Thursday, August 19, 2010


Now that I'm in better shape and the same true for Ping the Wondercar,
I decided to try to get out of the apartment more on my days off and do
some genealogy legwork. Today's inaugural adventure was a trip down
to West Bridgewater to try to find some of my ancestors' final resting
places. I'd made a unsuccessful try at this last Thursday but had left the
Googlemaps I'd printed out at home but this week I brought them with
me and set out optimistically.

After a short stop at CVS in Whitman to get some prescriptions filled
I continued down Rte 18 to East Bridgewater and then cut across to Rte
106 in West Bridgewater. I turned left on Howard St, drove past the
West Bridgewater Historical Society building, and then turned right onto
River St. According to the directions, the parsonage of my ancestor
Reverend James Keith should have been a little ways down on the right
but I drove to the end of River St without spotting it. A quick turnaround
in a driveway and I went back down the way I'd come, and there now on
my left, was the building. 

I pulled over to the side of the road and took a picture with my digital
camera(which once more insists it's October). It was a beautiful, warm
afternoon. The parsonage seems to sit in the middle of farm property,
with a barn on the left and a field with cows seeking shade under some
trees to the right. Across the street, on the other side of my car, a flock
of Canadian geese were foraging along the banks of a small river. Except
for the occasional car passing by on the blacktop road, it could have been
a typical summer day from Rev. Keith's time in the 17th century.

The building was closed so I resolved to find out when it might be open
and come back to see the inside. Then I drove on down River St, crossed
the bridge by the Canoe Club and continued on until I came to the Alden
Cemetery on my left. I parked across the street on Cross St and walked
over to the graveyard.

I was dismayed by what I found. While most of the markers are upright
and intact, some of them are beginning to lean over or sink into the grass.
And with the exception of perhaps fifteen or twenty markers, most are
unreadable. Inscriptions have worn away from the weather or obscured
by fungus. The stonewall at the front is so close to the first row of
markers that it surely must run over the graves themselves.The grounds
were obviously cared for and the grass mowed, but I had to wonder how
long  it would be before all the gravemarkers were unreadable and Alden
Cemetery was no longer cared for.

I have no ancestors at Alden Cemetery(that I know of, anyway) and I'd
intended to try to find the graves of Reverend Keith and  Deacon Samuel
Edson but it was already late afternoon and I knew the traffic on Rte 18
would be getting heavy. So I decided to call it a day and return to find
them another day.

So ended my first genealogy daytrip of the year.

1 comment:

Marian Pierre-Louis said...

The Keith house is beautiful! I'm so glad you stopped to get a photo. I have ancestors buried in the Bridgewaters as well. My Gurneys spent some time there.