Preserving Our Past Together
Join us on for an informational session Saturday, June 29 or Tuesday, July 9
As members of The Methuen Historical Society, we know you are committed to and interested in the rich history of our City. With your help, the Methuen Museum of History was created a year and a half ago. We hope you have had the time to visit your Museum to see the exhibits and learn more about our shared past.
The Education and Research Committee has compiled some noteworthy temporary exhibits. On Patriots Day 2018, the Society unveiled "Methuen's Patriots and their Homes" exhibit. It was an exciting project and the committee identified the homes, still in existence, where Minutemen and Revolutionary soldiers from Methuen lived. The Society launched an equally exciting exhibit on the" History of Methuen Schools" in the fall and winter of 2018. The research produced long lost schoolhouses and documented how our children were educated from Colonial times to the present.
The committee has embarked on their 2019 project, "The Founding Families of Methuen". Our project is a comprehensive look at the men and women who fought to create a new community in 1725/6 and where their ancestors came from. It is both genealogy and historical research project which will be completed in the next several months.
It became clear at the start of this project that many of our founding families are buried in our old cemeteries. We would like to create a comprehensive list of who is buried in these cemeteries as a companion guide to our project. The committee began early in the project to try to locate the graves of the people we were researching and writing about. Some of the early stones are gone, some are buried, and many are unreadable because of age, dirt and environmental problems.
The Festival of Trees has recently awarded the Society a grant to clean and restore our historic and prominent gravestones. We need your help to kickstart this phase of the project. Our goal is to locate as many of these gravestones as possible and begin their restoration by first cleaning them. Three members of the Society recently had the opportunity to be trained by a professional in the correct way, techniques, and products to use to clean the old stones.
The Historical Society published in 1893, a small booklet of who was buried at the Meetinghouse Hill Cemetery, but we don't know how comprehensive it was. Doing our own survey will identify stones which have disappeared or are submerged beneath the grassy surface since 1893.
In 1947, the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Sons of the American Revolution jointly compiled a list of which Revolutionary soldiers were buried there and where their graves were located. This information will help us to compile our lists.
After the Meetinghouse Hill Cemetery, we would like to continue this project in the Village Burial Ground on Lawrence Street and the old section of Elmwood Cemetery on North Lowell Street in West Methuen. This may seem like a huge undertaking, but we think it will move quickly with several volunteers working with us.
Our plan on how this cemetery research project will progress
is as follows;
Phase One of the project will involve locating and mapping the existing graves in the 3 chosen cemeteries.
Phase Two will begin the stone cleaning phase with materials supplied by the Historical Society.
Phase Three will identify a gravestone restoring company to restore noteworthy graves we identify along the way.
How You Can Help
This project will involve minimal walking. The time commitment will be about 1 or 2 hours a day on those days designated ( or any you can attend).- You will be provided with any existing maps and forms to record the information on each stone. Based on the information we gather, the committee will continue with researching these families.
If you would like to help, please call the Historical Society at (978) 683-2252 and leave your name and contact information.
We have scheduled 2 information sessions for your convenience;
Saturday, June 29 at 11:00 a.m.
Tuesday, July 9 at 7:00 pm.
We hope to see you at one of these sessions.
Denis Webster Greene, President
We're Frontpage News!
Many thanks to the Eagle-Tribune for featuring a story about our cemetery project on the front page of the July 24 edition. A big THANK YOU to Bev and the volunteers!
Check out the story, History Detectives: Group Visits Cemeteries, Pieces Together Methuen's Past.