The Central Burying Ground is the earlier of Carlisle’s two public burial grounds, although it had been used for family burials well before it came under municipal ownership. Setting aside a place for burying the dead was an essential task in the early organization of the Second District of Carlisle. Following the demise of the First District of Carlisle, which had existed for less than two years from 1754 to 1756, one of Carlisle’s first settlers, Timothy Wilkins, had given a 1 ½-acre parcel for a meetinghouse lot. That 1758 gift provided the site for the first meetinghouse and for the town common, but no public burying place was established at that time. Until after the Revolutionary War most Carlisle interments took place in the Concord burying grounds or in private family cemeteries.
A significant piece of business after the Second District of Carlisle was established in 1780 was the purchase of land for a burying place. The April 5, 1784 District Meeting voted “that there be one-half acre of Land provided for the use of a burying-place including the spot of ground that hath been made use of for that purpose already.” The land referred to belonged jointly to Timothy Wilkins’ son and grandson, Timothy Wilkins Jr. and Timothy Wilkins III, who sold it to the district for 26 shillings. The small plot lay on the west side of the road to Chelmsford (today’s Lowell Street), a short distance north of the meetinghouse and common. The Wilkins family, along with some neighbors, apparently had used it as a family burial plot for many years, and it has been conjectured that members of the first Wilkins generation may be buried in unmarked graves in the southwest part of the property.
The last burial in the Central Burying Ground, reported to be that of Susannah (Wheeler) Hutchinson, took place in 1875.
The cemetery sits on .44 acre. The earliest death date is ca. 1778, the latest 1875.
The Massachusetts Historical Commission refers to this cemetery in MACRIS as CAR.800 Central Burying Ground.
This cemetery is referred to as GR1 Old Burying Ground in the "Vital Records of Carlisle Massachusetts to the end of the year 1849."
GPS Coordinates: 42.52972, -71.349
- Added: 15 Apr 2006
- Find A Grave Cemetery: #2173374
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