Spirits Alive at the Eastern Cemetery
Eastern Cemetery landscape
Thank you for your support of the Eastern Cemetery

Year-End Wrap Up - THANK YOU!

We couldn't keep the cemetery "alive" without you.

We have reached some milestones, and we couldn't do it without our team of selfless volunteers. Not only do we rely on your monetary support, but we also rely on your sweat equity. Teams of trained conservators, dedicated docents, and intrepid photographers helped us reach new goals this year. Thank you!

Jeffrey Bolster presents his talk on Black Jacks in 2016. Photo by Barb Hager

2017 Winter Lecture Series

Jessica Skwire Routhier

1:30pm to 2:30pm
Wishcamper Center, USM
Bedford Street, Portland, ME

Spirits Alive continues the lecture series tradition this year. These illustrated talks will teach us how the history of early New England helped shape the Portland of today.

The first in the series is Jessica Skwire Routhier's intimate look at the makers who rest at Eastern Cemetery. She will highlight well-known members of the community such as landscape painter Charles Codman, furniture-maker Daniel Radford, and mirror manufacturer James Todd. Routhier will also focus on lesser-known contributors—girls who made samplers and members of the Maine Charitable Mechanic Association.

  • Lectures are free, though donations are gratefully accepted.
  • The events are co-sponsored by the Department of History and Political Science at the University of Southern Maine (USM).
  • Free parking is available in the USM Bedford Street parking garage.

Find out more about our winter lecture series and who will be presenting the next 2 talks.

Dyer family tomb
The Dyer family tomb in the Eastern Cemetery

Subterranean Celebrity: Lemuel Dyer

Died: January 21, 1847

Lemuel Dyer was born in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, and became a master shipbuilder, following his father into the maritime trades. Mr. Dyer met his untimely demise one January day in Hiram “when the axe of his fellow workman flew from the handle and struck him over the instep of one of his feet, almost severing it in two.” Dyer is interred in the family tomb in the Eastern Cemetery, but the marble marker is no longer legible. Burial records indicate he's in there with 6 others.

Lemuel Dyer
died 1-22-1847
Nabby Ford Dyer, wife of Lemuel
Emma Ford Dyer, daughter of Lemuel & Nabby
Robert Ford Dyer, son of Lemuel & Nabby
Susan C. Dyer, wife of Robert F.
died 8-20-1847
Emma L. Ford, widow of Robert
Robert Ford
Samuel A. Miller, son of Augustus A.
died 9-2-1848

Part of his obituary in the Portland Advertiser read: “Capt. Dyer has been, for many years very extensively engaged in ship building, and was also a large ship owner. He leaves a numerous family, to whom he was greatly endeared. His loss is also lamented by hundreds of persons and families to whom he has long given support, and who have looked to him as their best patron and friend.”

Thanks to Art Gaffar for gathering and providing information about Lemuel Dyer. 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.

Early Gravestones in Southern Maine book cover

Gravestones in Southern Maine: The Genius of Bartlett Adams

A book by Ron Romano, Spirits Alive volunteer and Bartlett Adams expert

If you're interested in learning more about the life and times of Bartlett Adams, the Eastern Cemetery's most prolific gravestone cutter, we've got your book! In addition to learning about Adams and his fellow stonecutters, you will discover so much about the Eastern Cemetery, its history, and the history of those interred within it. 

Find copies of the book at local Portland, Maine, bookstores or order from your favorite online retailer.

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.