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Old Burying Ground (Defunct)
Elm St
Springfield
Hampden County
Massachusetts  USA

Cemetery notes and/or description:
GPS and address is for historical purposes only

In 1848, it was moved to the Springfield Cemetery.

Springfield's early settlers were laid to rest in the ancient "burying place" by the river, west of the church. Stone markers were not placed in Springfield until the next century.

But one stone was set in the early burial place for one early settler Mary Holyoke, who died in 1657, said to be the "very paragon of her sex". It was set there at a later date. Mary was the daughter of William Pynchon and married Elizur Holyoke. The ancient burial-ground in Springfield had become overcrowded by graves clogged with trees and shrubbery. The new railroad tracks also had been laid across the grounds. The town ordered the remains and monuments to be removed to the new cemetery, which had been provided for that purpose. The exhumation and removal began in the Spring of 1848. The earth with the remains of 2404 bodies, and 517 markers, were moved. Dr. Joseph C. Pynchon had charge of the exhumation of the Pynchon bodies, and had this to say:

Beneath the Mary Holyoke stone, dated 1657, deep in the white sand, six feet below the surface, were found the remains of two, lying side by side, with no others in close proximity. Is it too much to conjecture that these were the remains of Elizur and Mary Holyoke? The sand was discolored and some few pieces of the skulls and other bones were found while even the nails of the coffins were wholly destroyed, their places being marked by the rust only, while no other vestige of the coffins remained. The few remains were gathered, which soon crumbled to dust on exposure to the air, and with the surrounding earth, deposited in the new cemetery.

Most of the bodies had disintegrated leaving no trace. Not even buckles or buttons were found which strongly suggests that corpses were wrapped in winding-sheets or shrouds. Such items have frequently been found in Indian graves of the same age. Even though the ancient burial ground was in a damp area by the river, one might expect to find some fairly indestructible items, or parts thereof, if such had been on, or buried with, corpses where they were buried. But clothing, shoes, buckles, ornaments, all were very valuable. Almost any last will and testament contains mention of the testator making a bequest of items of clothing to sons, daughters, and even grandchildren.

PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS CEMETERY NO LONGER EXISTS, THEREFORE PHOTO REQUESTS ARE NOT AVAILABLE FOR THIS CEMETERY. 517 MARKERS WERE RELOCATED TO THE SPRINGFIELD CEMETERY.
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