The Old Burying Ground in Amherst was opened and first put into use in 1735. Most of the original grave markers no longer exist, since they generally used wood or simple fieldstone to mark a burial.
Autumn has found its way to the old burying grounds.
In the graveyard, looking toward Town Hall.
The old burying ground is behind what is now town hall. Town hall used to serve as the county courthouse since this was the shire town for Hillsborough county for over a hundred years, until the county seat moved to Nashua in 1879.
Looking from outside the graveyard wall.
In 2003, during a remodel of town hall, bones were discovered under the foundation. After work was brought to a stop and specialists were brought in, it was determined that the bones belonged to a young woman and a child of African descent, and they lived here during the mid-1700's. There was a reburial for the unnamed bones in the graveyard. This story makes me so curious. What was their story? Were they slaves? Who was this child? What did they die from? They were both so young. There were slaves in New England at that time, and I can only assume that they probably were as well. Very sad and tragic.
When we were looking for a town to live in, wanting to be closer to Boston, but also wanting to be far enough away for a bucolic New England setting, we came to this town and the first thing I did was walk into the graveyard. It was icy and snowy at the time, so I didn't get far, but I was struck with its beauty. I love nothing more than a very old graveyard, filled with mossy stones and surrounded by looming trees. This is exactly what I wanted! This was so New England. And now I only live a block away from this little gem of the New England countryside.
Three children from one family
Though I don't find old graveyards scary, I love them mainly for their mix of history, art, and story, I still am not above trying to scare my kids as we walk by this place at night. During a walk home from my son's open house at school a few weeks ago, we started to talk about zombies (to be honest, I started the conversation) and then I began singing the chorus of "Thriller" as we passed the old burying ground. I have never seen them run so fast to get home, or laugh so hard once we got there. But a good laugh is worth a bit of emotional scarring, right?