Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday- The Towne Family Burial Ground in Londonderry

The Towne Cemetery is located on the corner of John Street and Boyd Road in Londonderry. I used to be able to see it from my living room windows, but the trees have grown up so much that I can't even see the stone wall surrounding the burial ground. The sign tacked onto a nearby tree says it was established in 1828.

SUSANNAH
Daughter of
Jabez & Mary
TOWNE
1816-1903

JOHN TOWNS
died
April 3, 1848,
Aged 54 years
& 9 mos.

The Towne Family lived on Boyd Road right next to the cemetery. I have a small book published by the Londonderry Historical Society in 1962, "Early Londonderry, Volume II". On page 136 it states "....the Towne Home, occupied by Jabez Towne, who lived to be over 90 years of age...across the field on the opposite side of the road, is the "Townes Cemetery", just beyond the present Jackson place. It is the last resting place of the Towne and Boyd families." Today I can no longer see any Boyd grave markers. There appear to many missing stones, and a third of those still standing are broken. There are eleven legible stones in this cemetery.


SACRED TO THE
Memory of
MR.
MOSES TOWNS
who died
Jan 22, 1828
AEt. 70
[this appears to be the oldest stone in the cemetery
and the year the cemetery was established]

Charlotte, wife of Moses Towne
[note how the name is spelled TOWNE and also TOWNS]

On page 137 of the same book is a funny story about this cemetery. "The following experience is one never to be forgotten by Mr. Corliss. One day, when he was twelve or thirteen, Harry had been telling ghost stories out behind schoolhouse #4 with a group of boys, and the hour grew late. Harry was a little nervous as he passed the whispering birches which lined the road below the Cross place, but it wasn't until he was passing the "Townes" cemetery that he became really frightened. A pale moon shone overhead and there, moving wierdly about in the cemetery, was a ghostly figure emitting the most unearthly sounds, screeching and screaming! Terrified, Harry raced for home and fell upon the floor as he entered through the kitchen door. The next morning, a neighbor came down to the Corliss house swinging two white hens. It was she who had been in the cemtery in her nightgown the night before."

An old photo of the Towne Homestead,
from page 166 of "Early Londonderry" Volume II,
by the Londonderry Historical Society, 1962

For more information on the Towne and Boyd families, see my blog post http://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2009/08/boyd-and-towne-families-of-londonderry.html from August 2009. In this post I give the Towne lineage down to Mary, daughter of Jabez Towne, who married Robert Boyd. I also give information on the link to the Towne family in Topsfield, Massachusetts and the relationship to the three Towne sisters accused of witchcraft in 1692 (Rebecca (Towne) Nurse, Sarah (Towne) Cloyse, and Mary (Towne) Estey).

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Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

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