Ammon-Booth Cemetery, Lakeville, MA

Don’t let the title of this blog entry fool you – I did not intend to find the Ammon-Booth Cemetery today! I had gathered some of my lovely family members to go hiking through the woods of Lakeville off of Race Course Road, in search of the Ramsdell-Robbins Cemetery. Lambert and Thatcher both refer to the cemetery as being “set back in the bushes”, into the woods and away from the road. Maps online and printed also positioned it slightly past halfway to the west on the road, and certainly made it look like it’s location would be behind someone’s house.

The Ramsdell-Robbins Cemetery boasts several ancestors: John Ramsdell, his wife Sarah (nee Robbins) and her brother Samuel Robbins, who owned much of the land around Race Course Road – he sold some of the land to form the Mullein Hill Church, which is right around the corner. Lambert’s book puts the founding date as 1775, intriguing since Sarah died in 1848, Samuel in 1854, and John in 1856, and they are the only graves listed in Thatcher’s book.

So my brother dropped us off halfway down the road and with my mother and some siblings we hiked in the woods between some properties, hoping to come across the cemetery back in the woods.

We were hopeful when we came across a substantial path that trailed a distance behind the homes along the road (the houses themselves were also set back deep into the woods as well). We came upon this:

A stream with a concrete and stone small walking bridge set across it! Very beautiful, and odd to find it deep in the woods. We debated it’s construction date, and it’s intended purpose. Just to the right of the bridge was also:

No real ideas here on what this structure was intended for… currently it is being used as a compost holder. But the proximity of the bridge to the stone structure most certainly indicates they were built around the same time, and perhaps used in tandem.

We followed the trail for awhile, then split up and searched the woods, pushing through thorns and lots of overgrowth, to no avail. As we walked closer to a home, a bewildered woman called out to us (her dog was having a howling field day!) and we stated our purpose (I always enjoy seeing people’s responses to graveyard hunts… bafflement? enthusiasm? get off my property or I’ll use my shotgun!? … one never knows =) Although if a cemetery is on private property, one should always seek permission to explore and photograph it! But in this case, we had no idea where it was) In any case, the woman was nice and said that they owned the property all the way into the woods for 5 acres and had never seen a cemetery. So we trekked back to the road, puzzled. I called out to another neighbor if he knew of the location of the cemetery and he said we were on the wrong side of the road, and that a small cemetery was right across the street! So we excited crossed the road and soon found:

John Booth!? That rang a bell, I recalled a Booth cemetery in the area as well.. and sure enough, Thatcher lists:
Booth, John died 30 NOV 1802 in his 74th year
Booth, Lydia, wife of John, died 28 MAR 1784 in her 52nd year
Ammon, a Negro, belonged to Capt. William Canedy, 30 MAR 1778 in his 29th year.

The little cemetery is right along the road, although it is bushy and surrounded by trees. The only marked stone is John Booth’s, which has obviously been tended to (with a veteran’s flag) and he also received an updated gravestone. Lydia’s is nowhere to be seen, nor is Ammon’s.

However, it’s very possible that Ammon’s is:

Or a number of other large fieldstones nearby which look conspicuously placed, and therefore serving as unlabelled gravestones. Why was Ammon buried with Lydia, just a few years after her death, especially if he belonged to another man (Canedy?) Were they neighbors? Had the Booths formerly owned Ammon (although he was relatively young, but I am not sure of the rate of slave ownership turnover, especially in the north) Very interesting to consider.

As for the Ramsdell-Robbins Cemetery, I have sent an email to the Lakeville Historical Commission in hopes that someone there might know it’s exact location. We shall see!

Parish Burial Ground at the Green, Middleboro, MA

This afternoon Jubee and I grabbed some DQ and decided to spend our time as most other normal people do: walk through a graveyard nearby. As 105 was on the way, we pulled up along the cemetery and perused.

I had not been there in several years (has it really been seven years already!?), when it was one of the “field trips” in a New England Archaeology course I had with the wonderful Edward Gallagher. We had gone into the Congo church across the road (an exact replica, it seemed, to the Hanson Congo, and every other New England Congo Church!) Then we had explored the cemetery – it has a great many old stones, and lots of interesting carvings.

So today, I was happy to become reacquainted with the cemetery. From old slate to newer marble to newest granite, the cemetery is quite large, and still serves the Middleboro community. We stuck to the older sections, always my favorite. But perhaps my preference mimics the study of history in general – historians for the most part are not interested in the modern, but rather the past (About what time frame did your high school history classes go up to?). Yet with each successive generation comes a need to research the previous!

Sadly I had forgotten to bring my camera. But Jubee had pointed out that she was interested in finding poetry on stones, for she had been inspired after recently received an assignment to write an epitaph for an English class. I always love looking at gravestones from new approaches, so it was fun to seek out poetry.

I told her about the beloved epitaph oft-quoted by AGS’ers – “I told you I was sick!!”

There were many, many spiritual references. We searched around for paper and a pencil (usually staple goods in my purse), but only came up with our napkins from Dairy Queen.. so just jotted down a few.

Here’s a sad one for a young girl:
“See the lovely blooming flower
Fades and withers in an hour
So our transient comforts fly
Pleasures only bloom to die”

In addition, I was interested in some stones in the back right corner, many of which belonged to the Thompson family. They were large white marble stones, mostly 1800s, but they were stained a dark red color. Is there a significant amount of local iron ore in the stone? I would like to look more into where stone is quarried for local stones.

Richmond Cemetery, Lakeville, MA

The Richmond Cemetery, also known as the North Lakeville Cemetery, is on the corner of Taunton and Cross St. in Lakeville. The oldest stone seems to be from 1821. The cemetery itself is very neat, with some nice plantings and fresh flowers and veteran flags. It seems to be well cared for. The stones are mostly late 19th and early 20th century.

A view from Taunton Street… Richmond, Aldrich stones prominent:

Here are the some of the Richmonds, after which the cemetery is named…

Deacon Benjamin Richmond grave:

Prudence Richmond grave:

D. Frances and Amanda Dunham. Died Feb 7 and 8 1862. Daughters of Barnaba M. and Sarah S. Dunham. “A mother’s love still lingers round thy grave”

Miller family monument:

Benjamin and George Leonard. Both died in South Carolina, a year apart.

Drove down to this cemetery after the visit to the Tack Factory Cemetery, over the town line on Taunton Street in Middleboro.

A view from Cross Street of the cemetery:

Tack Factory Cemetery, Middleborough, MA

Went a few days ago to the Middleboro town hall to buy three death certificates, of 3 generations, hoping to find the burial site of the Ramsdells. Oswald Jones and his daughter Maria (Jones) Ramsdell’s certificates yielded no burial locations. Her son, Edgar Ramsdell’s, has the cryptic: Burial Place and Location: C-35.

So the clerk gave me access to a big old book that had the Middleborough section of Thatcher’s Old Cemeteries of SE Massachusetts , with a cross-reference to codes for death certificates. Middleborough cemeteries were given numbers, Lakeville one’s letter. “C” corresponded to a “Cemetery on Taunton St., near the Lakeville Line”. Heading home, I checked Lambert’s Guide to MA Cemeteries and found it also known as the Leonard Cemetery or Tack Factory Cemetery (1819), in Middleborough.

Right off of Route 18, and cut off at a dead end by Route 495, Taunton Street on the Middleborough side is short. I’d like to learn more about the history of the Tack Factory itself. A quick google search says that the neighborhood itself is known as Tack Factory, but the only tack factory nearby on the national historic register is in Norwell.

The cemetery is right along the road, and surrounded by houses. A yard sale or party was going on across the street when we pulled up, most likely confusing them when we went instead into the cemetery. It is set higher than the road, with a few stone steps leading up the hill. Currently it is completely overgrown. Grass and weeds were growing as tall as the gravestones. Mostly family plots – I don’t think I saw any solitary names. Leonards, Holloways, Woods, Tinkhams filled the place. There were some tall family obelisks or monuments, and some smaller stones.

The sheer amount of grass throughout the cemetery:

The right side of the cemetery:

The left side of the cemetery:

Leonard and Holloway stones:

Leonards and Drakes:

Holloway stones:

Namesakes of the cemetery – Leonards

My brother trekking through the tall grass:

But alas, no Ramsdells. At least not that we could see through the overgrowth. Are they there with no stones? Are the stones there but buried under grass and bushes? Or was the interpretation of the burial location mistaken? Perhaps I need to buy a few more death certificates of Edgar’s siblings, or perhaps his wife, who died in Hanson. Maybe she was buried with him in Middleboro as well.

Pilgrim Hall Museum, Plymouth, MA

I just read in the Boston Globe a review about a fabulous new exhibit at the Pilgrim Hall Museum in Plymouth called “Journey’s End: Death and Mourning in Plymouth Colony”. The exhibit explores various death, funeral, and mourning customs in the Plymouth area throughout it’s history.
Some items of interest include:

*original 1704 will of Peregrine White, born aboard the Mayflower in 1620
*a silk needlework mourning scene of Charlotte Winsor from 1810
*the gravestone of Edward Babbit killed during King Philip’s War in 1675
*the gold mourning ring of Plymouth Governor Josiah Winslow from 1680, with a lock of his hair
*a funeral hymn for Daniel Webster, who died in Marshfield in 1852
*fragments of the wool burial cloth used to wrap the body of Myles Standish in 1656

Pilgrim Hall Museum
75 Court Street Plymouth, MA
Through April 30, 2007