Died: February 16, 1807
One of the stones highlighted in Ron’s new book on the Eastern Cemetery is that of Mary Gannen. It is located in a newly discovered section of the cemetery designated for Catholics, and is the oldest of the three Catholic sections. We have very few stones in the cemetery that are carved with a holy cross, and this one even includes crossed bones! The lettering is probably that of Bartlett Adams (our most prolific and Portland’s first stonecutter), but the cross was likely cut by an apprentice. The pointed slate stone with a simple notched border does not indicate that Mary was of Irish descent, but she is the first recorded as Catholic to be buried in Portland. She was married to a cabinetmaker, Michael, who was arrested more than once for debt.
died Feb. 16, 1807
More information on these earliest Irish Catholics can be found in Matthew Jude Barker's The Irish of Portland, Maine: A History of Forest City Hibernians where Mary's last name is spelled Gannon.
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