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Youngtown Cemetery

Youngtown Entrance
Photo by MaryLee Mills

Photo by MaryLee Mills


Photo by MaryLee Mills

Youngtown Cemetery lies down a narrow lane off Route 52 near the corner of Youngtown Road.
Except for two pillars, one would think it is a driveway to a home. It is on land that was purchased by Gideon Young Sr. in the 1760s. Although he was born in New Hampshire, he moved to Lincolnville from Camden where he had married Jemima Cilley. When he died in 1801, the land was divided among his sons with Moses, the oldest, getting the homestead farm (where the Youngtown Inn is) and Gideon Jr., receiving the land on which the cemetery lies.
The first mention of the burying ground is in a deed from 1846, documenting the sale of the land from John A. Porter to Gideon Young III: land “containing about ten acres and a half reserving to sundry persons one half acre for burying ground that is now walled in.” This piece of land was mortgaged and remortgaged between John Porter and Gideon Young III.
We do not know who the first burials were, but it is suspected that Gideon Sr. and Jemima were buried on this land in 1801 and 1826, respectively. There are no known gravestones so perhaps their graves were marked by wooden crosses. The first marked Young grave is that of Gideon Young Jr. who died in 1830 (born 1766 or 1767). His wife, Phoebe Wadsworth (1772-1856), is also buried there but has no stone. Gideon III (1804-1890) and his wife Fidelia (1811-1882) have metal markers.
In 1850, John A. Porter sold four-fifths parts of a half-acre of land to Moses Young, Gideon Young, Hezekiah Heal and John H. Young to be appropriated as a burying ground. Included were “the rights of a road in the most convenient place leading from the town road to the above.” This established the land as a recorded cemetery.
In the 165 years since then, the history of the cemetery has gotten stronger. However, in the 1930s it hit a low as the land was neglected. It was then that a group of women, headed by Grace Young, came to the rescue. They had a weekly sewing circle at which they each put a dime in a jar. It was decided, probably at the suggestion of Grace, to use the money to restore the cemetery.
It was a huge project involving clearing away massive amounts of brush and resetting fallen stones. Work went on through the 1930s and ’40s and the result is that since then the cemetery has been well maintained. Grace died in 1946, and in 1951 the cemetery was dedicated to her memory and the stone pillars that mark the entrance lane were erected. In 1952, the Youngtown Cemetery Association was formed.
Youngtown was a thriving part of Lincolnville in the 1800s. Up the road from the cemetery there was a school, and across the road a store and a stave mill and the home of Dr. B. F. Young, founder of the Lincolnville Band (1870). The mill pond was beside the cemetery, fed by Youngtown Brook. There were several big farms, and Dr. Brown lived along the road just in front of the cemetery. There was a lime kiln behind the burying ground and E. H.Fernald had a granite quarry. In 1826, a 49-ton schooner was constructed on the Wadsworth Farm on the side of “Megunticook Mountain."
The area was inhabited by strong and industrious families represented in the cemetery by the Youngs, Wadsworths, Heals, Healds, Deans, Fernalds (the first marked grave is that of Palatiah Fernald, who died at age 5 in 1815), Hardys, Richards and Maddocks. Most, if not all, of these families are related to the Youngs.
Unlike many old family cemeteries, this community burying ground is very much alive. There is a strong commitment to maintaining the land and even expanding it. It now contains two acres. Additional land has come from the Young family as well as two pieces deeded by James Rutland in a swap in 1988. In 1984, Newman Hardy deeded the current access road.
Youngtown Cemetery is the ongoing story of significant people in Lincolnville’s past and present.
by Corelyn Senn
Originally published in The Camden Herald

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