New Hampshire Old Graveyard Association

September 8, 2001


The fall meeting of the New Hampshire Old Graveyard Association was held at Hollis, NH on September 8, 2001. President Joan Casarotto presided. Sharon Howe of the Hollis Historical Society welcomed us. She presented a brief history of the area. Massachusetts conducted a survey of the lands in the Merrimack Valley as far north as Lake Winnipesauke. They found rich agricultural lands under cultivation by the Indians. Accordingly Massachusetts granted the town of Dunstable to be an outpost in the wilderness. King Phillips War in 1676 caused many settlers to leave due to Indian attacks.


After the war settlement resumed and the population reached 50 families by 1730. The West Parish of Dunstable was soon established. The meetinghouse for the new parish was built on the site of the present church in the center of Hollis. The first minister was called in 1743. The town of Dunstable was divided into four towns: Merrimack, Hollis, Monson and Dunstable. Monson eventually gave up their charter. About all that remains of that town today is the town cemetery that is now the north cemetery in Hollis. The Pine Hill area was originally part of Dunstable, but was annexed to Hollis. The Pine Hill cemetery dates from the time it was part of Dunstable.


Clark Bagnall read the minutes of the summer meeting. Trina Purcell noted that some of the methods for cleaning gravestones used by the speaker, Roger Syphers, were not recommended. His use of chlorine bleach and a stiff brush are generally considered too harsh.


Doris Ashton, Corresponding Secretary, reported that she had good response from her call for articles for the Rubbings. Keep up the good work.


Jean Mertinooke read the Treasurer’s report. She reported a balance of $2,109.58. Her report was filed.


Louise Tallman reported that Bob Goodbye, Archaeologist at Franklin Pierce College has human bones from three graveyards in New Hampshire. They were dug up by Howard Sargent is 1977 and written up in Man in the Northeast. A trailer park owner in Lee persuaded him to dig up old graveyard. Bob Goodbye feels that they should be returned too Lee. Louise recommended that he approach the town of Lee for funds. They should never have been dug up at all.


Louise also reported on the Philbrick graveyard in North Hampton. It is laid out on two levels with a wall in between. The lower level contains Locke burials.  A nearby house is about to be replaced. Fred Currier, a descendant of the family, wants to donate the graveyard to the Locke Family Association. Terry Knowles will be consulted to resolve the legal questions this raises.


Trina Purcell reported that our application for a grant of funds for storage for our archival materials was denied. She may resubmit.


Clark Bagnall gave the Computer Committee report. The new database is complete and can be used for entering gravestone inscriptions. We have a volunteer to transcribe Greenland. Some of the data from the old database still require conversion. We need to be looking at establishing our own web site. Rootsweb can provide a free web site.


Our speaker was Joan Tinklepaugh who spoke on her experiences as part of a group that recorded the cemeteries of Hollis. The project was started in 1997 and included six cemeteries. The recorded all burials on worksheets from which they were transcribed to a computer database. The stones were photographed. Additional information was included on each individual such as birth and death dates, parents’ names, whether they were married or single, occupation and town service. 3000 individual burials were recorded compared to a population of 7000.


Sources came from a variety of places. The vital records were incomplete. Records for 1830 to 1887 were missing. Obituaries from the local paper, the Hollis Times, and the Nashua Telegraph were gathered into scrapbooks. Town meeting records, school records and printed genealogies were all consulted. There were questionnaires that had been filled out as part of the town’s bicentennial. Old letters and wills were used, but some people were still not found.


The software used was Family Reunion database, which featured unlimited storage for notes. It took a year to enter the data. Married women are indexed by their married name and then reindexed by their maiden name in a separate index. The database is available to genealogists at the Historical Society. They have maps for all but the East Cemetery.


While recording North Cemetery the heard voices and wondered if they were hearing ghosts. The voices proved to be an echo from a nearby hill. South Cemetery is “High Society”. Every one buried there lived within a mile of there. There are 600 stones and a few unmarked graves. A few stones are missing. There are DAR records for this cemetery and records of burials start in 1908. There are six tombs built by Luther Hubbard. The Worcester family tomb was one of these. Jesse Worcester has a gravestone with the family genealogy inscribed. Jesse was a colorful character. Jesse and his father Noah were supporters of Mr. Emerson, the minister. They did not like his successor, Ely Smith. A confrontation arose which resulted in Jesse being kicked out of the church. John H Worcester was a grandson of Jesse. He was a casualty of the Civil War at age 21. He wrote letters home that give a sense of his character. He made efforts to send home the body of another dead soldier.


The Flagg lot belonged to Timothy Flagg. He had two daughters, Abigail and Harriet, who were school teachers and never married. He and his brother went to California during the gold rush. The brother stayed; Timothy returned. He sent letters home from California complaining of the low moral standards he found there.


The Tenny family lived on a farm nearby. The family consisted of Ralph and Phebe and there children. The father and the son both had wives named Phebe. The William Tenny III stone tells story of daughter Caroline, a missionary who died in San Francisco. Her husband died in a shipwreck soon after. A son who went to Kansas City, Missouri is also mentioned. “Barney”, as he was known, was actually George C. Barnaby who for many years served as the caretaker for the Eastman family. It is unknown if he is related to the other Barnabys in town.


The Hayden family is buried in North Cemetery and is one of the original families in town. They adopted a nephew Daniel Hayden and he is the Civil War hero buried in North Cemetery. He was wounded twice including a head wound. He had to walk thirty miles with this wound. After the war he returned to Hollis where and had two children. One child died and the other, a daughter Bertha, became quite controversial.  She contributed much to the town history. She was the second woman on the School Committee and drove a team for the Hollis Fire Department. She never married.


Another grave in the cemetery contains triplets. The babies and their mother all died within a span of ten days. Also buried in this cemetery is a man named Hezekiah who was the victim of the only murder in Hollis. He was a large man who was hit over the head with a chair in 1833. His murderer, a man named Rufus, set his cell on fire and died.


Pine Hill Cemetery was started in the late 1700s. The Farley family, descendants of Captain Caleb Farley, are buried here. The earliest graves are those of two infants. Captain Farley was married three times but he never lived with his third wife. Norman Howe is the Civil War hero in Pine Hill. He is mentioned in the letters of John Worcester. He died shortly thereafter, and his body was returned to Hollis. Louisa Rideout Jewett was a sister of Norman’s mother and was married to Francis Jewett. They were divorced and he remarried. Their son Perley was always bitter towards his father because of the divorce. He always referred to him as “Mr. Jewett” and threatened the “knock his head off”. Perley served in the Civil War and died of disease. He has a memorial stone in Pine Hill.


The East Cemetery was started in the 1850s by newcomers to Hollis. The land was donated by Augustus Lovejoy, a blacksmith. His parents are buried in this cemetery. Charles H Farley, Second Lieutenant, Company H is buried here. He was a friend of John Worcester and died of wounds at Lake City Florida. Charles Stratton, a midget, is also buried here. He had two wives. The fate of the second wife is unknown as she is not mentioned in his obituary. Kenny Marble has an interesting gravestone with a carburetor. He ran an auto repair business and was killed in a motorcycle accident. The cemetery also contains a piano gravestone.


The final cemetery mentioned was a small graveyard of the Absolom Lawrence family. His second wife was from Hollis. The family originally lived in Massachusetts, but the moved to the other end of their farm, which was just over the line in Hollis.


After this very interesting talk, the business meeting resumed. A Nominating Committee was appointed consisting of Ingrid Smith, Barbara Benoit and Kay Beij. Members were reminded that we need meeting places for our 2002 meetings.


After lunch we toured the Central Cemetery.


Respectfully submitted,

Clark H Bagnall

Recording Secretary