Second Parish Burial Ground

I visited Second Parish (The Ancient Cemetery) today.  Started out warm and sunny, then the heavens opened and we had a steady rain.  It was a fun walk in the woods and interesting to walk an old cart path. 

One of the well preserved grave markers is that of Hannah Haskell who died October 26, 1814 at the age of 93.  Her father was the Reverend John White.  Her husband was Nathaniel, son of William Haskell IV (not the original settler).  He was born in Gloucester on January 16, 1719 and died on July 31, 1808.  He married Hannah on November 11, 1740 and had eleven children.  He was deacon of Second Parish for fifty years.

I did not find the grave marker of my ninth great grandfather, Deacon Joseph Haskell.  He was the second son of the immigrant, William Haskell, and is my farthest back ancestor with a known grave.  It was photographed in 2013, so I am hoping I just missed it, and it has not been taken.  He was born on June 2, 1646 and died November 12, 1727. He was a deacon of First Parish, and when Second Parish was formed, he was chosen as its deacon. He was also a selectman for several years.  He married Mary Graves of Andover on December 2, 1674 and had ten children.  His daughter Hannah was my eighth great grandmother.

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Today I got after the Japanese Knotweed between Clark’s property line (rock wall) and the railroad track fence to increase the visibility to the prime party spot at Grant’s Tomb.   If you would like an easy way to help with this issue.  You can go to and select “Request” and paste the following into the “Lets us know how we can help” box.

There is a group of people who party in Clark’s Cemetery, and in the fall and winter have fires.  A volunteer has cleared the Japanese Knotweed between your fence and the cemetery.  Please have your engineers call the Gloucester Police non emergency number (978) 283-1212 to report any suspicious activity they notice in the cemetery. 

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Wetlands Buffer Zone

Today I met with Bill Manuell of Wetlands & Land Management (978) 777-0004 to determine the extent of the wetlands buffer zone in the cemetery.  The buffer zone just barely crosses over the property line.  I’m very appreciative of him volunteering his time and knowledge in determining this important part of the effort to eradicate the Japanese Knotweed that has taken over Clark’s Cemetery.

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What’s In Your Mailbox?

The morning after the Awesome Gloucester micro-grant presentation one of the presenters found this document in her mail box.

Click on the images to view them full size.

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Third Time Was Not the Charm.

Last night the Gloucester Cemetery Advisory Committee tried for the third time to get an Awesome Gloucester Micro-Grant.  Sadly, Clark’s Cemetery did not receive the grant.  This just means the presentation needs to be modified to better entice the foundation’s support. The $1000.00 would have gone towards a tripod strong enough to lift the 13 grave monuments that need to be put back into a position of respect, and Jahn to secure them in place.   Maybe it is time to explorer other funding options.

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Investigating Broken Grave Markers

Today, (9/5/2017) we investigated some of the broken grave markers to see if they were fixable.  We cleaned up around the stones and tried to piece them together.  Unfortunately at this time, there are too many missing pieces.  I say, “at this time” because there are chunks of marble laying around all over the cemetery.  Every now and then we spy a piece that fits somewhere. 

Nathaniel and Judith Sargent have a legible stone, but are missing bottom pieces. 

Henry Plummer is barely legible and the three big pieces have weathered so much that they won’t go together any more.

Alexander McKenzie, a recent find,  is in many pieces. 

We will leave them on the black fabric for now, hoping to find pieces, but the long term solution needs to be investigated.  Do they weather better laying flat or propped up vertically?  Some people recommend burying the pieces, but that seems kind of rude.  We just freed them from all that brush.

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Busy Days

Last few days have been busy.  We leveled the base for Sydney Woodbury.  Now I need to find someone with a tripod and a couple of straps to lift the monument in place.  I whacked a lot of Knotweed while Kathy worked to cleanup along the wall that separates Clark’s and First Parish.  Today I spent time searching for partially exposed headstones and cleared the weeds from around many that are in danger of being damaged by mowers.  I discovered Phebe C. Woodman and Martha Hyde today.


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One Nickel At A Time

Generating money for supplies is always a challenge.  We do get donations from time to time, and for that we are always grateful.  When the partiers don’t smash their bottles on the gravestones we collect them.  Every nickel helps…

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McKay Family and More

On Monday (8/28) I dug out the big knotweed clumps around the McKay grave markers.  These are very different from the other headstones and monuments in Clark’s.  They are flat and set in the ground like modern stones.  They appear to be granite and carved by an amateur hand.  They are difficult to read and therefore difficult to photograph.  I put flour on them and rubbed it into the letters and Ta Da, easy to read.  I will put the information in Find a Grave, but the photos will have to wait until tomorrow since my picky photographer wasn’t happy with his results.

The dates don’t agree with the town records.  I think they were carved after the 3rd person died in 1915, so memory might have been a bit faulty.

You can go to a website called Island Register.  It has genealogies for families connected to Prince Edward Island.  Many Gloucester families, including ours, have strong connections to Nova Scotia.

The McKays are descended from John McKay and Janet Anderson. Two sons, Robert Neil and Hugh, were born in Murray Harbor South on Prince Edward Island.  Robert married Elizabeth Armstrong in Liverpool.  She died, and he married her sister Margaret, moved to Gloucester and settled in with a large family. On February 14, 1876, while on a passage from Fortune Bay to Boston, aboard the Schooner “Alice Myrick”, he was swept overboard and drowned.  Rumor has it that the captain, who was later convicted of a murder, had a hand in his death and stole a large amount of gold that Robert had with him.

Margaret, his widow then married his brother Hugh. 

To recap…Robert married the two sisters and Margaret married the two brothers.

Hugh, a blacksmith, also drowned, although the circumstances are not clear.

Sunday (8/27) Carol cleaned six tombstones while Sandy, Kathy and I reset two headstones.  Baby Mary C Benson is straight and level, as is Robert N. McKay.  Kathy found and pieced together a monument that has caused her a bit of grief for some time.

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Connecting the Living With Long Gone Family Members

Today we met the great and great great granddaughters of Alexander M. Benson.  They were searching for information and found a link to the Clark’s Cemetery Facebook page with the recent information that was posted about this long lost ancestor.  Alexander M. Benson was one our latest projects, and until the other day, he wasn’t in Find A Grave.  Since they still live in New England they made a quick trip to Gloucester and were thrilled to see Alex’s very fine monument.  Connecting the living to the beloved family of the past is very thrilling for us.  We will continue to post stories about the “residents” of Clark’s Cemetery as we work on their tombstones. 

Now if someone in Missouri would find my great great grandmother for me, I would really appreciate it.  Her name was Mary Ann “Polly” Garrison, wife of Brown Garrison.

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