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Hills Cemetery



Hills Cemetery, the town cemetery in the Hills District (Hills District refers to School District Number 8) lies on Vancycle Road. It is a well-known cemetery that seemed historically pretty straightforward until I started looking into it. It turns out that there is much we don’t know.
        The earliest dated gravestone is that of Martha Morse, wife of John Morse, who died Feb. 3, 1824. However, in searching to see whose land this burying ground was on, I discovered that there is reference to a “burying ground” in 1820. I believe the land was part of George Ulmer’s estate and that he sold it to Joseph Prescott in 1800. However, when Joseph Prescott sold his land, there is no mention of a burying ground.
         In April 1820, when William Prescott sold neighboring land to Joseph Prescott, included in it was a 1 1/2-acre parcel described as “beginning at the road at the Northeast corner of Jeremiah Prescott’s lot on which he now lives thence northwest on said road up to the burying ground.” This is the first mention I have found of the burying ground, and that only as a boundary.
        In February 1824, Joseph Prescott sold the same half-acre to Enoch Knight, citing the boundaries this time as beginning on the road leading to Isaac Morse’s land from Abigail Prescott’s land, “thence on said road to the graveyard fence, thence on said fence to the bank of the brook, thence on said bank of the brook to said Abigail’s land.”
         In September 1829, John Prescott sold land to Charles Richards that “bounded on the burying ground to the top of the bank of the brook on Enoch Knight’s land,” and in October 1833, Enoch Knight sold land to Isaac Hills but excepted from it the same 1 1/2 acres of land that he had bought from Joseph Prescott on the road leading from the northeast corner of Abigail Prescott’s land to the graveyard.
         In none of these deeds, nor in any others I can find, does it state on whose land the graveyard lies or whose burying ground it was. Not until 1884 is there anything definitive about ownership of the burying ground. Francis Russ deeded to the Inhabitants of Lincolnville, for $25, a piece of land for the enlargement of the burying ground containing 25 square rods that was added on to the lower end of the cemetery.
         In 1911, Everett Hills deeded, also for $25, to the inhabitants of Lincolnville, one-third of an acre known as the Hills Cemetery lot and with a full description of its boundaries. He exempted therefrom three lots already sold to Asa Pitcher, Melville Hills and Mrs. Stuart, which were to be used as a cemetery.
         In 1984, Kenneth Kuenster sold Taylor Mudge 165 acres and exempted the corner lot occupied by Farmer’s Pride Grange and the three cemetery lots heretofore deeded by Francis Russ, and one-third acre from the westerly side of the land which was deeded to the town of Lincolnville for burial purposes. Thus is recorded the "Town Cemetery in the Hills District."
         The Hills family were prominent in the area. Isaac Hills had extensive holdings, most probably including the cemetery in 1833, and his son Jason owned the 234-acre homestead farm across from the burying ground (currently Arrarat Farm, formerly Kelmscott). Jason and his son Everett were both postmasters at the Post Office in the Grange.
The cemetery is on a hillside overlooking Pitcher Pond and the surrounding hills. The upper part is the oldest. There are 47 members of the Hills family buried here. Also here are the graves of the Goulds, who lived on the old Gould Road leading from Vancycle to their farm and mill on the Ducktrap River, now Coastal Mountains land, as well as Cilleys, Drinkwaters, MIllers and other old families. Neil Welliver, the artist, and his family are buried in the lower section.
         As the oldest graves are at the top of the hill, might the open places there hold burials from before 1820, perhaps originally marked by wooden crosses?
         This cemetery begs for more research. I will keep you posted.


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

Hills sign
Photo by MaryLee Mills

Hills
Photo by MaryLee Mills

Hills
Photo by MaryLee Mills



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