Snow’s Burying Ground
Story about Snow’s cemetery and the people buried there
Finding a Burying Ground and Its People
When, in the early days of Sedgwick, a person died it was common to bury them in a family cemetery near their home. Some of these small burial grounds have been kept up but as descendants pass on or move away and interest in the sites wanes they can, quite quickly, be overtaken by brush and, eventually, forests. One such cemetery is Snow’s Burying Ground which Barbara M. Grindle, in her excellent Catalog listing of Sedgwick, Maine’s Cemeteries, Burying Grounds and Family Plots 1789-1999, describes as follows,“Snow’s Burying Ground (Frank Benson Burying Ground) Located beside Route 15 among the blueberry fields, this cemetery is visible from the road only if you know where to look. The oldest stone is that of J.F. Snow, son of John and Charlotte Snow, who died May 27, 1834 at the age of 2 years.”1
Over the years this cemetery’s proximity to the blueberry fields had helped because the undergrowth was often cleared when the fires burning the fields were allowed to move through the cemetery. More recently however, the blueberry fields haven’t been burned or harvested so the cemetery had become overgrown with brush and brambles. In the spring of 2014 David and Ellen Simmons took an interest in the cemetery and, with the kind permission of land owners David and Jake Carter, they began to clear Snow’s Burying Ground.
The cemetery is on land originally owned by Seth B. Grindle (1804- ) who was a sea captain, a farmer and who, in his later years, ran a navigation school. It is said that he had 4 wives-not at the same time. 2 In time the land was sold to John Gray and, in 1911 when it passed to Frank Benson (Hancock Deed Registry Book 484 Page 199), the burying ground on the property was recognized in the following deed paragraph; “ On the south east by land formaly owned by Isaac Closson, thence on the southwest by land formaly owned by J.F. Gray, thence on the northwest by said J.F. Gray, thence on the northeast by land formerly owned by John Gray, the same being knowed as the Seth B. Grindle homestead, containing about thirty five acres. Reserving a graveyard and a right away to same.” 3
The fact that the graveyard was sometimes referred to as the Frank Benson Burying Ground is probably because the Bensons owned the property not long before the time of the first inventory of the stones by the Maine Old Cemetery Association. No members of the Benson family are known to be buried there and the last burial identified on a tombstone was Maria Snow Thompson in 1933. he property is now owned by the Carter family.
As is true of many old cemeteries, there are fewer gravestones in the cemetery than the number of persons known to be buried there. Some of the original stones might have broken apart due to weather or fires and thefts are always a possibility. Coffin-size depressions in what appear to be family plots suggest the original sites of some burials but it is known that, at times, simple granite stones that look like all the others on this rocky hillside would be the only head and foot markers, or there might be none at all. In truth, these people were hard working folks and not every family could afford or wanted a “store-bought” gravestone for their family member. The person from the Maine Old Cemetery Association who, in 1969, compiled the list of persons buried in Snow’s Cemetery stated that “There are several, possibly as many as a dozen, unmarked graves in this cemetery. One of them is known to the compiler to be that of Andrew J. Gray, b. Sept. 11, 1834, d. May 24, 1896. Others include Andrew McClellan Gray, b. July 25, 1864 and his wife, Minnie Torrey.” 4
Virginia Saunders Torrey Simmons, who lived on Snow’s Cove Road and knew some of the people who were buried in that cemetery seconded the opinion the these members of the Gray family are, in fact, in the Snow’s Burying Ground and, additionally, told me that there are several babies buried there who never had markers.
This cemetery, like all others, is more than stones and coffin-size depressions in the soil. It’s also a memory of the people who lived and were laid to rest in this quiet corner of Sedgwick. As David and Ellen cleared the underbrush and the gravestones began to reappear, they wondered about the men, women and one child the inscriptions memorialized.
Using the Snow’s Cemetery gravestone inscriptions, comments from Barbara Grindle’s cemetery catalog and the list from the Maine Old Cemetery Association as starting points, we did a bit of research in an effort to add family connections, occupations and other information that would help us see the people in Snow’s Burying Ground in the context of their families and community.
|First Name||Last Name||Date of Birth and Death||More About Them|
|Maria P. Cunningham||Gray||Apr 02 1817-Sept 10, 1848||Maria, the daughter of James and Sally Knowles Cunningham was the 21 year old first wife of Joseph Freethy Gray. Together they had 5 children, Martin L. Gray (1839-1903), Lovestin R. Gray (1840-1903), Adaline Maria Gray (1843-1929), Dallas Gray (1845-1847) and Ann M. Gray 16 Jun 1848-07 Nov 1848).
Maria died about 3 months after Ann’s birth and Ann died a couple months thereafter. One can only imagine how difficult it must have been for Joseph to lose a 2 year old son followed a year later by the death of his wife and infant daughter.5
|Joseph Freethy||Gray||Jun 29 1818- Feb 19 1892||Joseph, the son of Solomon and Betsy Black Freethy Gray, was a blacksmith. Left, in 1848 upon the death of his wife Charlotte, with 3 small children he married again in late 1849/1850 to Elizabeth Cole (born c. 1813) from Brooklin. Their son Charles Newton Gray was born May 8 1850 and a daughter Ella Maria Elizabeth was born Nov 2 1852 (died Apr 16 1863). In the 1850 census6 a Joseph G. Gray is listed as born in that year while another source lists Charles Newton. This is unclear but in later years Charles continues to be seen as their son while there is no further mention of Joseph G. Gray.
Elizabeth died sometime between 1852 and 1860 and the 1860 census shows Mary Edna Byard (born Nov 2 1852) as Joseph’s 3rd wife. They had no children and Mary died Apr 16 1863. Joseph outlived all three wives and finally died Feb 11 1892.
It was a mystery at first as to why there was one gravestone for Maria P. Cunningham and yet another as a double stone for Joseph F. Gray and Maria inscribed MOTHER and FATHER. We believe that the answer was that Maria, the mother of 5 of Joseph’s children died at the early age of 31. A gravestone was erected for her at that time and, many years later, when Joseph died, the surviving children chose to have their parents, Joseph and Maria memorialized on the same stone, as MOTHER and FATHER.
|Charles Newton||Gray||May 8, 1850- Feb 2, 1892||Charles, the son of Joseph F. and his second wife Elizabeth Cole Gray, married Sadie. Upon his death Sadie married again and lived near Bar Harbor.7 Charles is buried in Snow’s Cove burying ground, the resting place of his parents.|
|Andrew Jackson||Gray||Sept 11, 1834-May 24, 1896||Andrew was a seaman. Interestingly, Andrew’s wife Julia Billings who died Oct 8, 1888, is buried along with their 20 year old son Edward Warren Gray (b July 25, 1852, died Nov 9, 1871)8 near the eastern shore of the Bagaduce river at the end of the so-called “Old Ferry Road” which extends westerly from Gray’s Corner. The cemetery has been abandoned and, in 1981, the two remaining stones were those of Julia and Edward.9
Andrew J. and Julia had 11 children, 2 of whom died as infants. They were the parents of Andrew McClellan Gray.
|Andrew McClellan||Gray||Jul 25, 1864- Apr 29, 1941||Andrew McClellan Gray, nicknamed “Mac”, was a quarryman. He married Minnie Janet Torrey Apr 11, 1907 in Sedgwick and they had 6 children, one of whom was Russell D. Gray born in 1908. There are no stones for Minnie or Andrew in Snow’s Burying Ground but Virginia Saunders Torrey Simmons, who knew both Minnie and Mac, told me she knows they are buried there; Mac in 1941 and Minnie in 1952. Virginia said she would walk by that cemetery every day on her way to the schoolhouse that was at the bottom of the hill, the same one room school building that is now at the Sedgwick-Brooklin Historical Society.
Interestingly, there is a “relatively new” (personal correspondence with Barbara M. Grindle on 9/16/2014) stone for Minnie in the Rural Cemetery in the plot owned by Russell Gray. Since Russell was the son of Minnie and Mac, he or another family member may have decided to place a gravestone there in her memory.
|Minnie Janet Torrey||Gray||May 20, 1877- 1952||Minnie, whose parents were George and Sophia T. Torrey, was born on Swan’s Island. She was the wife of Andrew “Mac” McClellan Gray.|
|Eliphalet Lowell||Grindle||Dec 3, 1769- Nov 4, 1843||Nicknamed “Life”, Eliphalet was the son of Joshua and Anna Lowell Grindle. On the gravestone his name is Lowell E. Grindle. He lived in Snow’s Cove with his first wife, Nancy Gray Grindle (born Feb 6, 1773) the daughter of Rueben Gray and Abigail Black and they had 8 children.10|
|Mary F.||Grindle||Nov 4, 1788- Jan 24, 1843||Mary Friend Grindle, “Life’s” second wife was the daughter of Benjamin and Martha Dodge Grindle. She and Life were married in Blue Hill May 8, 1825.|
|Mary A.||Nevells||Aug 16, 1837- Apr 4, 1890||Mary, the daughter of Robert D. and Lucy Louise Howard was the wife of John William Nevells (1829-1895). They had 8 children.|
|Charlotte Horton||Snow||1805- Jun 9, 1840||Charlotte, 1st wife of Capt. John Snow and John were married Apr 20, 1827 when she was 22 and he was 23 years old. They had three children, Caroline B. Snow born Nov 15, 1827, James William Snow born May 27, 1830 and John F. Snow who was born in 1832 and died in 1834 at the age of 2 years.11
Captain John Snow, the son of George and Susannah Grindel Snow, was born Apr 10, 1804.12 He is not listed as being buried in Snow’s cemetery.
|John F.||Snow||1832- May 22, 1834||John F. Snow was the 2 year old son of Charlotte and Captain John Snow. He died in 1834 and is buried at his mother’s side.|
|Mary A.||Snow||1806- Apr 17, 1876||Mary, the 2nd wife of Capt. John Snow died at age 70.|
|Barnabas Phillips||Snow||1779- Dec 10, 1849||Joshua (1740-1825) and Mary Gray Snow (1754- ) had no children of their own but adopted Barnabas and George Phillips who are said to have been the children of Joshua’s sister who married a British soldier named Phillips. They also adopted Mehitable Blastow, a girl from Deer Isle.13 The Phillips boys took the name Snow and resided in Sedgwick.
Barnabas, a shoemaker, married “Salley” Grindle (Feb 20, 1784- )14 and by the time of the 1850 census, “Sally” was living alone.15 Their only daughter Tryphena, born Apr 7, 1817, married John Hawes of Brooksville Sept 22, 1839.16
|George Phillips||Snow||Mar 3, 1780- Mar 11, 1852||George Phillips Snow was a farmer and probably a miller. On Mar 30, 1801 he married Susannah Grindle who was born Sept 12, 1782 and died after 1860. They had 10 children.17 He George died at the age of 72.
Only the footstone inscribed with GS and bottom half of George’s gravestone remain.
|Richard Grindal||Snow||Jan 26, 1819-
Apr 14, 1908
|Richard was a stonecutter and, later, a farmer. His parents were George Phillips Snow and Susannah Grindle. Richard married Maria L. Emerson (or Emerton) in 1853 and they had 2 children, Richard Pearl Snow and Maria Snow who married a man named Thompson. By 1900 Maria was either divorced or widowed and living with her parents18.|
|Maria L. Emerton||Snow||Feb 25, 1829- Dec 24, 1920||Maria, the daughter of John and Olive L. Black Emerson (or Emerton) was the wife of Richard Grindle Snow. They were married Mar 29, 1853 and their children were Richard Pearl Snow and Maria Snow Thompson.19 Maria L. Snow was born in Sedgwick and died there 90 years later of bronchitis.|
|Richard Pearl||Snow||Dec 20, 1853- Sep 2, 1907||Richard Pearl Snow, the son of Richard Grindle and Maria Emerson Snow, lived at home and never married. He was a blacksmith and later in life, a carpenter. Richard died of a brain tumor at the age of 53.|
|Maria Snow||Thompson||Mar 10, 1855- 1933||In the 1880 census Maria is Maria Snow and is living with her parents, Maria L. and Richard Snow. In the 1900 census she is listed as Maria S. Thompson, divorced. In the 1910 census Maria is 42 and living with her father Richard age 81, her mother Maria L. and her brother, 46 year old Pearl Snow (born Richard Pearl Snow) who is a blacksmith. In 1920 60 year old Maria is listed as a widow and is still with her 90 year old mother who passes away in December of that year. Maria died at the age of 75.|
Written by: Pam Simmons
Redwood City, California 2014
1 Grindle, Barbara M., Sedgwick, Maine’s Resting Places Cemeteries, Burying Grounds and Family Plots 1789-1999, Little Guy Press, Blue Hill Maine, 2000. See page 69.
2 Snow, Walter A., et al., The Grindle Family of Hancock County, Maine, 1978. See page 192
3 Hancock County Registry of Deeds, Book 484 Page 199
4 Maine Old Cemetery Association Maine, Cemetery Inscriptions Hancock County, Picton Press, Rockland, Maine. See page 340.
5 Gray, Capt. Almon A. and Snow, Walter A., The Gray Family of Hancock County, Maine, 1976. See page 58
7 Gray, Capt. Almon A. and Snow, Walter A., The Gray Family of Hancock County, Maine, 1976. See page 58.
8 Grindle, Barbara M., Vital Records of Sedgwick, Maine, Picton Press, Rockland, Maine, 2004. See page 202.
9 Maine Old Cemetery Association Maine, Cemetery Inscriptions Hancock County, Picton Press, Rockland, Maine. Page H2-331.
10 Snow, Walter A., et al., The Grindle Family of Hancock County, Maine, 1978. See pages 46, 48.
11 Grindle, Barbara M., Vital Records of Sedgwick, Maine, Picton Press, Rockland, Maine, 2004. See page 154.
12 Snow, Walter A., et al., The Grindle Family of Hancock County, Maine, 1978. See page 132
13 Snow, Walter A., Brooksville, Maine A Town of the Bagaduce, Printed by The Daily Packet, Blue Hill, Maine, 1967. See page 9.
14 Grindle, Barbara M., Vital Records of Sedgwick, Maine, Picton Press, Rockland, Maine, 2004. See page 38.
16 Grindle, Barbara M., Vital Records of Sedgwick, Maine, Picton Press, Rockland, Maine, 2004. See pages 112/101.
17 Snow, Walter A., et al., The Grindle Family of Hancock County, Maine, 1978. See page 132.
19 Wick, James H., Vital Records of Brooksville, Maine, Picton Press, Rockland, Maine, 2010. See page 145.