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opened an office for the practice of medicine and surgery in Haverhill, which proved to him a life settlement, as he remained there until his death.

A notice of him appeared in a medical journal, a quotation from which is here inserted : "Nature had bestowed her favors upon him with a liberal hand. She had given him a large and well-developed physical frame, a fine form and commanding appearance. He was also endowed with high mental qualities, quick perception, retentive memory, an ardent love of truth, and every social quality. He did not neglect his talents. By observation, study and experience, he cultivated his intellectual powers, and acquired a fund of knowledge and strength of judgment which fitted him for that high position which he attained as a citizen and physician.”

He took elevated rank in his profession and his death was considered an irreparable loss by those families whose medical counsellor he had been for almost half a century. There is a singular coincidence in his history,—his first patient was also his last. His last professional visit occurred but a few days before his own death.

As a citizen he took a lively interest in the affairs of the town, and an active part in everything pertaining to its general welfare and prosperity. He was a member of several corporate bodies, and was distinguished for his business ability. For many years he was president of the institution for savings, as he was also president of the Merrimac Bank at the time of his decease. The heads of these institutions, together with the members of the Masonic fraternity—with which he was also connected—followed his remains to their final resting-place. He died March 12, 1855.


Burying-Ground Training-Field — New Cemetery

Hearses— Town TombsRecord of Deaths.

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All considerate persons seem to regard the ground which holds the dust of departed friends, and the place where their own mortal remains are expected to moulder, as next in sacredness to the spot on which stands their altar of religious worship. Hence it was almost universally common with the early settlers of New England, to lay out their cemeteries for the dead in as close contiguity with their churches as circumstances would permit. This custom, so adverse to modern taste, was adopted by the early settlers of Shirley.

Before the incorporation of the town those that died within its territory were probably interred in the centre of Groton, the parent town.

But one of its earliest movements, after it became a distinct municipality, was to select a place for the burial of the dead near the centre of the district.”

In September, 1753, it was "voted that Jonathan Gould, Samuel Walker, Jonathan Moors, William Longley, and Jarathmeel Powers be a committee to find a centre for the district, and to find a burying-place.”

As near as can be ascertained from the town records, this committee reported a place nearly one-half a mile north of the spot afterwards chosen, and where the old or first burying enclosure now is. It was nearly opposite the school-house in District No. I, and adjoining the first meeting-house lot.

Here, says tradition, a few bodies were deposited. But subsequent measures, which have never found a place of record, go to prove that this locality was soon abandoned, and the one which has ever since been a place of sepulture was adopted. Burials were commenced here within one year from the incorporation of the town. A large slate-stone bearing the following inscription marks the place of the first grave: "This stone is erected in memory of the first buried in this yard, Abraham Holden, son of Lieut. Simon Holden, and Mrs. Sarah, his wife, who died April 18th, 1754, aged 11 months.”

It appears that the land thus consecrated to a sacred purpose belonged to the "Proprietors of Groton,”—a company formed of the original grantees of the territory of Groton,—for at a meeting of said "proprietors,” nearly a year after the date of the above-named death, a proposal was made to give the town of Shirley a piece of land for a * burying-place, where their burying-place now is.” Now whether this association had learned that an infringement had been made on their property, in thus appropriating a plot of uninvested ground to the object just named, and so concluded to convey what would be needed by legal forms; or, whether an application was made by the inhabitants of Shirley, for a conveyance of the spot which they had already begun to occupy, cannot now be known; certain it is that a gift of land was voted for this purpose to the town of Shirley ,—and extracts from the " proprietors'” records in relation to it are here inserted.

The first extract is an article in the warrant for a meeting of the "proprietors,” to be holden March 7, 1755. The warrant bears date, Feb. 17, 1755.

" 4'5. To see if the Proprietors will give the district of Shirley a peace of land (if [it] is now common) for a burying-place, where there burying-place now is, and say how much, &c."

Our second extract is from the records of said meeting :

41% Voted to ye District of Shirley four acres of land (where there burying-place now is) for a burying-place and a training-field, in said district, and that ye Proprietors' committee be directed to lay out the same, providing it doth not infringe upon any former particular grant.

JAMES Prescott, Pro* Clerk.”

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Our third extract is from the book of "laying out, &c.":

"Shirley, April 17, 1755. Then we, the subscribers, pursuant to ye vote of ye Proprietors of Groton, have laid out a peace of land for a burying-place, &c., in ye district of Shirley, and bounds as followeth : beginning at the northwest corner, at a chestnut tree, thence ye line runs southerly twenty-eight poles, to a red-oak tree, thence easterly twenty-four poles, to a red oak, thence northerly twenty-eight poles to a ded white-oak tree, thence westerly twenty-four poles to ye chestnut first mentioned; the same peace of land contains four acres and sixteen poles.



BENJA PARKER, "True extracts,-attest, CALEB BUTLER, Prop'" Clerk.

Groton, March 15, 1839.”

This generous gift from the "Proprietors of Groton ” was responded to by the inhabitants of Shirley by the following vote, passed in a public town meeting convened for the purpose :

"Voted to chuse a committee to return thanks to the Proprietors of Groton, for a Piece of land for [a] buryingplace and other uses. Lieut. Powers, Mr. Samuel Walker, Mr. Richard Herington, Capt. Harris, Ensign Walker, was chosen for said committee."

At the time the above grant was made, a place for military trainings was considered almost as essential as a cemetery for the dead; and hence, it is not surprising that the donors of the land provided for both purposes in their bequest to the town. The territory thus conveyed to Shirley -forming a square of four acres, as we have seen-has since, by some unknown means, been reduced to a smaller compass. Some have conjectured that this reduction was occasioned by the removal of the road on the west side of the lot. A more careful examination, however, of the facts in the case goes to prove that it was probably done by the destruction of the frail landmarks upon the east boundary. This supposition is strengthened by the fact that only the west part of the territory was needed or used, for the purpose of sepulture, for nearly half a century from the incorporation of the town; the remainder-as well as adjoining lands-being covered with a forest for the longest part of this period. Under the circumstances, how liable, a monument as unstable as a stake and stones, or even a tree, to disappear-together with all personal recollection of its precise locality. This whole matter, of the "grave-yard and training-field,” was thoroughly investigated by a committee appointed by the town in 1842, of which Hon. Leonard M. Parker was chairman. Mr. Parker made a very careful and elaborate report, which was entered upon the public records in the town clerk's office, and from which, the above statements were derived.

The land in question—as fully appears by the investigation alluded to—is wholly upon the east side of the road which runs north and south by the graveyard. And it is divided nearly in the centre by a road which passes through, east and west. That portion which is north of this road, and upon which the first-parish meeting-house now stands, has ever been an open common, and forms what constituted the training-field. The portion which is south of this road is a burying lot, and has been such during the existence of the town ; and, for nearly a century, was the only place used or needed for that purpose.

Until the year 1840, or about that period, this cemetery was much neglected. It was originally enclosed by a rail-fence, which in a few years perished as do all such frail structures. It was then surrounded by a coarse stone-wall, which remained, under certain dilapidations caused by the yearly frosts, until 1857; when the wall was removed, on the two sides that are bordered by roads, and a fence of split granite posts and iron rails was set up in its place.

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