On my recent family history trip to New England, I visited several Massachusetts graveyards that are permanent home to some of my Puritan ancestors. Since I was tromping over the grass in broad daylight, the surroundings were not as spooky as you might imagine, but I find them endlessly interesting.
The oldest graveyard that I visited is the Rutland Old Cemetery, where burials ceased in the early 1800s. The cemetery is located on the north side of Massachusetts 122A, the main road through Rutland Massachusetts (Cradle of Ohio), beside the library.
These two stones seem to be huddled together for comfort.
The first Rutland Cemetery was laid out in 1717, and 18th and early 19th century stones are in amazingly good shape. If you can’t read an inscription, you can turn to Monumental Inscriptions in the Old Cemetery in Rutland, Worchester County, Massachusetts, published in 1902.
Some are covered by lichen, or worn by age, or have sunk into the ground.
Some have unfamiliar language. “relict” in this case means “widow”.
Another very old cemetery shelters early settlers of Sudbury Massachusetts. The North Cemetery has graves going back to the 1600s. The Cemetery lies along Sudbury Road in Wayland (which was East Sudbury until 1835). This is the site of the 2nd Sudbury Meeting House, includes a cemetery for Indians, and a gate connects it to one of Sudbury’s Jewish cemeteries.
These two have been joined together by the tree that grew up between them, and enfolded one of them in its ridges.
Many tombstones in Sudbury and Rutland have the simple line drawing of a face that you can see on the ones above. Others have slightly more elaborate illustrations of urns with decorative leaves and flowers. But my favorite thing is reading the poetry.
Happy Halloween. Why not spend your Halloween in Graveyards?