Monday, March 23, 2009

An Indian Cemetery in Lakeville, MA

Chris P. writes:

I wanted to share some photos of a site I recently visited in Lakeville, MA. I first found out about this site eight or ten years ago when a Lakeville resident gave me very vague directions to an "Indian burial ground" near Long Pond. He told me that the site was marked with a sign that had fallen to the ground. I looked for it back then and couldn't find the marked burial ground but did find a number of rock piles and other stone features. I finally made my way back there recently and was fortunate to have help from some local people who gave me tips on how to find the Indian burial ground I was looking for. It is a very small cemetery with small fieldstone grave markers and a few slate headstones, two of which have dates carved on them (both in the 1790s). Unfortunately there is development going on in this area and I feel that this site is threatened and probably should be more carefully explored before it is too late. Here are pictures of the piles, enclosures and other features near the cemetery:

A couple of the pictures show what I suspect is a marked stone in a stone wall very near the cemetery. The parallel lines on the stone appear to me to be very similar to those found at other sites and believed by some to possibly be a sort of Indian notation. Here are the photos of the alleged Indian cemetery:


JimP said...

The Indian Burial Ground is quite similar to historical-era burial grounds in Rhode Island that are also known to be Indian burials. The presence of a sacred site nearby the burial ground is also something seen in Rhode Island. Rolling Rock in North Kingstown is probably the best-known example. Low, rough, unmarked field stones sit atop burials on that site, which are near a rocking stone, split outcrop, and stone piles and rows with single pieces of quartz on ground known in local history to have been used by the Narragansetts ceremonially. There is also historical data from Cherokee burial practices that show important people were sometimes buried beneath large boulders, and it looks like you may have an example of that in Lakeville as well.

James Gage said...

Plans for the nearby development activity will be on file at the Town Offices, just ask the town clerk to direct you to the appropriate office. You can consult the plans and determine how much a threat there is.

Cemeteries are protected by Massachusetts law. It would be advisable to sent a letter to the town's planning board, historical commission and/or society, and zoning board detailing the location of the cemetery. Include a map and a few photos. It is important that this is done in writing not by phone or in person. A written letter becomes a permanent part of the "public record" and town officials can not say they were not made aware of the cemetery.

The cemetery should be clearly marked by appropriate signage that weatherproof. Obviously, if it is private property getting the permission of the land owner is good idea.

James Gage

Anonymous said...

where abouts is this place near long pond? I'm from lakeville and ive never seen this place?
thank you

Jean Douillette said...

The photos posted at your link: http://stone are of Douglas Cemetery, Lakeville, MA. (Documented in my book, Lakeville, Massachusetts Gravestone Inscriptions 1711-2003.)While we do have Indian Cemeteries in our town, this is not one of them. Douglas Cemetery is well known to the town, the developer, and the Cemetery Commission of which I am a member. The cemetery is on private property and the developer has assured the Commission that he will clean up and preserve the cemetery as he proceeds with his development.

The photos posted at your link: are not familiar to me.

Anonymous said...

Please respect this site, it is very unique. This was known to the Swamp Yankee's of that area as the Pittsley Indian Burial Ground. Further south, down the street, 300 ft past Camp Cathedral on the right hand side,off in the woods is another of many Pittsley burial grounds that are every where throughout the region. According to my Grandfather Horace Lewis Pittsley who died in 1987. The people who are buried at these two sites were related and known as the East Freetown Pittsleys. When it comes to this family, there are so many clans and they are all related. It doesn't matter if they were Indian or not. It doesn't matter if your a Haskell, Reynolds, Clark, Chace, DeMoranville, Braley, Westgate or what ever. These people are all related and are part of an New World race of people who's ancestors were unique, very unique.