Ashfield — Burial-Places

Extracted from "History of the Connecticut Valley in Massachusetts, Volume II," by Louis H. Everts, 1879.

      The oldest is in the northeast corner of the town, and was probably laid out at the time of the organization of the Baptist Church in that locality in 1761. It comprises about half an acre of land. Some of the earliest settlers of the town are buried there. The following inscription is to be found:

            "Aaron Lyon, died Dec. 21, 1802, aged 45.

            "A loving husband, kind and true,
            A tender father was, also;
            A faithful son, a brother dear,
            A peaceful neighbor was while here.
            Though now his body here doth rest,
            We trust his soul's among the blest."

      The next burying-place, in point of age, is a mile and a half south of the first named. Richard Ellis, the first settler of the town, and several of that name, were interred there; also the Beldings, and other early settlers of the town. It was laid out about the same time as the other, comprises about an acre, and is still in use.
      The burying-ground near the "Plains" was in use as early as 1767, though not formally devoted to public use until 1770, in accordance with the following vote of the town:

      ""Dec. 17, 1760.—Voted to purchase a piece of Land by the Meeting-House for a Burying-place; also, voted and Choose Mr. Nathan weight and Capt. Moses Fuller & Timothy Perkins a Committee to purchase & lay out sd Burying-Place."       The following year one acre and a half of land was purchased of Samuel Lilly for 30s. The first person buried there was an infant child of Jonathan Lilly which died in 1767. Some of the earliest graves are not marked. Dr. Bartlet, the first physician of the town, was buried there in 1799. The tombstone of Deacon David Alden, who died Aug. 12, 1809, beats the following inscription:

            "Tender Were his Feelings,
            The Christian Was his Friend,
            Honest Were his Dealings,
            And Happy Was his end."

      The next burying-ground in point of age is in what is known as the "northwest district" of the town. One of the earliest burials there was that of Thomas Howes, who died in 1793, aged sixty-three. The ground comprises about half an acre.
      The Spruce Corner burying-ground, in the southwest part of the town, was laid out near the close of the last century. The wife of Capt. Elisha Cranson was buried there in 1792, Jonathan Cranson in 1799, and Capt. Elisha Cranson in 1804. The Cranson family were early settlers of that part of the town.
      The cemetery on Brier Hill, in the south part of the town, comprising about an acre, was laid out about 1825, or earlier.
      The cemetery at the geographical centre of the town was laid out about 1813, the year that the meeting-house was built. Alanson Lilly, son of Capt. Bethuel Lilly, who died March 21, 1814, was the first buried there. The tombstone of Abner Kelly, who died Feb. 5, 1825, aged seventy-three, bears the following inscription:

            "An apoplectic siezd my powers,
            When I was not expecting death,
            The conflict lasted twenty hours,
            And then I yielded up my breath."

      In this cemetery lie buried the remains of Rev. Nehemiah Porter and Rev. Alvan Sanderson.
      The cemetery at South Ashfield, comprising about two acres, was laid out about twenty years ago.

These pages are © Laurel O'Donnell, 2005, all rights reserved
and cannot be reproduced in any format without permission
This page was last updated on
29 Jun 2005