Every Vermont cemetery or graveyard is different and unique in their special way.
There are stories to be told of days and lives long past, yet the words on some of the monuments leave behind intriguing and thought provoking images within the mind’s eye. From tiny stones to huge monuments, there are plenty of historical quips, quotes and a taste of personal history to be pondered about.
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A walk through an old Vermont cemetery can be a peaceful and even educational experience.
It would seem that our forefathers and their early descendants had much more time on their hands than we do now in the modern years. Here is the epitaph written on a stone in Halifax, VT., from the 1700s:
Mr. John Pannel killed by a tree
In seventeen hundred and seventy three
When his father did come
He said Oh My Son
Your glass is run
Your work is done.
Many people enjoy the calming stroll through cemeteries in Vermont, pausing to read the history behind the graves of those who have passed away many years ago.
In past generations, it truly seemed that people had much more time to to ponder their lives and leave behind stories on their grave markers as a last thought or testimonial to their all to brief existence on Earth.
Vermont, the Green Mountain State, is steeped in history and folklore that have captivated the imaginations of visitors and locals alike for centuries. Among its many historic landmarks, Vermont is home to a myriad of cemeteries, each with its own fascinating stories about grave sites and the people buried there. In this article, we’ll delve into the hidden tales behind some of Vermont’s most remarkable cemeteries, and the enduring legacies of those who found their final resting place within their grounds.
- Hope Cemetery, Barre
Barre, Vermont is known as the “Granite Capital of the World,” and its most famous cemetery, Hope Cemetery, is a testament to the craftsmanship of the local stone carvers. Established in 1895, the cemetery has become an outdoor museum of intricate gravestone art. One of the most captivating stories is that of the “Crying Girl,” a life-sized sculpture of a young girl weeping beside the grave of a Barre resident. The piece is so realistic, it’s said that the girl’s tears glisten in the sunlight, leaving visitors in awe of the skill of the sculptor.
- Green Mount Cemetery, Montpelier
Green Mount Cemetery, founded in 1854, is the final resting place of many influential Vermonters, including former governors and war heroes. One of its most famous residents is Admiral George Dewey, a hero of the Spanish-American War. Born in Montpelier in 1837, Dewey was the only person in U.S. history to be promoted to the rank of Admiral of the Navy. His massive gravesite, featuring a granite statue and a grand mausoleum, is a testament to the state’s pride in one of its most distinguished sons.
- Evergreen Cemetery, New Haven
Evergreen Cemetery is the resting place of Timothy Clark Smith, a 19th-century doctor with a paralyzing fear of being buried alive. To prevent this, he designed his own unique grave, which featured a six-foot-long cement tube that extended from the surface down to his coffin. At the top of the tube was a glass window, allowing the living to check on the deceased. Although the window has since fogged over, the story of Dr. Smith’s grave continues to captivate visitors to this day.
- Dummerston Center Cemetery, Dummerston
This small cemetery in the town of Dummerston is home to the grave of Noyes Academy’s first African American student, Alexander Twilight. Twilight, born in 1795, was not only the first African American to graduate from an American college but also the first to hold public office. A Vermont native, Twilight’s achievements were groundbreaking for his time, and his grave stands as a testament to his lasting impact on American history.
Vermont’s cemeteries are more than just final resting places; they are living monuments to the state’s rich history and the fascinating individuals who have called it home. From masterful stone carvings to unique burial customs, the stories behind these grave sites provide a captivating glimpse into the lives of those who came before us. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a lover of local folklore, or simply someone with an appreciation for the macabre, Vermont’s cemeteries offer a fascinating journey into the past.