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Fletcher Cemetery

 


        Fletcher Cemetery, also known as Lassell, is one of three cemeteries on High Street. Brothers Ephraim and Jonathan Fletcher were two of the first settlers in that area, arriving there in 1790 . Jonathan came from Barrettstown (Hope) where he was given 100 acres through the Waldo Patent. He cleared the land and built a cabin and lived there for two years before selling it and moving to New Canaan where he purchased several land parcels totaling over 400 acres.
        Ephraim, who served several terms in the legislature and held the title of Esquire, claimed land in the High Street area but was one of the settlers listed by Henry Knox as holding it illegally. By 1800, Knox was making agreements with Ephraim to “quiet” his claims. Between 1800 and 1801, Ephraim had settled claims with Knox for over 400 acres of land. Sometime after 1811, Ephraim purchased another 100 acres from Nathaniel Milliken. This piece of land was originally granted, in 1801, to Benjamin Daggett, and then sold by Daggett to Nathaniel Milliken in 1811. When Milliken sold it to Ephraim the deed was not recorded but Ephraim refers to it as the land he purchased from Nathaniel.
        This was the land on which he lived and on which, when he sold it to his son, Francis Fletcher 2nd he excepted “the burying ground to the eastwards of the barn that is now walled in below the road being within the above bounded premises which is not considered conveyed by this deed.” Over time that old dirt road has been widened so much that it cuts into the cemetery and the closest stones have to be protected in winter from the snow plows.
        Francis Fletcher, a third brother came with the others at age 15 and by 1801 had purchased land of his own. A fourth brother, Jeremiah, came at age 12 and stayed with his older brothers for two years and then moved back to New Ipswich, NH, the family home.
        On March 20, 1834, Ephraim sold the 100 acres with the cemetery to his son, Francis 2nd for $100.00. On the same day, Francis sold the land to William Sprague for $1,700 and William immediately mortgaged it to Francis for $1,500.00. William lived on the land until 1855, when he sold it to Jerome Watson for $2,000.00 who mortgaged it back to William. Jerome then sold it to his father, John, in 1886. It was divided into 500 acre parcels for awhile and had a number of owners but in 1874, Cornelius Thomas sold the entire 100 acres to Lewis Leadbetter who left it to his daughter Matilda Lassell in 1890. She owned it until 1941 and during that time the cemetery also became known as Lassell. Cemetery.
        Although there are many field stones which make one wonder who were the first burials there, the earliest established stone is that of Orinda Bartlett, the wife of Thomas Bartlett and daughter of Ephraim and Lydia (Knight) Fletcher who died in 1818, at age 24. There are some 84 full stones in the cemetery representing 18 surnames: Bartlett, Cox, Dean, Davis, Fletcher, Fowler, Hall, Knight, Leadbetter, Lewis, Lovett, Martin, Milliken, Moody, Smith, Sprague, Thomas and Whitmore. The Spragues and Olive Leadbetter, have a connection only to the land but the rest, including the Millikens, who have a land connection, are related to the Fletcher family.
        The early Fletchers are all buried here: Ephraim and his wife Lydia Knight, Jonathan and his second wife, Prudence Mero, Francis and his wife, Hanna Fisk and Ephraim’s son, Francis 2nd who married Lucy Knight and, following her death married his cousin, Mary Fletcher, daughter of Jonathan and Ruth Irish Fletcher. There is a gravestone that says: Little Benny, Died Jan, 28, 1851, AE 2 y’s 7m’s. We do not know whose child he was; perhaps the son of Benjamin and Lydia Prescott Heal who appears in the 1850 census. The Heals were related to both the Thomases and the Fletchers . The Fletchers are a large and significant Lincolnville family.

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




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