressing heartfelt and appropriate sentiment, also are somewhat generic in character. This cemetery has its share of such stones, and you will fund the epitaphs faithfully transcribed in Volume II of Cemeteries of Brooksville, Maine published by the Brooksville Historical Society.
There are several modem stones of unique character here. One belongs to James Farr, who became a French teacher under the inspiration of his teacher, Mrs. Walker, who escaped France just before the Nazi invasion. Farr was trained at the Sorbonne. His epitaph reads in French on one side, with a translation on the reverse: "Here lies James B. Farr, son of Lynwood A. and Lura A. Farr, born July 11,1946 whose ashes are shared between this plot and Chamonix, France.''
Mr. Farr is still alive. You will notice that many, many stones in this cemetery have birth dates, but no death dates. In most cases, this is because the person is still living. Occasionally it is because the descendants have yet to inscribe the date.
Another unique modem stone belongs to a Howard who died after our cemetery book was compiled. His inscription reads "It is better to be shot out of a cannon than to he squeezed through a tube." The meaning of this mysterious epitaph is partially deciphered by tracing the statement to an article about motorcycles written by Hunter S. Thompson! It has always been possible to be tucked away on Cape Rosier and still quite tuned in to the modem world.
It was the custom in the old days for a widow who remarried to be buried beside her first husband. For example, among the many Grays, John B. (who died in 1914) married Mary
McDonald, and when he died she married Alonzo Sanborn. Mr. Sanborn is buried in Lakeview cemetery but Mary is here, next to John, her name inscribed as Mary D. Sanborn.
It was fairly common for widowers to remarry and be buried with, two (or more) wives by their side. This is the case with Fred Carver. He and his first wife Etta had three children, all of whom died young, with the last, Ada, outliving her mother by a few years. Fred's second wife, Amelia, who took care of Ada, is buried next to Etta. Upon the death of Ada, Fred and Amelia left Cape Rosier for Hog Island, where they built a house and took in "rusticators" - travel by boat in those days was much easier than travel over land. Near his grave is a "scotch" rose bush that also grows, in two other places: Hog Island, and his former homestead on Cape Rosier. We have not found this particular rose elsewhere.
Often, family plots contain the remains of faithful servants. That's the case, with the small, simple stone of Jessie Tattnall, one of the very few (if not the only) black person ever buried in Brooksville. She was a beloved governess and friend of the Emerson family, and died in 1968
There are quite, a few bachelors here. One of historical interest was Ed Collins (1860-1953), a master builder of ship models, one of which (the Red Jacket) is in the Historical Society museum. His mother was Rebecca Redman, born in 1832. (She in turn was a daughter of Francis and Rebecca Redman, who are buried over the hill to the south, in the Carver Cemetery.) Next to his stone, we have placed a scanned photo of him in his harbor side shop. Another bachelor of recent memory was Jarvis Green, who died in 1960. He used to ride a bicycle with a large front tire and small rear tire. His unusual fieldstone echoes the much smaller, but equally rustic, stone that marks his mother's grave nearby. Jarvis was the subject of a poem titled "The Hermit of Cape Rosier" by one of the nation's Poet Laureates, summer resident Daniel Hoffman, whose wife Elizabeth (also a poet) is buried here.
The graves of Girard and Elizabeth Condon are covered by a most unusual moss or lichen, found nowhere else in the cemetery. The reason for this remains a mystery. Girard Condon's house on Coastal Road was donated to the Historical Society and is presently being refurbished as a Farmhouse Museum.
Most cemeteries in the United States bury their dead "in a Christian manner." This means that all bodies are laid with the head pointing west and the feet pointing east. There is an active Cemetery Association for Evergreen, which has adopted various rules, one of which is that new headstones and footstones shall face East/West and be in alignment with existing stones in that section of the cemetery. Another rule is that a person must be a native descendant of Brooksville or a resident for 10 years to buy a lot at the standard rate. Non-residents may buy a lot, but at twice the price. The association's president is Kip Leach, our Selectman, and the treasurer is Helen Condon.
Brooksville Historical Society
Cape Roser, Hancock County, Maine
Also known as Union Chapel Cemetery, Cape Rosier Unitarian Church & Cemetery, "Our Little Church Cemetery" (Blake Genealogy)