Finding Historical Graves on the Family Farm

In New England, it’s common to find small family graves on the family farm. In some cases, the ‘family farm’ or homestead from 300 years ago has long been developed into a neighborhood, but the little graveyard still exists. Finding Historical Graves on the Family Farm

I’ve seen these graves in various states of up-keep… from well maintained to all but forgotten with an ancient fence still trying to stand around the marked graves.

Being from the Midwest, my husband and I were intrigued by these New England ‘grave sightings’. Out in the Midwest, we expect to see cemeteries by churches…

like this church, from 1802. Isn’t it so pretty? This is in Maine. Finding Historical Graves on the Family Farm

We happened upon it one day as we were on our way back from visiting the ‘Two Lights’ lighthouses on the coast.

Behind the church is a lovely old cemetery, bordered by an old rock wall and with views to a tidal marsh beyond: Finding Historical Graves on the Family Farm

So that’s an expected sighting…



This old family cemetery, among the engleman ivy and free weekly flyer mailboxes, is just here in a neighborhood. Still occasionally mowed, but has the looks like the surrounding shrubs are slowly creeping into the borders of the family plots. Finding Historical Graves on the Family Farm

Or how about this one? Finding Historical Graves on the Family Farm

This family graveyard is in a little neighborhood by the beach. This is one of the few one of these small family graveyards I’ve see so well maintained with a new fence and new grave markers… Maybe this one isn’t so old… Maybe these graves are more recent.

I wonder if the laws in New England are still such that you can have your family cemetery on your private land?

I’ve never looked into it, but I have to assume it’s not legal to have family graves on the family farm in the Midwest, only because I’ve never seen one.

Reading some of the headstones, well the ones that are still legible that is, can be very  touching: Finding Historical Graves on the Family Farm

These two matching headstones belong to a father and young teenage son.

Here’s another small family plot:

This small family graveyard, now tucked between a couple of houses along the road, is marking the husband and wife that were Revolutionary War heroes. Finding Historical Graves on the Family Farm

The sign on the tree says that this was their homestead. Wow! Imagine all the changes that have gone on around these graves in the past 200 plus years! But the graves still sit there, silently marking the existence of someone’s life. Finding Historical Graves on the Family Farm

As I stumble upon these small family graves, I wonder how many are still on land owned by family of the original owners? In New England, I think it’d be more likely for this to be the case than in the Midwest. In New England, people seem to stay put and settle there… (Like the White Columns house in Kennebunkport, they still have the original wallpaper up!)

But in the Midwest, it’s so different… in fact, it’s amazing to still find  a ‘century farm’ (a farm that’s been in the same family for 100 years), we just move around a lot I guess.

So, would it creep you out to have family graves on the family farm… your family farm? I think it’s anything but creepy… I think it’s sweet and sincere. Although, I’ve moved plenty, and have nothing in our family of homestead or family land… I love the idea of having land that’s passed down from generation to generation. The house, the furniture, and the family graves… all of it. Finding Historical Graves on the Family Farm

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  1. brenda says

    while helping me with documents for DAR membership(opposite sides of the country)my father was invited by the man at the copy service her was using to make a trip down the street to the funeral home where the original family ancestors bodies were waiting for reburial. they had been found in unmarked graves during some reconstruction. the family wrongly believed them to have been reburied in the rural churchyard. some unknown glitch had occurred preventing this. the family owned properties had been vast enough in the new wilderness and the size of the family and property splitting through the generations had left many in the dark about what others were doing. The ancestors bodies were reburied properly in a mini memorial park dedicated for their contribution to the settling the area.

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