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Old Cemetery Inscriptions.1

By Charles D. Elliot.
The land for the Old Milk Row Cemetery, which is now known as the ‘Somerville Cemetery,’ was deeded May 17, 1804, by Samuel Tufts to the following persons, viz.: Timothy Tufts, Nathaniel Hawkins, Samuel Kent, Samuel Shed, John Stone, and their associates, ‘on the express condition that the same be improved for no other purpose than for a burying place,’ etc. It was a part of the grantor's farm, and there is no reason to suppose that it had been used as a place of burial previous to 1804.

The following inscriptions were copied from its tombs and headstones in 1857 by Miss Clariana Bailey. From a casual examination which I made in the yard in 1900, I should say that more than one-half of these grave stones are gone, and all traces of the resting-places of the persons whom they commemorated are now obliterated. I have reason for thinking that in many cases this removal of headstones was intentional and for the purpose of providing places for new burials, as the cemetery for many years prior to 1893 was unsightly, uncared for, and almost an open lot. Samuel Tufts Frost, who was grandson of Samuel Tufts, is said, after the death of the original owners, to have assumed the charge of the burial ground and issued permits for graves. It is also said that any citizen of the town could obtain a lot free of cost, upon the condition that he fence and properly care for it.

In 1892 the Somerville Improvement Society petitioned the City Government, asking that the city take control of the cemetery, which petition received a favorable consideration, and resulted in an act of the Legislature in 1893 (Chapter 104) authorizing the City Council to ‘vote such sums as they may ’

1 Bead March 3, 1908.

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Samuel Tufts (2)
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