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Cross Cemetery

Cross Cemetery is one of three on High Street, the others being Thomas and Fletcher. David Cross bought this land, 50 acres for $350.00, in 1803, from John and Polly Nason. Although he bought several other pieces and two lime quarries, this was his homestead farm and where he was buried when he died in 1830. There is no deed for David’s land but it appears that he left it to his widow Sarah and his two sons, John and Ansel. Several months after his death Sarah and Ansel sold their shares to John. There is no record as to whether John provided for his mother, Sarah Cushman Cross, but when she died in 1863 she also was buried in the cemetery. Ansel and his wife, Lydia Knight Cross, and John and his wives are buried there as well.
        John lived on the farm until his death in 1871. He and his first wife, Mary McGray Cross, had at least four children: Sarah J. and Ansel who each lived to age 7, Mary E. who died in her first year and Sarah Cross who lived to age 25 and married F.W. Wentworth.
        John’s second wife was Sarah Haynes Cross. Two of their children are buried in the cemetery: Mary E. who lived to age 4 years and Lucia who was under a year when she died. When John died in1871 he left Sarah with at least 6 living daughters and 3 sons. Son Israel was the administrator of the estate and in 1872, he sold it to Henry Knight for $1,400. By then the estate included about 175 acres. This is the first time the cemetery is mentioned: “Reserving 20 square rods of said premises now occupied for a graveyard.”
        We do not know where John’s widow, Sarah Haynes Cross, lived with her children but in 1873 she died leaving quite a complete will. Her youngest child was Herbert, age 12, and he received $200.00 as did fourteen year-old Florence. Hellen, aged sixteen, received $150.00 while Orrissa, aged eighteen, received $40.00 and Clara aged twenty received $50.00. Married daughter, Ellen Watson received a red heifer while Mary Cross Thomas received the 6 year-old black cow and older son Israel received a pair of steers. All the daughters as well as Herbert received a silver teaspoon and the unmarried daughters and Herbert received a second one. The unmarried daughters and Herbert received one featherbed and bedding for one bed. Son Frederick, whom she believed to be in Oregon, received something but the writing has faded so much it is no longer legible but he had to come home to receive it.
        In 1873, five months after Henry Knight purchased the Cross Farm, he sold it to Lucius Knight. It remained in his family until 1914 when his widow, Sarah, sold it to John Johnson. In this deed the burying ground is no longer mentioned. From him it went to his son and, at the time it must have been good blueberry land as the father deeded to himself the right to blueberries for his natural life. From here on the land changed hands six times before the burying ground reappeared in a deed. It was not until Jeanette Robbins, who received the land from her husband, sold it that the cemetery gained recognition again. In her deed from 1975, she included, “Excepting and reserving therefrom the rights of others in the so-called Cross Cemetery, measuring 60’X70’ and located in the northwest corner of said property.” Thus she preserved the cemetery for all. Too many cemeteries have been lost because people neglected or refused to do this: there is the cemetery a farmer fenced as a pig yard and the pigs rooted up stones, and how many cemeteries have been bulldozed? There are landowners who don’t let anyone in because they don’t understand that a cemetery on their property does not belong to them but to the descendants of those buried there. If you have an old cemetery on your property make sure it is properly recorded and if it is not, please do it for those buried there, their descendants, historians, genealogists and all those who care.

Article by Corelyn Senn
January 2015
Originally published in
The Camden Herald

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