Inside the Gates

Inside the Gates focuses on historical and/or anecdotal articles about our old cemeteries.  

Contact Debi Curry to submit an article for consideration and/or suggest a topic.

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  • 13 Jun 2014 4:30 PM | Debi Curry (Administrator)

    October 8th, 1829, Maine's Governor Enoch Lincoln died in Augusta. He was buried after a formal state funeral, Thursday, October 15th, in a tomb on the public grounds, now Capitol Park, opposite the State House, then under construction.

    Early Burying Grounds

    1786: The committee on burying-grounds reported that Abishai Cowen would give a lot eight by ten rods on the west side of the road on his land; and Samuel Cummings one six by eight rods on the Winthrop road for burying-grounds, which the town accepted. "Col. Howard was willing that people should bury at the fort burying-ground," but would give no title to the land.
    James W. North's History of Augusta, 1870, P. 201.

    Burnt Hill Burying Ground

    In November of this year [1802], Joseph and Hannah North gave to the inhabitants of the South Parish about two acres of land for a parish burial-place. It was the lot now known as the old or "Burnt Hill" burying-ground on Winthrop street. Previously to this a few persons had been buried on their land where the town house was, and where Joseph Anthony's house now is, at the corner of Winthrop and Elm streets.
    James W. North's History of Augusta, 1870, P. 323.

    Forest Grove Cemetery

    Until this year (1835), the "Burnt Hill Burying Ground," given by Joseph and Hannah North to the South parish in 1802, was the largest place of burial in town, and contained originally but two acres, but it had been somewhat enlarged on the north and west by the addition of narrow strips, which were mostly owned by individuals who had laid it into private lots. On the 11th of February of this year (1835), some of the principal citizens obtained an act incorporating the "Forest Grove Cemetery," for the purpose of purchasing, holding and managing a lot of land, "not exceeding three acres," to be used exclusively for a cemetery for the dead. The corporation was organized, and a lot purchased of Bartholomew Nason, on the south side of Winthrop street, opposite the old burying ground. It was divided into lots by suitable streets and walks, and ornamented with forest trees. In June of the same year many of the lots were sold at an established price of twenty-five dollars each. Since, the grounds have been enlarged from time to time, lots graded and fenced with ornamental iron fences, permanent and expensive walls of stone erected around some of them, and elaborately wrought monuments of marble and granite placed on many. The lots are neatly laid out and beautified by rare flowers and shrubbery, and the natural beauty of the place has been greatly increased by persevering labor of art.
    James W. North's History of Augusta, 1870, Pp. 568-9.

    Mount Pleasant Cemetery

    A lot of land containing twelve acres was purchased by the city this year [1853] on the north side of Winthrop street, on the top of "Burnt Hill," of Vassall D. Pinkham, for a public cemetery. The lot cost twelve hundred dollars. It was accurately surveyed and lotted by George H. Vose, who made a large plan of his survey. Half of the land was subject to sale for family lots at the moderate sum of ten dollars per lot; the other half was devoted to public use for burials without charge for land. The cemetery was named "Mount Pleasant," from which hereafter "Burnt Hill" should take the name of "Mount Pleasant."
    James W. North's History of Augusta, 1870, P. 686.

    Riverside Cemetery

    The Riverside Cemetery near Pettingill's corner was purchased this year [1858]. It is on original lot number twenty-eight, west of Bangor street, and extends west from that street to the railroad. It contains five and three-fourths acres, and was purchased of the heirs of the late Charles Williams for the sum of five hundred and seventy-five dollars. The ground has been laid into conveniently shaped lots, which are sold for family burials at the sum of ten dollars each.
    James W. North's History of Augusta, 1870, P. 706.

  • 01 Jun 2014 3:43 PM | Debi Curry (Administrator)

    To carry out the ancient custom of having a cemetery in close proximity to the meeting house, the town voted, in 1806, to "appropriate and relinquish for a "Burying ground" a portion of the land given by Lady Temple, on which the church stood. The lot as bounded lay east of the town house. Later it was voted to change the location to the present site, on account of the wet condition of the land. Several bodies which had been buried in the low land were taken up and re-interred, near the street, in the new cemetery.

    The first victim that the "grim messenger" selected from among the settlers was a child of Thomas Gray. It was buried on Gray's land, near the Wales line, and surrounding its grave quite a plot was set aside as a burying lot. From twenty-five to thirty bodies were interred there; but as the drift of population extended northward, it became necessary to have a cemetery more centrally located.

    A spot on the east side of the Wales road, nearly opposite the residence of George L. King, was selected. The land was owned by General Dearborn, and, from an article found in the records of an adjourned meeting held April 23, 1787, to the effect that "Benjamin Dearborn be overseer to keep the obligation that shall be drawn and signed to fence and clear the burying-ground, and to see that the work is done," we are led to infer that he gave the land to the town, inasmuch as a committee was chosen, at the meeting held twenty-one days earlier, "to consult Col. Dearborn in relation to the burying-place." Not far from one hundred bodies were buried on the spot. Some of these were re-interred in the new cemetery at the Center, but many still lie beneath the soil that is now put to a common use.

    On Monmouth Neck, on the south side of the highway, opposite the school house, several bodies were buried. These graves have been ploughed over time and again.

    On Norris Hill is a burying lot where many of the Kimballs, Ballous and others of the early inhabitants of that section were laid to rest. A large portion of these graves are marked by substantial headstones.

    Cemeteries were established at a comparatively early date on the Ridge, at North and South Monmouth, on Pease hill, Stevens hill, the Neck, in the Lyon district and in the Richardson district, north of the academy.

    The one on Stevins hill, which for many years was allowed to run wild, was cleared of its scrub growth a few years ago and the graves of many of the first settlers of Blaketown brought to light. For a number of years the cemeteries on the outskirts of the town have been sadly neglected.

    Illustrated History of Kennebec County, Harry Hayman Cochrane
    Edited by Henry D. Kingsbury and Simeon L. Deyo, 1892, p. 775

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