Page images

of the town, in charge of a committee that was to have the superintendence of the enclosure, attend to the disposal of family lots, and to all the duties that such charge would imply. Leonard M. Parker, 2d, Jerome Gardner and William M. Park constituted this committee.

It was subsequently found necessary to enlarge the area of this cemetery ; and it was accordingly decided that the selectmen should be deputed to purchase such additional territory as the exigencies of the case required, and to have the whole enclosed by a fence composed of stone posts and wooden rails. But before the fence was erected the wooden rails were substituted by iron, at the suggestion of Mr. N. C. Munson, who has ever been ready, both by his counsel and his purse, to aid in the public improvements of the town. This liberal benefactor of the people's interests was at the entire expense of that part of the inclosure that separates the grounds from the highway,—the front fence of the cemetery, which includes the gateway of the public entrance. Such is the solidity and beauty of the structure here erected by Mr. Munson, that it lays claim to a special description.

Its entire length, including the gates, is two hundred and fifty feet. It has a central concave curve, sixteen and one-half degrees, which includes the entrances, and which occupies sixty-three feet of the length of the structure. In the centre of this curve is a superb Gothic arch, of massive proportions, spanning a carriage entrance nine feet in width. Its columns rest on a granite basis, and it presents, in its gable, a neat trefoil device. It is crowned with a finial in the form of a cross. The height of the arch is twenty feet. On either side of it are entrances for foot passengers, each of which is four feet in width. These entrances are buttressed by columns that are surmounted by entablatures, ornamented with the cross of Jerusalem in bass-relief. The whole structure is supported by a granite foundation, deeply embedded in the ground. The columns, arches and entablatures are composed of Nova Scotia sand-stone, and are of such thorough workmanship as to defy the inroads of time for centuries. The

[graphic][merged small]

height of the side entrances from the plane to the crown of the entablatures is twelve feet. The gates are of iron, and of substantial construction. . Instead of planting memorials of coeval date in the corner-stone or basement of the work, they have found a place in a cavity of the key-stone or apex; thus reversing the order by which the frail records of an existing age may be preserved for the use or curiosity of a distant generation.

From the abutments of the curve which forms the centre of the structure, lines of granite wall are extended ninety-three feet each way, completing the front enclosure of the cemetery. These walls are capped with sandstone, and both make a height of three feet, on the top of which is a balustrade of iron, four feet high. The united height of the wings, therefore, amounts to seven feet.

The entire expense of this lasting and highly ornamental structure was over $5,000. Beneath the consecrated soil, thus protected, are buried the remains of the honored father of the donor, and there, too, sleep the ashes of six dear children. The structure will in all time remain a memorial of the taste and generosity of its founder, and an ornament to the town.

Both of the cemeteries in the town have been supplied with receiving-tombs, built of granite and finished in the most substantial and workmanlike manner. That in the old cemetery is supplied with a massive door of bronze, presented to the town by Thomas Edwin Whitney, on which is engraved the following pertinent inscription, taken from the prophetic records of the Old Testament: "Seek Him that turneth the shadow of death into the


The cost of this structure was nearly three hundred dollars. Mr. Whitney expended over two hundred dollars additional, in laying out the grounds on the new part of the old cemetery, and in erecting a wall on its southeastern boundary.

Down to the year 1817 the town had been without a hearse, or any special convenience by which the dead could

be conveyed to the place of sepulture. At the annual town-meeting of the above-named year, an unavailing attempt was made to supply this very important defect. The attempt was renewed at the next town-meeting, which occurred in one month, with better success. It was then voted that a hearse be procured, and that a proper building be erected for its storage. This was but a small matter, yet it was one step in the right direction. The building and the hearse served the inhabitants of the town for the space of twenty-eight years, when both became so much worn and antiquated as to be unfit for further use; accordingly, the house was demolished and a new and improved one was made in its place, and a new and (what were in that day called) an elegant carriage and harness were prepared for burial purposes at the manufactory of Harvey A. Woods & Co. The expense of the building was eighty-eight dollars, and the cost of the hearse and harness was one hundred and fifty dollars.

After a use of twenty-seven years, of this apparatus for burial purposes, it was found to have fallen behind the existing age of improvements, and that it must be superseded by something better adapted to the times. Accordingly a new hearse was voted into existence, in 1872, at an expense of four hundred and fifty dollars.

Soon after the new cemetery at the South Village was opened, it was found inconvenient to depend upon the undertaker in the centre of the town to superintend burials two miles distant, so that a second official was appointed, and a second hearse was procured to meet the new demand; but this outfit lasted but a few years before it was regarded as past its season of fit appearance, and was supplanted by the one in present use in 1873. The two hearses were purchased at a cost of nine hundred dollars.

This chapter appears to be an appropriate place to insert a record of the deaths that have occurred from year to year, so far as such record has been preserved, since the town has been incorporated. It is greatly to be regretted that in most New-England towns, for the first

« PreviousContinue »