Historical Society Sponsors Central Burial Grounds Tour

by Paul Saulnier
October 30, 2017

The Mellens, the Fisk family, the Cutlers, Silas Cobb and the Batchelders. These and others built or made famous what is Holliston today.

Town Historian Joanne Hulbert led a group of about fifty people interested in learning about Holliston's historic past through the lives of those who lived it.

Cryso Lawless, above left, came to learn about Holliston's early residents and to film the tour for HCAT. Society member Nancy Lamb, above right, organized the event along with Sheila Adams and Carol Kosicki, pictured below.

Pat Pereira also ushered in period attire. That's Pat, fourth from the right in the picture below.

Joanne led the group around the cemetery, stopping at about a dozen graves to relate interesting facts about Holliston and those whose names appear on the stones.

Lieutenant Joseph Mellen fought in the Revolutionary War and died at the age of 42. The poem appears at the bottom of his stone:

Behold and see as you pass by,
As you are now so once was I,
As I am now so you must be.
Prepare for Death and follow me.

Joanne told of how cemeteries were a place of contemplation in the old days.

 


Silas Cobb brought notoriety to Holliston when, on April 14, 1865, he unknowingly let President Linclon's assasin, John Wilkes Booth, cross the bridge he was guarding, allowing Booth toescape immediate capture. Later he allowed David Herold, a Booth accomplice, to cross as well - on a stolen horse. Remarkably, Cobb was not court marshalled for his actions.

Sewall Fisk, an educator and abolitionist, was accused of " enticing negroes into his cellar at night and reading them all sorts of abolitionists documents", was the victim of a vigilatanties who dragged him out of bed late one night, where he lived in Savannah, stripped him naked, tarred and cottoned him.

Reverend Timothy Dickinson was pastor of the Church of Christ for 24 years. When he died in 1813 as the age of "LII" Town Meeting voted $60 for funeral services for the Reverend Dickinson and $260.43 to the widow Margaret Dickinson.

Weather and time has taken its toll on many of the stones in the Central Burial Ground. There are many graves that have no stone to mark the resting place of forgotten residents. One was recently unearthed when the handicap ramp was installed on the north side of Town Hall.

Above, a step back in time perhaps?

At one time there was a well near the cemetery for use by man and beast. The poem above suggests a basic understanding of the movement of groundwater through soils ("graveyard broth").

 

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