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View of the Eastern Cemetery in Portland, Maine

Spirits Alive eNews

Spirits Alive is a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection and preservation of Portland, Maine‚Äôs historic Eastern Cemetery through a range of activities including promotion and education.

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Friendships Make Great Stocking Stuffers!

snowy Eastern Cemetery

Snowy Eastern Cemetery

For only $5, you can help Spirits Alive keep the Eastern Cemetery alive for generations to come and join as a Friend or better yet, give a friendship! Through your support, you can help us, an ALL-VOLUNTEER organization, to continue to:

Go to: to take advantage of this offer today!

Save the Dates for Winter Lectures

Saturdays, 1:30pm 3:00pm
USM Abromson Center, Wishcamper Building, Room 102

Tombstone for Andrew Mackie's Family Tomb

Tombstone for Andrew Mackie's Family Tomb

Three Saturday afternoon lectures will explore aspects of Colonial New England burial grounds: customs and symbolism in stones, stone cutter Bartlett Adams, and the status of Portland's small burial grounds. Suggested Donation: $5.00 per person at the door.

January 25: “The Art, History, and Symbolism of Early New England Gravestones”

February 22: “Bartlett Adams: Portland’s First Stone Cutter”

March 29: “The Status and Future of Portland's Forgotten Cemeteries”

Subterranean Celebrity: Thankful Cobb

Died February 13, 1749

Sketch of Thankful Cobb's Stone

Sketch of Thankful Cobb's Headstone, by CPM

Unfortunately, many stones in the Eastern Cemetery are missing. They have either been damaged—pieces scattered hither and yon, removed, or are possibly underground. The beautiful slate headstone of Thankful Cobb is in pieces according the transcription record we created in 2010. It is inscribed with a stately death's head and ornate borders on the sides. The shape is a rounded tympanum with shoulders on either side. After posting the sketch of the stone on our Facebook page, we were happy to receive this information from her descendant, Steve Cobb:

“Thankful Bangs, 1st wife of my 5 greats grandfather Capt. Samuel Cobb. They lived at the corner of Queen and King Streets (now Congress and India). He was a shipbuilder with a yard at Clay Cove where he built 150 vessels. He built attack boats at Lake George, NY in the French and Indian wars. After Thankful died he married her cousin Sarah Bangs.

Sad story: Thankful and Sam'l had a daughter Thankful who lived but 6 months. In memory, Sarah and Sam'l named their first daughter Thankful. She also lived only 6 months. I believe all three Thankfuls are buried at Eastern Cemetery.”

Indeed, all 3 Thankful Cobbs are listed as buried in the Eastern Cemetery.

Here lyes ye body of
Mrs. Thankful Cobb
Wife of Mr. Samuel
Cobb died February 13th
1749 50
in the 30th Year
of her age

Notice that her stone was inscribed with the old-style (1749) and new-style (50) years. The American colonies adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1752, shifting the start of the year from March 1st to January 1st and they called it “new style.”

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