Although published sources and the entrance portals to Mt. Prospect Cemetery indicate that it was laid out in 1852, a handful of markers date from earlier in the nineteenth century but are perhaps cenotaphs or have been moved from other sites. Typical of the mid and late nineteenth century are the white limestone markers, some badly weathered, but generally erect, which feature the elaborate graphics and sentimental inscriptions of the Victorian era. Monumental family stones often set a bit apart on terraced plots, are also seen. More recent gravestone's farther from the Elm Street entrance are the machine incised buff grey, and salmon granite common in the mid to late twentieth century.
While a number of Irish names and Roman Catholic motifs appear on some of the earlier stones, the religious association of Mt. Prospect Cemetery appears to be overwhelmingly Protestant, and the familiar Amesbury names, Morrill, Clark, Briggs bespeak an English ancestry. Noteworthy, however is the burial ground's location, distant from any churches and occupying a rise of land overlooking the mill village below, typical of the garden cemetery movement of the mid-nineteenth century.
The cemetery occupies about 30.18 acres. The earliest death date is 1811. There is an estimated 5000 stones.
The Massachusetts Historical Commission refers to this cemetery in MACRIS as AME.803 Mount Prospect Cemetery.
This cemetery is referred to as GR8 Mount Prospect Cemetery, Amesbury in the "Vital Records of Salisbury Massachusetts to the end of the year 1849."
William Carruthers, Joseph Morrill and Joshua Cheswell were elected by the original subscribers of Mt Prosepct cemetery to purchase three pieces of land for the cemetery. The first was April 26th 1853 from Jabez E Collins for $20.00. Then 5 acres on May 20th 1852 from Samuel Lamprey for the sum of $500.00. The final purchase was in August of 1853 for 138 rods for the sum of $80.00 again from Samuel Lamprey. The Town of Salisbury also purchased 1 acre for $100.00 (Note: Amesbury was part of Salisbury at that time).
On April 24, 1852 a meeting was held at the Baptist Vestry for all those interested in becoming subscribers to a new cemetery. Joseph Morrill called the meeting to order. He was then voted chairman and later clerk. A committee of 5 was formed to investigate and recommend a suitable place for a new cemetery.
At the May 7th 1852 meeting it was voted to purchase a piece of land of Samuel Lamprey on Brown’s or Lamprey Hill (so called) for a new cemetery. A committee of 3 - William Carruthers, Joseph Morrill and Joshua Cheswell - were nominated to purchase the land and a committee was formed to lay out the cemetery. Subscribers were asked to pay for the lots before July 20th so the land could be purchased.
At the July 28, 1852 meeting three trustees - William Carruthers, Joseph Morrill and Joshua Cheswell – were voted on. Joseph N Clark was voted treasurer and was sworn in by George Turner Justice of the Peace. A code of Bye Laws was accepted and adopted. The name of the cemetery- Mt Prospect- was voted on.
The subscribers held annual meetings on the fourth Monday in March. Lots were sold, then a lottery was held for the subscribers to draw their lot number. Originally 100 lots were created (area by upper gates) and 87 were sold to original subscribers. It is also interesting to note that approximately 70 burials were removed from Old Corner Cemetery on Elm St and brought to Mt Prospect when it opened in 1853. This explains why some burials are earlier than 1853 when Mt Prospect opened.
In 1957 the Town of Amesbury started the necessary steps to take over Old Corner Cemetery and Mt Prospect Cemetery due to the deteriorating conditions. Mt Prospect owners were assessed a yearly fee to pay for the up keep of cemetery. By the 1950’s over 300 of the lots had been abandoned. At the March 17th 1958 Annual Meeting Article 26 & 27 stating that the Town take over the two cemeteries from the cemetery associations was approved.
The heirs of T J Clark erected the gates at the entrance of the cemetery in 1893. The canons to the right of those gates are a mystery. The canon is marked Watervliet Arsenal Watervliet, NY with a serial number of 1. The only information a local historian was able to gather was that the cannon was dedicated to the city in 1915. It sat on two granite piers. In 2015 Bartley Machine refurbished the cannon and made metal wheels for it with the help of the Veteran Memorial Restoration Committee.
GPS Coordinates: 42.85329, -70.91821
- Added: 2 Jan 2000
- Find A Grave Cemetery: #91268
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