First Parish Burying Ground

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I never pass the opportunity to visit older graveyards in the surrounding towns. The slate stones are still quite legible and many have stories to tell. The epitaphs on the limestone gravestones have eroded away, victims of acid rain.

This photo was taken behind the First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church in Ashby, Massachusetts.

Ashby First Parish Burying Ground by John Poltrack on
Leaning Stones


Three Deaths

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I found this grave at the Ashby First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church. It raised many questions for me. These children died in different years, why only one stone? Did the parents wait for the final death before erecting the stone? Did they not expect any of these children to be older than 4 (Abigail). Why did they die so young. I have questions but no answers.

Three Deaths by John Poltrack on
Three dead children


Bridge Street Cemetery

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We have stayed at rental property on a dead end street off of Bridge Street in Eastham. When I saw this cemetery I had to take a look around.  I can’t resist a New England Cemetery.

“This is the site of the third Eastham Congregational Church which was built about 1720 and served until 1830. The church probably was located near the center of the cemetery. The first Eastham meetinghouse built about 1650 was located at or near Cove Burying Ground. The second meetinghouse built about 1718 was located in the South Precinct of Eastham (now Orleans).”…

“Epidemic of 1816 – There are twenty one gravestones carrying 25 names of persons who died in 1816 mostly in February and March. An epidemic on the Lower Cape called the “cold plague” or “spotted fever” took fifty two lives in Eastham in 1816. Ashes and gases from the eruption of Mount Tambora in Indonesia in 1815 caused global cooling in 1816 which was known as the year without a summer.”…

Bridge Road Cemetery Handout



Bridge Road Cemetery, Eastham, MA
Bridge Road Cemetery, Eastham, MA
Bridge Street Cemetery
It is rare to see a skull and cross bones carving on a tombstone. Jonathan Doane (1780), a few rows behind Dorcas Shaw, displays a skull without wings and with large crossed bones. The carved image looks like a pirate flag. The gravestone is carved in the style of the Geyer carvers of Boston.
Merrick Doane
Merrick Doane “Youth oft in health and at its ease Looks for a day it never sees”


Over in the Summer Land

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I was greeted with a coating of wet snow this morning. Hopefully it won’t freeze into an impenetrable mess. I’m already growing weary of having to wear stabilicers when I take a morning walk.

Today’s photo theme is #CemeterySaturday. There are many interesting older graveyards in New Hampshire and I’m always on the lookout for interesting gravestones and epitaphs.


Over in the Summerland by John Poltrack on
Over in the Summer Land


East Cemetery by John Poltrack on


Gone Home by John Poltrack on