Joseph Dow's History of Hampton: The Old Burying-Ground

Back to previous section -- Forward to next section -- Return to Table of Contents

THE OLD BURYING-GROUND

The first notice of a cemetery, found on our Records, is a memorandum of an order of the selectmen, made January 26, 1654. From this it appears that a lot for the purpose of burial had already been laid out ten rods square, and consequently containing five-eighths of an acre. "The selectmen"--for so the record reads--"taking into consideration the commendable decency of enclosing in the place appointed by the town for burial:" and thinking themselves sustained in their views by "the word of God and the practice of Christian nations," ordered and agreed that this lot should be enclosed with a substantial five-rail fence, before the end of the following May. The posts were to be white oak, of sufficient length and thickness, and the rails, which were not to exceed twelve feet in length, to be well jointed into them. This place of burial, afterward enlarged, was in the eastern part of the Meeting-house Green--Old Burying Ground of the present day--and continued to be used as a place of burial about a century and a half . The ground still remains enclosed, but the earliest monuments which affection erected here at the graves of friends have all crumbled to dust, or, having fallen to the ground, lie hid beneath the surface. Within a few years, was a rude stone, marking the grave of Susanna, the wife of Robert Smith, who was "Slaine by ye thunder," June 12, 1680; but that has now disappeared. [Since this book was originally written the stone has reappeared.] Here, too, repose the remains of five ministers of the gospel , who labored many years as pastors and teachers of the first church, all of whom died in office before the close of the last century. The graves of Dalton and the two Cottons--father and son--though the place of them is not unknown, are marked by no monuments; at those of Gookin and Thayer, slabs of slate were erected by the town, which still remain in good condition.

[For records of this cemetery, now called the "Pine Grove Cemetery", click here.]

Back to previous section -- Forward to next section -- Return to Table of Contents