The Alden Cemetery on Vernon Street is Bridgewater’s second oldest cemetery, although the majority of stones from the 1700s are unmarked. Most of the gravestones, therefore, are from the 19th century. Latham’s book provides an incredible view into what the land must have been like at the time. Located in Titicut, a former Native American settlement, Bethia Fobes was the first white child born in this area. With just a few houses far and few between, the land where the cemetery is must have filled very slowly at first, for it was not physically close to many settlers in the Bridgewater area – because at this time, there were not many to begin with.
But here is one of the few stones from the 1700’s, which says:
1754, probably Zebedee Leach, died aged 5.
The yard is surrounded by a short stone wall, and some of the stones along Vernon Street are very close to the road and wall.
There are many interesting stones, some of which have not stood up well to the tests of time. On the other hand, some of them have decided to stand up on their own… (these footstones have been pushed up from the ground, probably from years of New England winters with the ground beneath the stone freezing then thawing.)
There are some sad epitaphs on a series of siblings stones, who died within a few years of each other:
Helen M. dau, of Job H. and Betsey Johnson, died Sept. 27. 1849, aged 1 year, 4 mo., 23 days.
It is hard to give thee up, sweet one,
‘Tis hard to give thee up;
But nature’s saddest work is done,
‘Tis the last bitter cup.
Mary E., daughter of Job H. and Betsey Johnson, died Aug. 11, 1846, æ 1 year and 11 mo.
This lovely bud so young and fair,
Called hence by early doom;
Just come to show how sweet a flower,
In paradise could bloom.
Freddie Morton, son of Job H. and Betsey Johnson, died Aug. 18, 1856, æ 2 years, 10 days.
O, it is hard to part with one
We loved so much on earth;
But we will put our trust in him
Who gave his spirit birth.
There is a gravestone with a favorite symbol of mine, the finger pointing towards heaven. The stone itself may just be a cenotaph, as it reads:
Edwin Hayward, member of Co. I, 38 Regt., M. V.,
born Jan. 17, 1844,
died at Baton Rouge, La., Aug. 21, 1863.
Asleep in Jesus, ay, though he sleep with strangers,
In the redeemer’s eyes his dust is just as sacred,
And He will bid it rise