Spirits Alive at the Eastern Cemetery | eNews, March 2015

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Eastern Cemetery and the Revitalization of the India Street Neighborhood: A Panel Discussion

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

cemetery landscape

Martha and April work on transcriptions against the backdrop of the historic India Street neighborhood, September 2011.

Join us this Saturday as we finish up our lecture series with a panel made of representatives from Greater Portland Landmarks, the city of Portland, and the India Street Neighborhood Association who will discuss how the Eastern Cemetery is important in the development and revitalization of the surrounding India Street Neighborhood and the push to create a new historic district there.

Find out who is on 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: The Haskells

A Monument and 3 Headstones


The Haskell Family Monument, February 2014.

ALEXANDER N. HASKELL , Aug. 9, 1802, July 23, 1883
ELIZABETH N., his wife, Jan. 9, 1810, Sept. 28, 1889
John S., Jun. 30, 1835, Aug. 27, 1836
Charles S., Oct. 12, 1839 , Sept. 19, 1841
Charles F., Aug. 1, 1841, Mar. 22, 1847
Mary W., Jun. 17,1837, Sept. 3, 1864
Neal D., May 12, 1845, Mar. 15, 1846

The Haskell Family Headstones, October 2014.

JOHN SWETT, died Aug. 27, 1836, aged 11 mo.
CHARLES SWETT, died Sept. 19, 1841, aged 2 yrs.
Children of Alexander N. & Elizabeth N. Haskell.

NEAL DO_, died M_, aged 8_
CHARLES F., died M_, aged 3 yrs & _ mos.
Children of Alexander _ Elizabeth N. Haskell

Wife of Charles B. Pearson
Dec. 11, 1849. Apl. 12, 1930.

There are often more mysteries in the Eastern Cemetery than there are grave markers. Take the Haskell family stones. There is a granite monument listing the parents and 5 of their 11 children. Four of these children are also memorialized on 2 marble markers right down the row: Charles Swett and John Swett are on one, the other shows Neal Dow and Charles F. Haskell. To the south of those is a granite marker for Georgiana Pearson, the last born in 1849 and the last to die in 1930. We use the burial records book for the cemetery (compiled by William Jordan in 1987) as our reference. Not only is Georgiana's stone not included, but Neal Dow Haskell is not listed in the book at all. The monument is noted as "Monument Badly Eroded" and lists only the parents and one child, Mary Woodman. The monument is likely a replacement, so the family took the opportunity to add names of those who died as small children. Perhaps it was at this same time that the stone for Georgiana (who had lived to adulthood and married) was erected. The 3 headstones have been conserved.

An index of all of our Subterranean Celebrities is available.

The Conservation of the Haskell Headstones

A Project of the Spirits Alive Stoners

In summer 2014, Spirits Alive took on the task of conserving about 90 grave markers. Three headstones memorializing children of Alexander and Elizabeth Haskell showed various states of neglect. The Georgiana Haskell Pearson headstone was straighted, cleaned, and mortared for stability. The Neal Dow and Charles F. Haskell headstone was cleaned and straightened. The Charles Swett and John Swett Haskell headstone was cleaned and given a new base.

georgiana headstone

The Georgiana Haskell Pearson headstone had begun to sink on one side.

stone on foam blocks

The Neal Dow and Charles F Haskell headstone was leaning.

stone on foam blocks

The Charles Swett and John Swett Haskell headstone was put on a pair of foam blocks for cleaning.

The three headstones are shown mid-conservation. The base has been made in situ, dried, and is ready to receive its cleaned headstone.

Nikki expertly finishes mortaring the headstone into its base.

There are more photos of the Haskell stone conservation available on our Flickr site.

The Haskell stones are looking swell. 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. The stones are 10 rows in. They are south of the granite Haskell monument.

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:

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