Monday, May 24, 2010

Claypit Cemetery

I helped clean up a cemetery hidden off Pawtucket Boulevard this weekend with Kim Zunino from the city Historic Board and a class from Lakeview Jr High in Dracut.  Why is Dracut cleaning a cemetery in Lowell?  Well, Pawtucketville wasn't annexed to Lowell until 1874, and the last burial at Claypit Cemetery was a decade before that.  Made for a confusing situation regarding which community actually owns the place apparently, especially as it was a private burial ground in the first place and no deeds have been transferred.  As for the first burial, it was before the Revolution - at least one person who served in the Revolution is buried here (Moses Coburn), and an honor guard from Tewksbury did a brief ceremony while I was there. 

Google brings up a few scattered news articles and other factoids on this site.  For example:

http://www.lowelldeeds.com/blog/index.php/2008/02/22/claypit-cemetery leads to

http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2008/02/21/a_virtual_plot_twist_for_forsaken_cemetery/
Ms. Duda was the teacher who brought her class to the site when I was there yesterday.  This article points to:

http://www.primaryresearch.org/pr/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=581&Itemid=300070 which is a very comprehensive website containing a lot of great information on the cemetery that Ms. Duda has compiled.  Go here.

Since I don't really have anything of value to ad, here's the pictures I took.  We had just unearthed Aaron Colburn's gravemarker that day.  Some of the articles off of primaryreasearch.org say that this stone was visible in a 4' hole (a grave-robbing attempt) in the early 1990s.  My understanding is these were purposefully buried to protect them, after decades of vandalism and said attempted grave-robbings (no, nothing will be left of the bodies of people that died that long ago and were put in wood boxes unembalmed...).

Claypit Cemetery

12 comments:

  1. I've researched the ownership history of this cemetery back to the early 19th century and still can't say who is the owner. One thing is clear from the record; property owners through time made a determined effort to NOT gain ownership of the cemetery (and presumably the responsibility that came with such ownership). I'll return to the records and see if I can push back the ownership timeline further. I suspect that the true owner will be the heirs of whomever owned the parcel in the late 1700s, a class that probably consists of hundreds of people. It is fairly clear, however, that neither Dracut nor Lowell have ever formally taken ownership of Claypit Cemetery

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  2. The Hildreth Cemetery in Lowell was also originally in Dracut. Dracut maintains that cemetery. Benjamin Butler is amoung those buried there.

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  3. I check your blog dailyJuly 13, 2010 at 10:17 PM

    Any new posts coming soon?

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  4. Hello,

    Hopefully I'll update soon. I've been busy with other stuff recently, so we'll see.

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  5. just wanted to let you know today I was at the cemetery and I saw the monks with a cart taking the bricks that spell out CLAY PIT CEMETERY. I called the police and they came to investigate. I don' t know the outcome but you might want to look into it.

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  6. I went to the Clay Pit today. The place is surround by multicolored flags. I looks kind of strange and I wonder what that is all about. Some of the bricks are still there. It still says "Clay Pit", but it is a mess. I notice that the grave stones are all on wood pallet, but two of the pallet have nothing on them. Did someone remove markers from those pallets?

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  7. I think the one from the revolutionary war is gone. It appears some one is moving things around out there

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  8. The one from the revolution was there in April when I was there. I am going again next week.

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  9. Was there again today and the top have of Moses Coburn, Sr. stone (AKA the revolutionary war soldier) is gone. I am certain it was there in April. I did not have my camera with me that day though.

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    Replies
    1. should say to half

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    2. That's....troubling. I'll see if I can find anything out.

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    3. I talked to Kim Zunino who is on the Lowell Historical Society board with me and is quite the gravestone expert. She says:

      "That piece has been missing for over a decade. I helped uncover the bottom but the top was never found. I have a new marble veterans stone waiting at DPW for him."

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