Spirits Alive at the Eastern Cemetery
girl placing flag at gravestone
The shady side of the Eastern Cemetery

Tours Start Wednesday, July 5!

Wednesdays, Saturdays, Sundays: 11:00am
Thursday late afternoons: 5:30pm

Regularly-scheduled tours start next week, so plan to join an intrepid Spirits Alive tour guide who will take you on a fun walk of the Eastern Cemetery and explain everything you ever wanted to know about colonial American burying grounds. Well, okay... just this one burial ground. Learn about gravestone art, types of stones, carvers, the history of the Eastern Cemetery itself, conservation of our stones, and a few of its residents. Pre-order tickets:

First, Hannah Bradford's headstone was on the ground, being cleaned. Later, Hannah was placed in a new base, reset, and mortared back together. She is shown in braces for stabilization while she dried.

Standing Tall, Feeling Clean 

Next conservation day: Saturday, July 8

Only a month has gone by and many stones have already been cleaned, straightened, given new bases, moved to their rightful positions, and repaired! We had an introduction to stone conservation one morning in June when we trained new conservation team members, and we continue to work on the grounds during the week and on Saturdays. Check out our schedule for more dates. We train any and everyday, so don't be shy if you missed our official start date and want to learn.
For the most updated conservation wins, follow us on Instagram (which copies to Facebook and Twitter).

Headstone of Moses Pearson
Moses Pearson's headstone. Photo by H. Doggett. Bird poo by bird.

Subterranean Celebrity: Moses Pearson

Died: June 5, 1778

Most notably, Moses Pearson was the first sheriff of Cumberland County. The county was established in 1760; he assumed office at age 64 and served until his death. His wife was Sarah Titcomb and they married in 1719 in Rowley, MA, where they were from. They had 7 GIRLS: Mary, Elizabeth, Sarah, Eunice, Eunice (yes, another as the first died before age 2), Anne, and Lois.  Mr. Pearson was obviously very well-loved as his slate headstone (possibly carved by Geyer) testifies of his stellar reputation:

mortal Remains
who departed this Life.
the 5th day of June A.D. 1778.
in the 82.d Year of his Age.
Having lived and exemplary and
useful life and served his Country
to acceptance in a variety of
offices civil and military.
His works of Piety and Love
Remain before the Lord
Honour on Earth and joys above
Shall be his sure Reward.

Not only was he sheriff, but he was also a representative to the General Court (Massachusetts Senate) and a judge of the Court of Common Pleas (county court hearing civil cases). His military service put him in King George's War serving with the British to defeat the French on Cape Breton Island at the Siege of Louisbourg in 1745.
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.

Upcoming Events & Opportunities

Summer is heating up with lots of opportunities to visit, learn, and do!

  • Conservation Workdays
    Learn about the care and conservation of old stones while you improve the look and safety of this 350-year-old public burial ground. We're always "uncovering" new mysteries, but we solve old ones as well!
  • Eastern Cemetery Walking Tours
    Regular tours start July 5. Choose from Wednesday, Saturday, or Sunday mornings and Thursday late afternoons.
  • Maine Old Cemeteries Association Meeting
    This summer program is hosted by us and will take place at the Maine Charitable Mechanics Hall. Come learn about projects in cemeteries around the region as well as presentations on Captain Moody of the Portland Observatory, the Abyssinian Meeting House, and the Catholic sections of the Eastern Cemetery.
  • Walk Among the Shadows
    Our October evening event allows you to go with a group down Funeral Lane after the sun has gone down. Expect to hear spine-tingling stories based on the lore and legend of Munjoy Hill in Portland as you make your journey.
  • Stone Photo Project
    At your own pace, contribute to this project which—so far—includes a collection of over 6,000 gravestone images.
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.