Looking for something to do that will raise your spirits?
On Sunday, Nov. 3 at 10:30 a.m. there will be an All Souls’ Day cemetery walk held in the historic Marlow Village Cemetery on Church Street. This free event is open to the public and is co-sponsored by the Marlow United Methodist Church, the Marlow Historical Society and the Marlow Cemetery trustees.
During this one-hour program, guests will meet 10 of our “dearly departed” in the oldest section of the cemetery that was purchased by the town from the Washburn family in 1819. This 100th anniversary commemoration will feature 10 costumed re-enactors who will portray:
• Abigail (Pratt) Knight (1791-1844), a grieving mother
• Gilman Tenney (1810-1856), who waits patiently for his fallen stone to again point heavenward
• Bethiah Washburn (1760-1849), the spinster who gave birth to a village
• Martin Huntley (1779-1859), the mill owner who became the grandfather of an opera singer
• Susannah (Pierce) Farley, cousin of the 14th President of the United States
• Horace Gee (1815-1908), a “kind husband and father” who was a remarkably honest man
• Sally Brigham (1776-1863), a maiden aunt whose tongue was sharper than a needle
• Ezra Huntley (1825-1902), a Civil War corporal who guarded the Lincoln conspirators
• Fanny (Howard) Baker (1796-1862), the good doctor’s wife
• Joseph Dupies (1838-1912), an early immigrant from Canada.
Traditionally, All Souls’ Day takes place in November as a remembrance of deceased relatives.
“It is impossible to live meaningful lives today if we don’t remember yesterday and have hope for tomorrow,” remarks Rev. Todd Layton, pastor of the Marlow United Methodist Church.
Maria Baril, president of the Marlow Historical Society agreed. “The society is pleased to partner with the church and the Marlow Cemetery trustees to share some remarkable stories about our town’s earliest residents, and bring life and personality to historical facts,” she said.
According to Dan Reed, chairman of the Marlow Cemetery trustees, there are approximately 500 graves in the original section of the cemetery and more than 1,900 in total.
“The cemetery trustees are continuing to work to preserve the gravestones and make the cemetery more accessible to visitors in person and online,” he said. “We haven’t yet accomplished nearly what we hope to, and it’s a continuation of what the trustees have done for many years.”
To date, more than 800 memorials in the Marlow Village Cemetery have been added to the free online database, Find-A-Grave at findagrave.com. Local historian Tracy Messer has been using the free Find-A-Grave mobile app to upload photographs of headstones, GPS coordinates, biographical information and hypertext links that connect immediate family members wherever they may be buried.
“In addition to being sacred final resting places, cemeteries also serve as museums, archives, art galleries, memorial parks and classrooms,” Messer said.
With the help of other local volunteers, Marlow is making steady progress toward its eventual goal of adding memorials for every grave in town into the Find-A-Grave database. Despite the magnitude of the task, Messer is confident it will happen sooner than later.
“Hopefully, this cemetery walk will be the first of more to come as we continue creating first-person narratives. There are literally hundreds of stories in Marlow just waiting to be told,” he said.
In the event of inclement weather, a notice will be posted on the Marlow Historical Society’s website at marlownewhampshire.org to indicate the event shall be postponed until 10:30 a.m. the following Sunday, Nov. 10. For further information, contact Maria Baril at 446-2292.