For additional photographs
of some tombstones in the Reeds Ferry,
Thornton's Ferry and Last Rest Cemetery
see the "Photographs" section
this web site
addition to Last Rest Cemetery (a public cemetery), Merrimack New
Hampshire has four Town cemeteries: Reed's
Cemetery, Thornton's Ferry Cemetery, Reeds Ferry Cemetery, and Turkey Hill (Meetinghouse)
cemeteries date back to the 1700's and are an important part of Merrimack's past.
"History of Merrimack NH," 1978 Merrimack Historical Society, Higginson
Book Company states:
"In 1754 when the meeting was held to raise money
for a mettinghouse, the townspeople provided enough land for a training field
and a burying place."
one time there was an earlier burying ground along the east bank of the Merrimack
River, but it was washed away in a flood sometime prior to 1835. Many of Merrimack's
early residents came from Litchfield, and when they died, they were buried in
this cemetery. The headstones which could be saved were placed in other cemeteries
in the town of Litchfield. Early Merrimack names such as Barnes, Caldwell, Darrah,
Lund and Underwood can be found in gravestones in Litchfield cemeteries.
deeds and diaries have been found that mention private graveyards on private property.
Surrounding towns had private family graveyards and Merrimack could have also.
However, no stones or records have been found to prove that anyone was ever buried
in these palces. People in the northern section of what is now Merrimack were
buried in Bedford (NH) prior to 1750. The first burying ground mentioned in town
records is that of the meetinghouse, located on Meetinghouse Road near where it
joins Turkey Hill Road. It is now known as Turkey Hill Cemetery.
1764 we find the town trying to get a deed from Edward Lutwyche for Thornton Cemetery
in the southern part of town, known as Thornton's Ferry. No deed from him or anyone
else or any records concerning the purchase of this cemetery have been found.
It has been said that Matthew Thornton gave it to the town, but no one really
knows how the town acquired it.
Turkey Hill Cemetery is the first one mentioned in town records, Thornton Cemetery
has the oldest date on a gravestone. Both cemeteries have large spaces which show
signs of graves with no markers. There are many stones which have fallen or broken
and have been left for nature to cover over the years. The oldest known grave
in Turkey Hill Cemetery is that of Hugh McInnes who died November 18, 1771. Thornton
Cemetery has a stone marked Zebedee Kendall who died April 14, 1749.
two cemeteries were used for over 150 years. The last burial in Thornton Cemetery
was for Louise C. Ferguson, who died in 1945. Raymond family members were buried
in Turkey Hill Cemetery in the 1980's (although burials here after 1950 were rare).
Thornton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence
and prominent colonial statesman, rests in Thornton's Ferry Cemetery.
BESIDES THE RESOURCES ON THIS SITE, there are other websites showing
tombstone inscriptions and gravestones that may be helpful to
Hampshire Old Graveyard Association
(now owned by Ancestry.com)
TOMBSTONE INSCRIPTIONS AVAILABLE ON THIS SITE
photographs above are of new (in 2007) Thorntons, Reeds and
Reeds Ferry Cemetery signs that were created and presented
by the Merrimack Heritage Commission to the town of Merrimack.
These photographs were taken by the Merrimack Heritage Commission
and are used here with permission.