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Monday, September 14, 2009

Cemetery Walk: Bradford's Upper Plain Cemetery

On Saturday, October 12, 2009, the Bradford Historical Society held a cemetery walk at Bradford's Upper Plain Cemetery. Charles Marchant (right) and Arthur Hyde (left) , pictured above, shared their extensive knowledge of cemeteries and burial practices with the tour participants. They are both active in the Vermont Old Cemetery Association, with Marchant as secretary and lecturer and Hyde as vice-president and grant chairman.
The cemetery walk was a departure from the "Graveyard Gossips" programs that the Society has held during the past few years. However, Larry Coffin, President of the Society, shared information about some of the individuals buried at the sites visited. The first burial in this cemetery was in 1770 and it is currently being used for burials.
Coffin and Marchant are two of the four teachers that produced "Stones and Bones", a curriculum for the use of cemeteries in the classroom. This was produced in 1996 and republished in 2008. They are retired social studies teachers. The other two teachers are Joan Alexander, a special education teacher in Irasburg, and Andersen Thorp, an art teacher at Hartford High. Copies of this curriculum can be obtained from the Vermont Old Cemetery Association at Charles Marchant, PO Box 132, Townshend, VT o5353
Included in the presentation was a discussion of the materials from which the markers were built. Markers in the Upper Plain cemetery are made from slate of several types, soapstone, granite, marble and, as shown in the one above, metal. This type of marker was popular at the end of the 19th century and could be ordered in many variations from the company's catalog.

About 20 participants joined the one and a half hour tour which ended with a visit to the Sawyer Chapel located at the entrance to the cemetery. A group is currently seeking funds for the restoration of that chapel.

A film crew from Lyndon State College's Channel 7 toured with the group and interviewed both participants and leaders. Reporter Daniel Adams (left) has promised to sent the video for possible later inclusion in this posting. Stay tuned for that.

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