Keith Cemetery (South St. Cemetery), Bridgewater, MA

First stop along the way was the South Street Cemetery, also known as the Keith Cemetery, is a fine example of older New England cemeteries. A round driveway cuts through it. The oldest burial seems to be from 1756, as Joseph Harvey’s epitaph states he was the first to be buried in the cemetery.

In memory of Mr. Joseph Harvey, 2d,
who died Feb. 21, 1756,
in ye 36th year of his age;
being ye first person buried here.
And also in memory of Mr. Seth Harvey, his son,
who died at New York, July 25, in ye 24th year of his age, 1776,
in the glorious cause of liberty.

Yet the land itself was not officially deeded to be a cemetery until 1772, according to Latham. It seems to be common in these older grounds that cemeteries would spring up as they were convenient, allowing the legalities of the property ownership to fall later into place.

The cemetery has a number of interesting epitaphs, spanning from the 18th century

Note an interesting comparison at the outlook of death:
From 1794, a focus still on the mortality of the body, and the ultimate will of God:
Here lies Lucy, wife of Mr. Eleazer Cary,
who died Apr. 29, 1795, in the 30th year of her age.
How loved, how well done avails thee not;
To whom related, or by whom begot;
A heap of dust alone remains of thee;
‘Tis all thou art, and all the proud shall be.

Here in 1851, however, grief of a young husband is permanently etched,:
Charlotte L., wife of George H. Gurney,
daughter of Isaac and Betsey W. Packard,
died June 5, 1851, in her 21st year.
Could I but see that dear departed,
My soul would gain relief,
I should not then be broked hearted,
Bourne down with tears and grief.
O cruel death! why did you sever
The tie that made us one?
And hide her from my eyes forever,
Tell me, why was it done?

And I shall end with an alternative version to that preferred epitaph:
In memory of Mrs. Susan H., wife of Zephaniah Keith, died Apr. 6, 1824, æt. 41.
Come, living friends, see where I lie,
Remember you are born to die;
But be prepared for death and heaven
Is all for which the longest life is given.

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