Today I ventured out to a abandoned little-known cemetery in Hanson, MA, the “Hobart Cemetery”. My father had mentioned its location to me, and I had seen several passing references to it in my readings. When I headed out early in the morning, it was pouring, but I was looking forward to the adventure of trekking out into the woods and finding it’s location, not worried too much about the fact that taking decent photos would be impossible. After a few errands and a half hour drive, the rain had lessened to a drizzle, but I was still glad I had on long warm clothes and my boots.
I parked along the side of the road when I saw a sign marking a water supply for the town, since this was one of my only references for the graveyard’s general location. I had also been told that it was “up on a hill in the woods” in the general area away from the main road. So I parked and with camera and notebook in hand, started hiking. Sure enough, after a few minutes, I could see a few old rock posts marking the outlines of a small cemetery. Someone must remember about this little graveyard’s existence, because there was a thin line of string attached to all of the old posts. That must have been the extent of preservation attempts however, because sadly all of the stones within were knocked down, several broken with pieces nearby, and some pieces missing entirely.
I saw evidence of approximately 10 stones, and luckily almost all of them were still readable. The earliest stones were the family HOBART, along with some later stones of HARDING, SHERMAN, HATHAWAY, and RIDER. As I began taking a few shots with my digital camera, I realized I lucked out – taking photos of gravestones which are lying on the ground is one of the trickiest things to do, since the light never falls on it properly – but since it had just poured, the water had filled all of the carvings and made the writing seem to pop out clearly in my photos.
I quickly jotted down the epitaphs I could read, and was about to take a look at them more in-depth when a huge noise disturbed the peaceful quiet of the rainswept hilltop – a bullhorn shouting “WHOEVER IS IN THESE WOODS, COME OUT WITH YOUR HANDS UP! I REPEAT, LEAVE THE WOODS NOW AND WALK SLOWLY TOWARDS ME! THIS IS THE SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT!”
Why would the sheriff’s department be calling me out? I packed up my small amount of gear and walked down out of the forest to a clearing where I saw an armed officer standing there, looking apparently surprised to see a young blonde woman stepping out instead of a terrorist trying to poison the town’s water supply. I slowly walked up to him, and as I explained the situation, he was first baffled – he had never heard of a cemetery back there, only the water supply which is much deeper in the woods. I was gruffly asked to leave the area, and then he drove off. Yikes. I guess I shouldn’t have parked so obviously near the sign post on the road! I never even thought about it. Will play it smart next time, and park in a strip mall’s lot =)
Quite the adventure! My next post will have the epitaphs listed, and some preliminary research I did on the genealogy of each of the people in the graveyard.