Spirits Alive at the Eastern Cemetery
Spirits Alive at the Eastern Cemetery | eNews, January 2016
Gravestone of Col. John Hathorne, judge during the Salem witch trials
Postcard of witch trial judge Col. John Hathorne's gravestone in Salem. Printed 1905.

The Salem Witch Trials and their Connections to Casco Bay and the Maine Frontier

Saturday, January 30, 2016
1:30pm to 3:00pm
USM Wishcamper Center, Portland, ME

Drawing from his recent book, Emerson "Tad" Baker, award-winning author and professor of History at Salem State University, will discuss the many connections between the Salem witch trials and the Maine frontier. In 1692, more than 150 people would be accused of witchcraft, and 25 would die in the Salem witch trials—the largest witchcraft outbreak in American history.

There will be 2 more opportunities to learn in this winter series:

  • February 27 - Jeffrey Bolster, author of Black Jacks: African American Seamen in the Age of Sail
  • March 26 - Stephen O'Neill, associate director and curator of the Pilgrim Hall Museum will present on burial customs of the Pilgrims

Portland History Docent Program

February to April 2016

Spirits Alive will again participate in this strong program that trains interested volunteers to become guides at any of 8 different historic locations:
  • Eastern Cemetery (Spirits Alive)
  • Fifth Maine Regiment Museum
  • Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Co. & Museum
  • Portland Observatory (Greater Portland Landmarks)
  • Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse
  • Tate House Museum
  • Victoria Mansion
  • Wadsworth-Longfellow House (Maine Historical Society)
Classes meet on Thursday mornings, 9am to noon, and are $30 or $20 for students. Visit their new website to begin your application today!
Charles F. Ropes footstone and headstone
The footstone, found in rubble, and marble headstone of Charles F. Ropes

Subterranean Celebrity: Charles F. Ropes

Died March 15, 1842

During a summer conservation day, the team uncovered pieces of stones that had been mortared together and used to shore up a leaning headstone. The team carefully removed the mortar from the pieces, and the initials C. F. R. were revealed. Only one name in the records book fit these initials, and the fact that his marble headstone was nearby led them to believe it was the footstone of the headstone for:

Charles F.
son of
George & Charlotte R.
born Apr. 7, 1837
died Mar. 15, 1842
"With loving kindness have I
drawn thee."

His father, George, was a Portland abolitionist who campaigned against slavery, provided safe-houses, and assisted runaway slaves on their journey to freedom. He was a patent-holder (Mode of Making Table Knives and Forks) as well. Mr. Ropes passed away 9 months later of consumption and is buried in the plot next to George.

Thanks to Ron Romano for the information on the Ropes family and for the footstone photo.

You can suggest a subterranean celebrity! Just send an email—it doesn't take much to make a nice little story. An index of all of our Subterranean Celebrities is available.
If you suggested a celebrity after our last eNews in November, please email us again as we've lost your original email with all of the information in it (sorry!)

Ask Amazon to Donate to Spirits Alive

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

  • Go to smile.amazon.com
  • Enter "Spirits Alive" in the box
  • 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 the Eastern Cemetery

Support the work of Spirits Alive 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:

  • Keep the gates open – encouraging the community to explore its open and safe green space
  • Offer education about the cemetery and its residents to the public – through tours, lectures, and events
  • Encourage and support the city in keeping the site clean and safe for visitors of all ages
  • Preserve this incredible outdoor museum and sacred historic landscape
We are a non-profit, all-volunteer organization dedicated to the protection and preservation of Portland, Maine’s historic Eastern Cemetery through a range of activities including promotion and education.
Copyright © 2016 Spirits Alive, All rights reserved.