Spirits Alive at the Eastern Cemetery | eNews, February 2015

Skip Navigation

Disease, Disasters, and More—Causes of Death in Early New England

Saturday, February 28, 2015
1:30 PM
USM Wishcamper Center

label for bitters, 1851

How about some bitters to cure your “fever & ague, dyspepsia, asthma & general debility?”
Source: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

"Disease, Disasters, and More—Causes of Death in Early New England" will be presented by Richard Kahn M.D, a practicing physician, medical historian, lecturer and author living in Tenant's Harbor. He will help us understand the state of healing arts and many of the illnesses and hazards that ravaged the 17th and 18th century settlements in what is now Maine.

Find out more about the March roundtable. Our lecture series is open to the public and free. Donations of any amount are gladly accepted at the door. All funds will be used for stone conservation in Eastern Cemetery.

Subterranean Celebrity: James Bannatyne

Died October 29, 1842

James Bannatyne headstone

Photo by Barbara Hager

In 1842, temperance was a hot topic. Maine was less than a decade from enacting prohibition, and speakers like James Bannatyne had been lecturing crowds on the evils of indulgence in alcohol. Bannatyne died at of tuberculosis, and his headstone was purchased by the Young Men’s Temperance Society (of which Neal Dow was a member). The top reads “A Stranger’s Grave.” This is likely not because he was unknown, but because he was a Scottish man without family in a foreign land.

James Bannatyne
Scotia's Gifted Child
A man of rare worth
in Simplicity, Gentleness,
Natural Talents,
Sound Development,
and of Eloquence
Oct 29, 1842.
Æt. 34.
Erected by the Young Men's Temperance Society

We conserved his headstone this past summer, and there are photos of how it used to look. An index of all of our past Subterranean Celebrities is available.

The Conservation of James Bannatyne's Headstone

A Project of the Spirits Alive Stoners

The headstone of our Subterranean Celebrity had fallen and broken, the top partly covered in sod. In spring 2014, Spirits Alive determined it was in good enough shape for conservation.

Bannatyne headstone after cleaning

A previous adhesive repair had failed, and the top was laying face up in the dirt. The bottom remained planted in the earth, although leaning. This image shows the stone after a cleaning.

Bannatyne headstone getting washed

The first phase included a simple wash and light scrub. Janet sprays a diluted mix of water and D2 on the surface. D2 is a biocide that penetrates the porous stone to kill organic life at its root.

Bannatyne headstone getting lots of attention

The process of cleaning the stone includes a simple water and D2 solution, very soft brushes (and a light touch), and a plastic scraper to gently get inside the inscription.

James Bannatyne's headstone is once again standing in once piece. If you get a chance to visit this season, take a look! After you enter the Congress Street gates, walk up Funeral Lane for a bit, and before you get to the turn and the tomb area, look left. His stone is 7 rows in. It's a big, beautiful piece of historic artwork.

If you’re interested in Stone Conservation & Preservation, join us this season! We train volunteers, and we have a lot of fun doing something nice for the community and this sacred space.

Shop with Amazon and Spirits Alive Gets a Donation

Shop through Amazon Smile and Spirits Alive gets a donation

If you're an Amazon shopper, here's an easy way to support your favorite historic Maine cemetery:

  1. go to smile.amazon.com
  2. enter Spirits Alive in the box
  3. choose the non-profit in Portland, Maine from the list

Voila! A portion of all of your purchases through smile.amazon.com will go to our efforts to support, conserve and promote this historic outdoor museum. Thank you!

$5 Friendships Help Us 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:

Back to Top