Eliot has more than 164 private family cemeteries scattered throughout the town. Many are in a resident’s side yard, though cannot be seen by the passerby, while others are by the side of the road or deep in the woods and some have yet to be re-found with barely a trace left of them or consisting of fieldstone markers.
Although some are cared for by family members or property owners there are many more that have suffered from neglect – the stones toppled over and now under the vegetation and soil; trees growing and threatening the stones or down and lying over the cemetery itself.
The Historical Society’s Adopt a Cemetery Program and its Committee, established in 2007, has as its goal to enlist the help of landowners, town residents, and community organizations to see that our private cemetries are properly cared for. The Committee serves as a resource to the town and community and is available to help with various projects and with doing things that the participant may not feel comfortable doing.
Care and restoration can be as simple as seeing that brush is removed and grass cut to that of more involved work including the taking down of trees, lifting and re-setting stones, and repair of fences and stones.
Link to Newscenter Maine coverage of Spinney/Trefethen cleanup
Working together during the pandemic!
The Eliot Historical Society, working with Spinney descendant Barry Bernard of Portland, Maine, landowners, and members of the town of Eliot’s highway crew is just finishing the cleaning of the Spinney and Tetherly cemeteries , two of Eliot’s oldest. Working one day a week for 5 weeks we are coming down the home stretch. Trees were cut down, heavy brush cut, weeds and vines pulled up and grounds raked and everything then hauled away by the highway department. We even uncovered 3 stones that had fallen and were buried underground! A few more work days, to pull up the stubble and rake the grounds, and then we’ll be ready for the next step, which will probably be done next year – eset the fallen stones.
Are you a High School student that needs Community Service Credits? Are you looking for a group or family activity during this pandemic? Fall is the perfect time to clean up Eliot’s private cemeteries! A safe, socially distancing, worhwhile and satisfying activity. If interested, you can start by finding a cemetery (or contact us and we’ll help you find one). Next, talk with the landowner to get their approval to come in and clean and care for the cemetery. Lastly, contact the Eliot Historical Society through our facebook page or website to register your cemetery and we’ll provide the initial help and the information you need to properly cleanup and care for it so that no damage is done to the cemetery or the stones.