Graveyard visit: Brigham Street Cemetery (Northborough)

With Spring fully arrived, I’ve decided to revisit a few smaller graveyards in my area and take few photos for your edification. Smaller yards mean that the Homunculus has less of a chance to grow restless.

Today’s graveyard is the Brigham Street Cemetery (aka First Burying Place) in Northborough, Massachusetts.

Here are the Findagrave and MACRIS (click on INV icon for PDF file) entries for the graveyard. To summarize, Northborough (like South- and West-) was originally part of Marlborough, eventually breaking away from the parent community as settlements expanded away from the original village. This site was close to the original meeting house but was superseded by the Howard Street Cemetery.

The graveyard is the oldest in Northborough, dating to around 1727. Lambert’s A Guide to Massachusetts Cemeteries mistakenly says that the burials were all removed, but there are at least four burials at this site, and likely more since there are four intact gravestones and three more rock piles (cairns) like those placed over the remaining graves.

Of the four intact gravestones, three are in the Merrimack Valley style, with a stylized human face and geometric rosettes. These stones (of slate, probably carved by Jonathan Worcester) have the distinctive headboard shape, with rounded timpanums and shoulders which tapers towards the bottom, that are the hallmarks of this style of early gravestone. The fourth stone has a winged skull; sorry my picture cuts off the right shoulder a bit.

There is no parking beyond street, but the open area allows you to pull off to the side Brigham Street safely. The few stones are to the northeast of the plaque, about 30 yards.

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