Friday, August 20, 2010

Day 61

It was a hot day in the sun. The ancestors and I were baking away but at least the humidity was reasonable.

I arrived at Phipps Cemetery (Charlestown/Boston) at 8:45 and sure enough, the gate was unlocked. Entering a cemetery for the first time is always a bit daunting. Especially when all you have are the names of ancestors - no plan for the cemetery or any idea where anyone is buried. So I started at the top of the hill. This seemed to be home for the oldest graves. After 2.5 hours I couldn't find Seth Sweetser (d. 1662) for love nor money. However, down the hill, after much searching, I found Benjamin Sweetser Sr. It is a lovely stone which also states his birthdate in Tring, England and the date he emigrated (1633). He died July 22, 1718 in the 86th year of his age. His stone also states that his son Seth is buried with him. This "uncle"died at age 65 in 1731. I also found Richard Sweetser (another of Benjamin's sons) on the other side of the cemetery as well as one of Seth's Jr.'s daughters. But no Seth Sr. Oh well, an 8 great grandfather find is worth celebrating. Here is a photo of Seth's grave stone I found on another website plus my photo of Benjamin's stone.

From Phipps I drove north to the town of Rowley. Here I was looking for Phineas Dodge and Lucy Nelson Dodge. They are the parents of Rev. William Bradford Dodge who moved from NYC to Milburn, IL in 1850. His farm is where James Bradford Tukey was sent as a boy because of his asthma. The cemetery was next to town hall but pretty big. This time I knew the stones were marble and which row and section they were in but no idea how the numbering system worked. I started at the back. One of the first things I stumbled on was a large monument to the Dodges and the Doles. Sarah Dole married Rev. Wm Bradford Dodge and we have never found her parents. The names on the monument include individuals who could be Sarah's parents, grandparents and great-grandparents. At least it is a place to start looking. While I was taking photos, a man drove up and asked if I was researching Dodges. He too is a Dodge but some very distant cousin. He showed me another Dodge monument with 3 Phineas Dodges mentioned - just not ours. Still, it was good to know there are other relatives shaking the ancestral tree. Finally, 8th row from the front of the cemetery, I found Lucy and Phineas. His stone is particularly worn, but hers is legible.

Finally, I made my way to Beverly. I went to the address - no cemetery. I tried a different address using Google AND the GPS - no luck. Finally went in town to the library. They have the cemetery listed - but no address. I headed for the Old Burying Grounds just to see if that might be the place. Tons of Dodges - we are in Dodge country - and Conants - but the graves were "too late" (translated: 18th century and I needed 17th century).

Cousin Doug rescued me by calling and giving me directions to their in town apartment. Right near Tufts, it is the perfect solution for a shorter daily commute. Emily greeted me. She took her GMATs today for grad school and did spectacularly!! Kudos for all her studying - it really paid off. The 3 of us had a nice Mexican dinner before I headed back to the house in Acton. FYI: I did some more research on the missing cemetery and solved the mystery. You have to walk between several houses and the 84 graves are in someone's backyard. YIKES - I'll have to tackle this another day.

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