[Transcribed by Dale H. Cook]
This grave-yard is probably the oldest grave-yard in old Bridgewater, outside of the first settlement in West Bridgewater, 1651. Tradition says that the Rev. John Angier, soon after his settlement in East Bridgewater, in 1724, cut the initials of names, and the year of death, one or both, upon many native flat stones then found at the head of many graves; and there is a report that stones have been seen with such inscription thereon, as far back as 1700, and especially one stone bearing date of 1685. The southwest part of this ground was first used for burial, and was, no doubt, part of the first one hundred rods appropriated for burial at this place, as hereafter stated.
Samuel Allen, Senior Deacon and second Town and Proprietors' Clerk in Bridgewater, 1683 to 1702, lived on the east bank of Matfield river, near where the Branch railroad crosses the river. He owned a large tract of land on the east side of that river, bounded, northwesterly, by Nicholas Byram, and northeasterly by the lands of Whitman and Harris, including the plain, the common, the burying-ground, and land on both sides of the road, to the brick store and depot, and some further west.
All the burying-ground, and a very large part of the common at the meeting-house, was given and conveyed to the East Precinct, or to committees in behalf of said Precinct, by the Allen family by sundry deeds. Only one deed covers the burying-ground, and that is the deed of Matthew Allen, Jr., to Thomas Whitman, Edward Mitchell, and Hugh Orr, a committee of the East Precinct, dated November 20, 1759, recorded April 19, 1760, in Plymouth Registry, book 46, page 55.
This deed conveys "121 rods of land adjoining land for many years improved for a burying place, given by my father, Samuel Allen, late of Bridgewater, containing 100 rods." The deed recites that the land alloted for a burying-ground is but small, and in time like to prove too scanty for the use of the inhabitants, and that the whole land
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