Spirits Alive at the Eastern Cemetery | eNews, August 2014

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Summer Tours and Trip Advisor

Always meant to take a tour of the Eastern Cemetery? In town for a visit and want to learn about local history through a quirky old burial ground? We've got you covered. We give you a choice of tours and days:

Portland's First Stonecutter: Bartlett Adams

Saturdays: August 30, September 27 & October 25

Sally Smith gravestone

Sally Smith gravestone carved by Bartlett Adams

Eastern Cemetery Historic Tours

Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays

Barb points at Alden monument

Barb explains the Alden monument to a group of cemetery trekkers.

If you have taken a tour, please share with others through our page on Trip Advisor. We want to get the word out about this historic place to teach and help fund our conservation efforts. Find out more about our tours.

Dead House Renovation

Dead House renovation

The Dead House deconstructed in preparation for a new foundation. Photo by Barb Hager

If you've happened by the cemetery lately, you might have noticed some orange fencing and heavy equipment. The Dead House has a new foundation! In order to pour a concrete slab, the contractor dismantled the house piece-by-piece. It has since been reconstructed and awaits finishing and new shingles. This project was funded through encouragement by Spirits Alive and by the City of Portland, Maine.

Volunteer Opportunities

Stone Conservation Workdays

Next workday: Saturday, August 30

We will teach you the proper ways to clean gravestones and do simple resets as you help us conserve our precious stones. We have many days planned throughout the summer.

conservation team levels a gravestone

It takes a team to reset a gravestone! Photo by Barb Hager

Photography Project

Summer and Fall

Now in our 3rd year of the project, our goal is to finish photographing every marker in the Eastern Cemetery. So far, we've created over 3,000 images, but we need your help.

sharon brushes a gravestone

Sharon brushes off a gravestone in order to take a nice photograph.

Subterranean Celebrity: Francis Martin

Died 1836

There are several markers inscribed with Irish names in the Eastern Cemetery. According to an article on the Maine Irish Heritage Trail website by Matthew Jude Barker, "It is interesting to note that at least two African-American Catholics are buried in the cemetery. Mary Martin, the wife of Francis, died in February 1822, age 42. Her husband died in 1836, at the age of 64." Francis Martin's slate headstone includes the initials IHS as well as a cross with a heart at its base. There are many different explanations for what IHS means, but it is most definitely related to Christianity.

In memory of
Mr. Francis Martin,
died Feb. 21, 1836,
AEt. 64.
And art thou gone,
And art thou no longer mine,
Far from affliction, toil and care,
His happy soul has fled,
His breathless body, shall slumber here,
Among the silent dead.

Francis Martin's headstone. Photo by Walt Haddock

Francis Martin's headstone detail showing IHS, the cross and heart. Photo by Walt Haddock

$5 Friendships Help the Eastern Cemetery

Support the Eastern Cemetery with your giving

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

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