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!