1807. The town voted to purchase for a cemetery, one acre of land from Captain Mark Hatch, for the sum of thirty dollars — one-half of which Captain Hatch remitted. The town agreed to fence the land, and hang a gate near the windmill. It also agreed to give Captain Hatch his choice of a burial lot.
1817. ...the first hearse was purchased, and the first stove for warming the meeting-house. The Common was this year levelled and otherwise improved.
1823. The town this year voted to purchase a hearse-house. Whether the hearse had been allowed to remain exposed to the weather all this time, or had been stored in some barn, the records do not state.
1852. This year the following letter —donating a Tomb— was received by the Selectmen:
Bangor, October 14th, 1852.
To the Selectmen of the town of Castine,
Gentlemen: Being the owner of a tomb in the cemetery at Castine, I propose to give it to the town, to be used by them as a receiving tomb. If they accept the gift, it is my wish that it be always in the care of the Selectmen of the town, and that once a year — say in the month of May — it should be clean of all dead which may have been deposited there.
With a lively recollection of the many favors bestowed on me while I was a citizen of your town, and with my wishes for the welfare and happiness of its inhabitants, I remain,
Respectfully, Your Obedient Servant,
The Town, at its first meeting thereafter, formally accepted the gift of this tomb.
1872. Voted to enlarge the Cemetery.
1893. Cemetery again enlarged.
1903. Voted: to accept any gift or legacy hereafter made, from any person interested in the public cemetery, of any amount not exceeding $500, and will allow interest thereon at the rate of four per cent per annum. The increase to be devoted to the care of such cemetery lot as may be designated by the giver under direction of the Park commissioners — subject as far as possible to any special written requirements that the giver may make.
Voted $300 for the purchase of a hearse.
1911. The town voted this year to furnish water for the cemetery grounds.
1928. Voted that the Town purchase the motor hearse at a cost not to exceed twenty-five hundred dollars ($2500) and that the Selectmen be authorized to borrow said amount of money and to give five notes for the same of $500 each, one payable one year after date; and one each year thereafter until the whole sum is paid, and that a committee of three be appointed consisting of N. B. Hooper, H.S. Babcock and A.W. Patterson to look after the matter of purchase. Voted that the hearse be in the care of the Undertaker N. B. Hooper.
1954. The Castine Cemetery Association was incorporated, February 19, 1955, with nine directors: Marjorie Babcock, secretary, Frederick Wardwell, Donald Hutchins, Lorna Clements, Albert Foye, Joseph Devereux, William MacKaye, Arthur Thombs, and Helen Small.
1955. Development of new tier of six lots in the northern section, near the top of the hill, beginning with lot No. 606; the relocation of 120 feet of driveway at the northeast corner and elimination of a connecting link in the same area to provide five new and desirable lots.
1976. Bicentennial Year. The Frances Dighton Williams Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution in Bangor placed markers on the graves of two Revolutionary war soldiers, David Howe and Joseph Perkins, for Memorial Day. The markers they provided had a relief of a Minuteman, the year, and place to hold the flag.
1980. A 20-foot strip of land was purchased by the Town from Roger Danforth and cleared of trees on the northwest side of the cemetery. More fencing was added.
1981. 100 Norway Spruce seedlings were planted throughout the hedge area; more fencing added (a six-year project.)
1982. Capt. John and Jeanette Kennaday of Castine gave to the Castine Cemetery Association an American flag for Memorial Day. Gene Johnson of Stockton Springs donated a British flag, special in that it had been used in every Penobscot Expedition Force exercise.
1992. Castine Boy Scouts and Garden Club provide bluebird houses at the Town Cemetery.
1999. The Back Gate Road was repaired - excavated and rebuilt from the State Street entrance to the bottom of the hill. Work continues on other cemeteries in Castine - last year time was spent on the Wescott Cemetery. This year the Avery Cemetery was selected to be worked on.
Excerpts taken from Majabigwaduce - Castine, Penobscot, Brooksville. Ellenore Doudiet. 1978. (pgs. 12-13)
. . . To the northeast is the cemetery, in part purchased from, and in part given by Mr. [Mark] Hatch. The cemetery was fenced, as were most lots, to keep animals out, not to keep them in. In the late nineteenth century, and probably earlier, it had a gate for the hearse and a turnstile for people. As the tale goes: “A certain town pauper was a very large woman. At the last she had dropsy and must have weighed three hundred pounds or more. And it was winter. No casket could hold her, so a box had to be made. The box was too large for the hearse, the ox sled was too large for the gate and had to enter by an opening high on the hill. No receiving tomb, so a large grave had to be dug. The sexton passed a bill for $8.00 to the undertaker who said, ‘Why, I can’t OK this. The price for digging a grave is $5.00.’ The rejoinder was, ‘Cap’t Davis, I want you to understand I ain’t diggin’ no suller in the winter for $5.00.’”
Another episode involving the same expressive gentleman was well known. Aunt Stockbridge, an apocryphal figure, went to live with relatives in another town. “After her death, her body was brought to Castine for burial. Following this event [the sexton] asked, ‘Where do I look for my pay for buri’in’ old Aunt Stockbridge?’” And was answered, “‘ I suppose her people will pay the bill.’ ‘Well, if they don’t,’ was the vigorous response, ‘damn ‘em, UP SHE COMES!’”
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