Wednesday April 13, 2011: Lancaster Wanderings II – Middle Cemetery

The rain stopped while I was eating lunch at Sandee’s.  So I thought: let’s try the Middle Cemetery????

Well by the time I arrived it was raining again. Sigh!!  So I put my blue slicker on and bundled up. I wish I had my knit gloves! Brrr…!  I entered the Middle Cemetery on the south side rather than climb the stone wall and started reading stones. 

The list for the Middle Cemetery in online at Find A Grave.  It is alphabetized.  You can search it however once you bring up a cemetery by placing a name in the search box.  I was interested in Goss. Now someone said this Middle Cemetery was small but I don’t agree.  I think it is a good football field plus and there are lots of tombstones of various sizes, shapes and conditions. It would take several hours to go through and when it is just you alone that can be daunting.  Some are so hard to read and that is frustrating. If my hubbie was there we could break the cemetery up into halves and work it! Below are a couple of sources that can help you pin things down. I do try to find a print out in row order but that doesn’t always happen. 

I was looking for Goss descendants, these would be John Goss and Mary Wood’s descendants.  The 1/2 brother of Philip Goss II (1676 to 1747).  He remained in Lancaster and died about 1745.  They do not know where he is buried.  Mary went up to Stow and died 14 Dec. 1765. 

The Thayer Library had a copy of:  Inscriptions from burial grounds of the Nashaway towns: Lancaster, Harvard, Bolton, Leominster, Sterling, Berlin, West Boylston, and Hudson, Massachusetts, compiled by the Lancaster League of Historical Societies, Esther K. Whitcomb, editor, Heritage Books 1989.  I really need a copy of this book.  The Middle Cemetery is listed but it too is alphabetized. 

Another source is:  Births, Marriage and Death Register, Church Records and Epitaphs of Lancaster, Massachusetts, 1643-1850, Edited by Henry S. Nourse, A.M., 1993.  This is at Google Books but it is still under copyright so I believe it is a preview and you cannot download it. So you will have to find this book in a large library or genealogical society or search it using WorldCat.

Henry Stedman Nourse 1831 to 1903- on the right at the front of the cemetery

The Middle Cemetery is located on Hwy 70 – Main Street.  There is room on the street out front on a grassy area where you can park your car.  Or you can park on the side street south of the cemetery called Bigelow Gardens.  It is residential so you need to respect the driveways and only park on the right side.  If you are coming south on the highway there is a bridge you cross and a big field of green to the right with a stone fence.  As you drive along you can spot the cemetery on the left.  Coming from the south going north you might see George Hill Road on the left and you will be at the cemetery very soon.  It is on the right.
Walking the Middle Cemetery was cold and miserable but I was happy looking at the names.  They do not let you drive your car through this cemetery anymore.  They have the three maybe four roads blocked with a chain. 

This cemetery is good size, probably 1 football field.  I started on the right as you face the cemetery (east) and divided the cemetery up into sections using the roads to be the marker for a section.  So I studied the names in the first section and found one Goss name. I worked from the front to the back.

Middle Cemetery, Lancaster, MA

Mrs. Sarah E. Goss, wife of Mr. Jonas Goss
died Jan 28 1815, age 24 years

Sarah did not show on my Goss list at Find A Grave.  So it might not be a complete listing?

I moved over to work my way forward.  I didn’t find any names that would work for me. The middle section was twice as large so I decided to break it up into two sections using a big obelisk with the name Fuller on it.  I worked my way from the back to the front studying the names.  It was still raining and I was missing my gloves, my hands were really cold. How is that for dedication?

I wish I had time to document this cemetery with photos and in order of the sections and rows.  I did not so  I was reading off names as I went along and taking general pictures of the cemetery.  It was raining too hard to use my video camera at this time.  Maybe I would be able to do that the next day before I left Lancaster?

I was not getting as far as I wanted and still had a lot of ground to cover and I need to get to the Old Settlers Cemetery which was set off in the back of the Middle Cemetery. 

The Middle Cemetery is bounded on the south by a residential street, on the north by a wooded area and on the west by the Hwy 70 or Main St.  In the back it is bounded by a little cliff and the railroad.  If you walk around trying to spot the tombstones of the other cemetery you won’t see them.  You have to cross the railroad tracks!!!

Note:  I did return the following day and will talk about that experience.  I have more photos and a video and will post when I return home at the end of April.