While others might go in search of ghosts during the month of October, we usually can be found in other places…though no less spooky: historic burial grounds and cemeteries.
Luckily, New England is chock full of old stones!
There are 3 general designs being used during this time period:
- The winged death’s-head which began as very ornate and then became less elaborate.
- The winged cherub, which looks like a much more pleasant version of the death’s-head.
- Finally, somewhere near the turn of the 1800s comes the willow tree and urn and the depersonalization of death or religion.
We found these awesome stones in a small village called New Salem, MA. It probably is no surprise looking at the town’s name to learn that the original settlers came from Salem, MA. In fact, New Salem was governed by “old” Salem until 1753! Farming was the main source of income, but there were also saw and gristmills in the town. While at its height, New Salem had 2,146 people living there in 1820, today there are fewer than 1,000 people living there.
Remember when you are tromping through these stones that even though they have survived for a very long time, many are incredibly fragile. Gravestone rubbings are illegal in many towns and cities (including Boston) and can damage the stones. Putting things like chalk or shaving cream on stones is also illegal and can do great damage as well. If you need to figure out what a stone says, use a mirror to reflect the light or manipulate the image later in photoshop to make it easier!
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