Old Hill Burying Ground ~
established in a "Motion of Comity"
© 2006Bright iDear
With the Full Sturgeon Moon of the old style calendar year March 25, 2009 - March 24, 2010, termed "The Year of Charting (New) Courses" ~ a link within will point to the folio on Old Hill Burying Grounds ~ which will be part of the growing portfolio, "Reflections of the Waterside ... throughout
the generations" ~ an imaginative retrospective of the Waterside community offering digitized imagery of old and new "pictures worth (many) a thousand words."
Seek and ye shall find these as well as "community in the works" to preserve this sacred grounds.
© 2004 Bright iDear
|Visit this link without to review the Web page on Old Hill Burying Ground presented at A Very Grave Matter. This external link offered with permission of the www.gravematter.com Web site webmaster and documentarian Jenn Marcelais. A native of the Newburyport and Amesbury area, Jenn will be home to join in this year's Yankee Homecoming events ~ and offer "certain knowledge and mere motion" to some history and "history in the making" surrounding Old Hill Burying Grounds and other sacred enclosures. Be sure to seek her out.|
John J. Currier's "Ould Newbury ~ Historical and Biographical Sketches"
the Chapter on Old Hill Burying Ground cites the
Waterside Third Parish of Newbury records that document the process
by which suitable accomodations for both the education of children and
burial of the dead would be provided within the bounds of the newly organized
On November 26, 1729 the Waterside people voted that "the Comity (as the word 'committee' was spelled in old annals, this 'comity' of two being Wm. Johnson and Wm. Titcomb) to looke for out for a place for a schoole house be a comity to looke out for a place for a burial place." It would follow that:
- On March 17, 1729-30 (Old Style calendar dating) the Comitys suggestions were voted upon that a schoolhouse be located on High Street between Fish (now State) and Queen (now Market) Street and the hill on the southwesterly side of Frog Pond be taken as a burying ground, and enclosed with a board fence.
- On March
25, 1741 it was voted that
Dr. Joshua Beck and Ambrose Berry be a comity to take care that the
Burying Place in sd Parish be fenced in with rocks."
- March 29, 2005 marked the 275th year milestone since assessors were authorized to enclose with a board fence the area known as Snelling's Hill as a burial place.
- The old style year (March 25, 2006 - March 24, 2007, termed "The Year of Common Ground" marked the 265th year milestone that a comity "take care" that said burying place be fenced in with rocks. It also marked a generational milestone (two generation of 30 years each) since the Veteran Cemetery was commemorated.
of these milestones in history ~ there is a mindset to make the strides
to restore and preserve Old Hill Burying Ground ~ and address the other
important historical burial places within the bounds of Newburyport
which are considered publically owned and under the juridiction of the
City of Newburyport ~ as well as those sacred places under the auspices
of a trust such as Sawyer Hill. In addition to Old Hill Burying Ground,
New Hill Burying Ground (AKA Highland Cemetery) is directly under the
care of the City of Newburyport's Department of Public Works.
 Technically, adding 11 days to convert form the old style Julian calendar to Gregorian calendar (see link without) this anniversary also would be remarked on December 7th.
 This is certain knowledge ascertained from parole evidence, and a fact included in Dick Cunningham's "The Burying Grounds of Old Newbury" offered by the Newbury 375th Committee. Further insight on this Web site. As Director of Public Works --- the keepers of these grounds --- Tony Furnari has expressed heartfelt concern about this historic burial site and seems most pleased to join in a Motion of Comity to bring momentum to this cause. It is however, a matter of priorities.
As for the status of the wall, the project hinges on the necessary appropriations (and labor) to perform the work. The new administration has been engaged, with Mayor Moak personally apprised of the earlier concerns expressed to prior administrations, including the issue discussed during a ward meeting in September 2004. Coinicidentally, these discussions about the wall ensued on the 265th year milestone mentioned above.
In an earlier coincidence, the Director of Heritage Preservation at the Essex National Heritage Commission (link without), Bill Steelman (who coincidentally resides in ward 3) was at the (prior) Mayors ward meeting when the issue of the deteriorating cemetery wall along Auburn Street surfaced. Commentary was made about the NEHA/NEHC partnership grants as a potential funding source. (Those grant proposals are typically due in April, and require matching funds.) The NEHC would be a likely source for a broader effort which would assist in this momentum. Thankfully, in the 2005 Reconnaissance Report (to inventory the Massachusetts Heritage Landscape in Essex County) jointly conducted by the NEHC and the Massachusetts Deparment of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) included the 5.3 acres of city-owned historic Old Hill Burying Ground (along with New Hill Burying Ground).