These stones speak

Say what you will, the Chamber of Commerce lists the Hillside Cemetery as a thing for visitors to do here.

It’s unlike other celebrated burying grounds across New England I know of. There are no Colonial three-bump gray slate stones, the ones with the famed death angel heads, for one thing.

This one is newer, meaning mostly 1800s and Victorian, when the town thrived. Yet many of the inscriptions, in softer stone, have weathered to illegibility.

Many of them lean precariously or have toppled over, giving the site a spooky feel. Or at least neglected, even though it’s mowed regularly. The sandy soil itself is anything but level, instead mounded over many of the family plots.

Yet I keep going back, often reading between the lines.

Quite a flourish

Many of the men and women died young, along with a large percentage of children.

Young Sammy

Many of the stones tell of birth origins elsewhere in Maine or even New Hampshire and Massachusetts, as well as a few defiantly proclaiming “born in Ireland.”

A toppled memorial.

Many of the names begin with “Capt.,” sometimes followed with “lost at sea,” which is also found on other stones of first mates or sailors. Others tell of falling in Civil War action – many New England towns suffered heavy tolls.

Some of these markers were erected as memorials, with no bodies buried below.

Fittingly, in places as I walk, views of the ocean and islands in the distance open below me.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.