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Ulmer Cemetery

Ulmer Cemetery after restoration

Howe Point or Ulmer Cemetery  is located on the point overlooking Ducktrap Harbor. It is a small cemetery in a very picturesque spot that has seen its share of neglect. In 1976, Samuel and Eleanor Beverage of North Haven wrote multiple times to the Selectmen to point out  that many stones had fallen over and those that were standing were lost in the bushes. It appears that no one took any interest and no one felt any responsibility. So, it was significant when Cecil Dennison, who had to crawl on his hands and knees the first time he visited the cemetery, decided to initiate a complete renovation in 2002. Clearing away the vegetation was a huge task but even more daunting was the restoration of the fallen stones. Visitors to the cemetery had tried to preserve them by leaning them up against  trees and although this seems like a good idea it means that unless a stone can be matched to a base no one knows where it came from and it is left to a guess. It is best to leave a stone where it is and inform your town office.

The first burial in this cemetery was that of 3 year-old Sukey Ulmer, daughter of George and Polly Ulmer, who drowned in the Ducktrap River in 1789.  Her  deteriorating gravestone, once leaning against a tree, has been reset The second burial is said to be that of a baby Polly Ulmer was carrying when Sukey drowned. She soon had either a miscarriage or a stillbirth of the baby they named George. No stone for him has been found.

The Ulmers lived in the big house which still stands on the rise at the corner of RT 1 and South Cobbtown Road, just above the river. George Ulmer  was an important part of the development of Lincolnville and was its wealthiest citizen. As Land Agent for Gen. Knox he owned almost 2,000 acres of land including a tract from Ducktrap Harbor to the far end of Pitcher Pond. With his brother, Philip, he logged the woods, built saw mills to turn trees into lumber, built ships of the lumber to take more lumber and other products to distant ports and bring back new goods which sold in their stores. However, between 1799 and 1812, Ulmer’s wealth and position completely collapsed and he was forced to move to his son-in-laws land at the outlet of Pitcher Pond.

The other Ulmers buried here are Major Philip Ulmer (d. 1816, age 65 years) and his wife, Christiana (d.1829, age 75 years). Major Ulmer was a Revolutionary War hero  who fought in all of the major battles. After the war he came to Lincolnville where he went into business with his brother. He was the second wealthiest citizen but his fortunes failed with his brother’s and after he died, his widow was left penniless, begging for a military widow’s pension from the government.

Elizabeth Drinkwater, first wife of Capt. Wyman Drinkwater of North Cobbtown Rd, was buried here in 1838  at age 26. Close neighbors of the Ulmers, the Wades and the Carvers, chose this place also. Young Carver children, Charles, Dennis and Roscoe, were buried as early as 1826, 1830, and 1848 respectively. The parents, for the most part, lived into the second half of the 1800’s.The Studley and the Stevens families have burials here.

Isaac and Deborah Carver were originally buried in this cemetery but it is said that on his deathbed their son James demanded that his wife move them to Maplewood or she would not inherit their house. They were moved. The stones, but perhaps not the bodies, of his parents, Benjamin and Lucinda Carver were also moved to Maplewood. A Ground Penetrating Radar study shows some empty graves  and others that may be missing gravestones. Determining the boundaries of the cemetery has proven difficult as well.

In the 1800’s the cemetery was readily accessible with a carriage road leading from Rt 1 directly to it. The land was cleared giving a view out over the water and a photograph exists of a large obelisk there. The obelisk has disappeared with no record of any writing on it. Like most of our cemeteries, more research is needed to better understand this historic place.
Written by Corelyn Senn

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