Northfield — Burial-Places

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

      There are public grave-yards at Northfield Centre, West Northfield, and Northfield Farms, of which the oldest is at Northfield Centre. This burying-ground is the one originally laid out by the first settlers of the town, and is still used. Care has been taken to preserve the surroundings of the ground. A neat fence incloses it, and the presence of numerous handsome monuments among the weather-stained and time-worn headstones erected a century and more ago, presents a striking picture of the mingling of modern and beautiful art with the musty and crumbling relics of the past. Some of the old headstones are so worn away that many inscriptions are illegible, but numbers of the oldest can yet be traced, and of these the following are transcribed:
      Mrs. Meriam Wright, 1726; Hannah Stratton, 1729; Richard Bement, 1732; Stephen Belden, 1736; Sarah Stratton, 1736; Sarah Lyman, 1738; Zechariah Field, 1746; Mercy Field, 1746; Peter Evans, 1752; Anne Field, 1755; Medad Field, 1756; Eliezer Wright, 1753; Seth Wright, 1746; Eunice Wright, 1746; John Taylor, 1757; Jemima Janes, 1748; Tamar Stratton, 1759; Tamar Stratton, 1762 (two daughters of Ebenezer Stratton); Martha Stratton, 1762; Ebenezer Janes, Jr., 1766; Sarah Janes, 1766; Samuel Holton, 1767; Orea Harvey, 1765; Hepzibah Belding, 1761; Martha Alexander, 1761; Sarah Belding, 1762; Abigail Bellows, 1756; Submit Field, 1762; Ebenezer Field, 1759; Keziah Field, 1755; Aurelia Field, 1768; Ebenezer Warner, 1768; Benoni Wright, 1767; Seth Wright, 1734; Sarah Stratton, 1770; Hannah Janes, 1770; Sale Knap, 1770; Francis Field, 1770; Silas Field, 1773; Azubah Field, 1774; Electa Hubbard, 1773; Elsworth Hubbard, 1772; Samuel Hunt, 1770; Esther Lyman, 1774; Esther (her daughter), 1774; Lucy Stratton, 1781; Samuel Stratton, 1776; Annie Wright, 1777; Azariah Wright, 1772; Elizabeth Wright, 1772; Rhoda Watriss, 1775; Joshua Lyman, 1777; Jonathan Janes, 1776; Roswell Field, 1780; Sara Doolittle, 1773; Rev. Benjamin Doolittle, 1748; Samuel Alexander, 1781; Sarah Field, 1785; Susannah Field, 1787; Lydia Stratton, 1783; Eunice Alexander, 1785; Robert Lyman, 1759; John Pirss, 1747; Mary Smith, 1730; Hezekiah Stratton, 1756; Lydia Stebbins, 1761; Sara Smith, 1767; Medad Pomeroy, 1760; Isaac Mattoon, 1767; Mehitable Pomroy,1770; Nathaniel Mattoon, 1770; Mary Lyman, 1777; Thankfull Root, 1776; Sarah Smith, 1784; Sarah Janes, 1779; Paul Field, 1778.
      Among the most aged people buried here were Jona. Belding, ninety-one; Simeon Alexander, ninety-two; Medad Field, ninety; Sarah Woodward, ninety-five; Deacon Samuel Smith, ninety-five; Sarah, wife of Oliver Smith, one hundred years and five months; Anna Hunt, ninety; Hannah Mattoon, ninety-six; Isaac Mattoon, ninety-one; Mary Lyman, ninety-one.
      Upon the tombstone of Lydia Harwood is the following:

      "Lydia Harwood: her first husband, Asahel Stebbins, was killed and she taken prisoner by Indians, Aug. 27, 1757, at No. 4, and carried to Canada. Saved from torture at the stake by her heroism and faith, she returned from captivity, and in 1759 married Capt. Samuel Merriman. She died his widow, 1808, aged seventy-six. To keep her memory green this stone is erected by her great-grandchildren, Clesson Merriman and Ella Merriman Barber, A.D. 1874."

      Upon the tombstone of Timothy Swan is inscribed:

      "Sacred to the memory of Timothy Swan, who died July 23,1842, aged eighty-four. He was the author of China, Poland, and other pieces of sacred music. `I was dumb, because thou didst it:'"

      Upon that of Rev. John Hubbard, second minister of the town, who died 1794, appears this:

                    "A man he was to all his people dear;
                    And passing rich with eighty pounds a year.
                    Remote from towns he ran his godly race,
                    Nor ever changed, or wished to change, his place.
                    In duty faithful, prompt at every call,
                    He watched and wept, he prayed and felt for all;
                    He try'd each art, reproved each dull delay,
                    Allured to brighter worlds, and led the way."

      The stone over the grave of Rev. Benjamin Doolittle, first minister of Northfield, who died 1748, bears the following epitaph:

                    "Blessed with good intellectual parts,
                    Well skilled in two important arts,
                    Nobly he filled the double station,
                    Both of a preacher and physician.
                    To cure men's sicknesses and sins
                    He took unwearied care and pains,
                    And strove to make his patients whole
                    As well in body as in soul.
                    He loved his God, loved to do good,
                    To all his friends vast kindness showed;
                    Nor could his enemies exclaim
                    And say he was not kind to them.
                    His labors met a sudden close;
                    Now he enjoys a sweet repose;
                    And when the just to life shall rise,
                    Among the first he'll mount the skies."

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19 Jul 2005