Oathill Cemetery
Newburyport, Essex Co., MA

[Transcribed by Dave Swerdfeger]


In this volume I have attempted to trace the history of some of the ancient houses and notable places within the limits of "Ould Newbury," and have also endeavored to embody in brief biographical sketches some of the facts and incidents connected with the mercantile, literary, and political life of the town.

I have been compelled to leave unnoticed many buildings and places of historic interest, and have found it impossible to sketch, even briefly, the work and influence of the distinguished men and women of Newbury birth and parentage who are now living in this community, or elsewhere, without very materially increasing the size of this volume, which is already too large for convenient use. I trust, however, that a more comprehensive work, giving the history of Newbury, Newburyport, and West Newbury from their incorporation down to the present time, will soon be undertaken by some competent and careful writer, who will collect and preserve for future generations the names of the men that are necessarily excluded from these pages, with a full and detailed account of the important events in which they have participated.

The facts and incidents contained in these sketches have been gathered from every available source; but my thanks are especially due to Sidney Perley, Esq., of Salem, Mass., and to John Ward Dean, A. M., librarian of the New England Historic-Genealogical Society of Boston, for valuable advice and assistance in preparing them for the press. I desire also to acknowledge my indebtedness to Abner C. Goodell, Jr., commissioner for the publication of the Acts and Resolves of the Province of Massachusetts Bay; to Walter K. Watkins, secretary of the Massachusetts Society of Colonial Wars, Boston, Mass.; to William Little, Esq., president of the Historical Society of Old Newbury; and to Messrs. Lothrop Withington, Isaac W. Little, Oliver B. Merrill, and many other citizens of Newburyport, for similar service in the examination of parish, town, and State records.

Great pains have been taken to verify every statement and to give the facts as they exist without exaggeration or embellishment. Many errors will undoubtedly be discovered in the text.

In some instances names and dates will be found incorrect, owing to discrepancies between town and family records. The authorities that are relied upon to corroborate and support the conclusions reached in these sketches are mentioned, in order to facilitate investigation; and the titles to estates can be verified by consulting the Essex registry of deeds, the book and page of reference being given.

Most of the topics selected for consideration in this volume are more or less intimately connected with the growth and development of the town, and have been arranged in chronological order, so far as possible, beginning with the "Landing at Parker River " and ending with " Oak Hill Cemetery." There is necessarily some repetition of statement in these pages, inasmuch as each sketch is intended to be complete in itself, and in a measure independent of those that precede it.

The illustrations are from negatives taken by Messrs. Robert E. Mosely, Carl Meinerth, Hiram P. Macintosh, Selwyn C. Reed, William C. Thompson, Edward E. Bartlett, and John Osgood.. Some of these negatives were made expressly for this work, while others are more than thirty years old and represent views and scenes that cannot now be obtained by the use of the camera.(note- illustrations are not included in this document)

I have found the task of collecting the material and preparing this book for publication somewhat difficult and laborious, and have felt obliged to omit many topics that would naturally find a place in a work of this description; but, notwithstanding its many imperfections and deficiencies, I venture to offer it to the public as my humble contribution to the history of my native town.


In the month of January, 1842, Rev. Thomas B. Fox, pastor of the First Religious Society of Newburyport, aided by several interested members of his own parish and by other prominent citizens of the town, formed an association for the purpose of providing and maintaining a cemetery of suitable proportions, to be tastefully arranged and properly cared for. May 13, 1842, the subscribers to the association bought an estate on the southeasterly side of the Newburyport turnpike (now State Street), belonging to the heirs of the late Moses Brown, at the rate of $200 per acre. On the twentieth day of June, 1842, the association was organized and incorporated under the Revised Statutes of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The grounds, made attractive with flowers and shrubbery, and provided with suitable avenues and walks, were consecrated, in the presence of a large audience, Thursday afternoon, July 21, 1842. The exercises, held under the shade of stately and venerable oak trees still standing on the hillside, were simple and impressive.

Four days after the consecration, Charles Lord, a young son of Moses Lord, was buried near the spot where these exercises were held; and a day or two later another grave was made in that immediate vicinity to receive the body of Sarah Miles Greenwood, wife of Hon. George Lunt. Other interments soon followed. The total number of burials in the cemetery to Jan. 1, 1896, exceeds thirty-six hundred.

In 1855, a new entrance, more convenient and accessible, was made by constructing a short avenue from the old turnpike, nearly opposite Greenleaf Street, through land purchased by the proprietors for that purpose. This new entrance was subsequently improved and ornamented by an imposing granite gateway, erected by John S. Tappan, Esq., of New York City, at his own expense.

The cemetery has been enlarged from time to time by the purchase of adjoining land and now covers an area of twenty-five acres. Well-graded walks and driveways, sculptured monuments of artistic design and workmanship, ornamental plants and shrubbery, render the place interesting and attractive during the summer months. From the summit of the hill, looking westward, a wide and extended view of the surrounding country may be seen, while the eastern outlook reveals, half hidden through the trees, glimpses of the river and the sea beyond.

A new avenue, leading from Parker Street, and connecting with other driveways in the cemetery, was laid out in 1894. At the entrance to this avenue a gateway has recently been erected by John T. Brown, Esq., of Newburyport, in memory of his wife, who is buried within sight of this memorial gift of stone and bronze.

The number of graves in this silent city of the dead is constantly increasing. Many who have been prominent in the mercantile, professional, or social life of Newburyport rest from their labors in this consecrated ground.

A few names and dates, taken from the monuments standing there, read as follows:
  • John Bromfield, born in Newburyport April 11, 1779; died in Boston Dec. 9, 1849. Founder of the Bromfield fund, established for the purpose of providing shade trees and improving the sidewalks of the town of Newburyport.

  • William Bartlet, born in Newburyport Jan. 31, 1748; died Feb. 8, 1841. A prominent and successful merchant, and one of the founders and generous benefactors of the Andover Theological Seminary.

  • Rev. John Andrews, born in Hingham March 3, 1764; died in Newburyport Aug. 17, 1845. For more than forty years pastor of the First Religious Society in Newburyport.

  • David Perkins Page, born in Epping, N.H., July 4, 1810: died at Albany, N. Y., January 1, 1848. Preceptor of the English High School, Newburyport, and first principal of the State Normal School at Albany, N.Y.

  • Rev. Daniel Dana, D. D., born in Ipswich July 24, 1771; died in Newburyport Aug. 26, 1859. Pastor of the First and Second Presbyterian churches, Newburyport, and president of Dartmouth College, Hanover, N.H.

  • Rev. Luther F. Dimmick, born in Shaftesbury, Vt., Nov. 15, 1790; died in Newburyport May 16, 1860. For nearly forty-one years pastor of the North Congregational Society of Newburyport.

  • William Wheelwright, born in Newburyport March 16, 1798: died in London, Eng., Sept. 26, 1873. For many years engaged in important steamship and railroad enterprises in South America and founder of the "Wheelwright Fund," the income of which is applied to the assistance of young men of the city of Newburyport possessing the necessary qualifications and desiring to obtaining a scientific education.

  • Rev. Leonard Withington, born in Dorchester Aug. 9, 1789: died at Newbury, Mass., April 26, 1885. Active pastor of the First Church in Newbury from Oct. 31, 1816, to Oct. 31, 1858; afterward senior pastor until the day of his death.

  • Rev. William S. Bartlet, A. M., born in Newburyport April 8, 1809; died in Chelsea. Mass., Dec. 12, 1883. For fifteen years rector of St. Luke's (Episcopal) Church, Chelsea, Mass., and afterward registrar of the diocese of Massachusetts for eighteen years.

  • Rev. Randolph Campbell, born in Woodbridge, N.J., Dec. 31, 1809; died in Newburyport Aug. 9, 1886. Pastor of the Temple Street Church, Newburyport, from 1837 to 1877.

  • Hon. George Lunt, born in Newburyport Dec. 31, 1803: died in Scituate, Mass., May 16, 1885. Lawyer, poet, and journalist.

  • Rev. Samuel L. Caldwell, LL.D., born in Newburyport Nov. 13, 1820; died in Providence, R.I., Sept. 26, 1889. Pastor of the First Baptist Church, Bangor, Me., and of the First Baptist Church, Providence, R.I. Professor of Ecclesiastical History, Newton Theological Seminary, and president of Vassar College for seven years.

  • James Parton, born in Canterbury, Eng., Feb. 9, 1822; died in Newburyport Oct. 17, 1891, aged 69 years, 8 months. Biographical writer and contributor to the periodical literature of the day.

  • Hon. Eben Francis Stone, born in Newburyport Aug. 3, 1822: died January 22, 1893. A successful practitioner of the law, colonel of the forty-eighth Massachusetts regiment in the War of the Rebellion, and representative to congress from the "Old Essex " district for three successive terms.

  • Near the entrance to the receiving tomb, in a lot recently conveyed to the Newburyport Bethel Society by John T. Brown, Esq., the first mate and crew of the schooner "Florida" of St. John, N.B., wrecked on Salisbury Beach Feb. 9, 1896, are buried.

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