I love history. It’s the stories, and understanding life way back when, that is deeply important – to me. When those lives are on hallowed ground, in the beauty of fall, history comes alive.
Groton’s Old Burying Ground is simply wonderful. My school had a fundraiser, a scavenger hunt throughout the town today. I volunteered at the Old Burying Ground. First, let me show you how beautiful it was today:
Groton’s first settlers chose the corner of Hollis and School Street for their second Meeting House in 1678. While the location of the church was changed in 1714, the Old Burial Ground remained at the original site and was the sole public place of burial in the town until 1847.
The most important part, of course, are the headstones. When we first moved to Massachusetts in 1984, I visited the old cemetery. I was shocked at what I saw – the headstones had beautiful, intricate carvings. The words and carvings were not worn. They were crystal clear, on the headstones that were made of slate.
They also told stories. I had never seen anything but names and dates on headstones. This was a whole new world, full of stories of real people and their lives.
Mrs Abigail Kendrick Widow of Capt Caleb Kendrick left her pleasant habitation in Newton & come to her Daughter Dana’s in Groton on account of ye civil War & Sept 5 1775 E 70 was removed by a dysentery, to that place where ye wicked cease to from troubling and ye weary are at rest.
Oh, my! What a story. Most of the headstones have a story, or a few words that give you a glimpse into the life of the person buried below. A double head stone typically meant siblings who died on the same day.
I can’t gloss over this, because the people are right there. Walking the paths, stopping to look at the headstones, I think of the stone carvers. They carved beauty and sadness. I stop at clusters of stones, because often they are a family with children who all died. There is a family whose children died of throat distemper (my pediatrician told me that was diphtheria.) The beautiful art and writing preserve these people and their families.
I am drawn to art, writing, history, and the beauty of nature. This place has it all.
I told the many people who stopped by today to look for the stories.
Thank you, Groton, for preserving your founding fathers and their lives. Thank you, Mother Nature, for making this special place of history beautiful and welcoming.
“Stories help us remember what we never want to forget.” –Emory R. Frie-