56 BRIDGEWATER,  

[Transcribed by Dale H. Cook]

   Several families were living here as early as 1680, and the population of this part of old Bridgewater was constantly increasing from that date down to 1716, when the South Precinct was formed, and this burial-place was commenced.   But we have no evidence, or even tradition, of there being any grave-yard in this part of old Bridgewater during this time, a period of more than thirty years.   If private burial-places existed, we should probably have heard of them.   There is no evidence, and it is not probable, that they were buried in the old yard in West Bridgewater, and they may have been buried in one or more places in this part of old Bridgewater, not yet discovered.

   In 1736 the South Precinct voted to build a board fence around the burying-ground, and the next year rescinded that vote, and voted to build, and did build, a post and rail fence.   This kind of fence was continued, with occasional repairs, down to 1795-6, when the members of the South Precinct concluded to have the yard fenced in with a stone wall, and the parish voted "to take off the fence round the burying-place, and sell it to build another, to be no expense to the parish."   They made a bee.   The whole parish turned out with more ox teams in those days than now, and voluntarily, in one day, brought together stone enough and sufficient for the whole fence, about fifty rods in length, making a common balance wall around the yard, with a gate entrance at each corner; and this wall fence remained till 1844, when Capt. Abram Washburn, with a little help from subscribers, rebuilt the whole wall, and put the capping stones on, and made one gate entrance near the middle of the south side.

   In the upper, or southwest part of this yard, were many graves with natural stones, without inscription, and when the wall was rebuilt in 1844, these natural stones, and many of the foot-stones, were used and put into the wall.   From 1845 to 1850 the foot-stones were all removed, and the graves and ground were levelled, so as to make it comfortable for mowing and raking.   In 1847 twenty-eight of these foot-stones were made into head-stones, and set to graves without monuments, with a simple inscription of the name, or initials of the name, and year of death.   About twenty of these foot-stones made into head-stones are still to be found in their proper places; and about this time, 1847 to 1850, two paths, or walks, each about five feet wide, from north to south, dividing the yard into three parts nearly equal, were plowed up, levelled, and fitted for walks, and a few head and footstones were displaced to make an unobstructed walk; but in a few years these walks were grassed over, and the paths were disused and lost.   About 1820

 

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