The Old Burying Ground

(Owned by the Town.)

Entrance gate, Old Burying Ground.

Before 1774 a headstone in a field was apt to mark a grave on the farms around Jaffrey. In that year the Town appointed a committee to lay out a burying ground, of about an acre and a half, a short distance north of the plot on the Common selected for the Meeting House.
         Here lie the remains of most of the early families, except some of the Cutters, who had their own burying ground, and the farmers off Fitzwilliam Road, who used the Phillips cemetery near Gap Mountain. Among the old graves are those of Moses Stickney, the first child in Jaffrey, and Joseph Thorndike, after whom the road and the lake are named. Here laid to rest are the Reverend Laban Ainsworth, 1757-1858, his granddaughter Mary Minot, who married Rear Admiral Theodore Phinney Greene, and their descendants. In modern times the graves of Howard Sweetser Bliss, President of the Syrian Protestant College, now the American University, of Beirut, 1902-1920, and of Willa Cather, next to her friend and secretary. The monument of the sculptor, Viggo Brandt-Eriksen, to his wife, Dorothy Caldwell, is in the northwest corner.
         Of all the gravestones, none is visited by the public more respectfully than those of Amos Fortune and his wife, Violet. Born a slave in 1710, he was granted his freedom in 1769, prospered as a tanner, and upon his death bequeathed a "handsome present" to the church, with which a communion service was purchased, and a sum of money to the Town for the furtherance of education. The headstones read:

to the memory of Amos
Fortune, who was born
free in
Africa, a slave in America, he
purchased liberty,
professed Christianity
lived reputably, and
died hopefully.
Nov. 17, 1801,
AET. 91

to the memory of
by sale the slave of Amos
Fortune, by marriage his wife,
by her fidelity his friend and
solace, she died his widow
Sept. 13, 1802
AET. 73

         Source: Jaffrey Center, New Hampshire, Portrait of a Village by Coburn Kidd, 1975.

Numerous photographs and images of the Old Burying Ground may be found at

Much additional material on the Old Burying Ground may be found at

A chapter in Marshal the Willing Forces on Cemeteries may be found at marshal.pdf

The text of the Old Burying Ground guide on the gable end of the Horsesheds may be found at guide.pdf