When Ed Avis of Litchfield, Maine was researching the history of his new home for the town’s centennial he found a deed that read his home was built circa 1790 and that a portion of the property be reserved as a burial ground;


by Ed Avis

“After the death of Thomas and Elizabeth MORGRIDGE, the property was divided into eight portions among their surviving children.  William MORGRIDGE was appointed by the other heirs as their attorney to sell the property.  The original probate records are still on file at the Probate Court in Augusta, folder number M6.  The house and 108 acres (the northerly 6/8 portion of the property) were sold to Charles K. ALLEN on 22 SEP 1853.  Of particular interest is a section of the deed which reserved “one fourth acre of land for a Burying Ground, with the right to pass to and from the same to be laid out in nearly a square Southerly of the gully where the graves now are so as to include all the graves and the trees on the South side of the gully so that the graves shall be protected from washing out“.  This same phrase appears in other deeds, the last being in 1870.  All mention of the graveyard disappears in later deeds and the site was lost to memory.  Checks with local historians, people who have lived in the house this century, town office records, and the Maine Old Cemetery Association revealed no records that the graveyard existed.  After several months of searching, the graveyard was located in September 1995.  To date, four inscribed headstones have been located.  The oldest is a small fieldstone inscribed “B.M. 1803“, which is almost certainly the grave of Thomas and Elizabeth’s daughter, Elizabeth (Betsey), who died at age 14 on 26 JUN 1803.  A second small fieldstone is simply inscribed “M.B.“, and likely stands for “Morgridge Baby” since there are no known names associated with the house with those initials.  The third marker is a commercially produced marble headstone inscribed “Sacred to the memory of ELIZABETH M. ROBINSON, Wife of Benj. Robinson, who died Oct. 19, 1854“.  Elizabeth was the daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth Morgridge and the second of their children to bear that name (the first Elizabeth, mentioned above, had died prior to the second Elizabeth’s birth).  The last stone located was an unexpected find.  It is also a commercially produced marble marker inscribed “SARAH A., wife of E.G. CHANDLER, died May 2, 1857“.  This was apparently Sarah (Odiorne) Chandler, who lived nearby and may have been related to the Jack family who owned the house at the time of Sarah’s death.  In addition to the four identified markers, there are three or four large fieldstones without inscriptions that likely mark other graves.  A best guess as to others buried there includes (at least) Thomas MORGRIDGE (d. 1838), Elizabeth MORGRIDGE (d. 1840), their son, Timothy MORGRIDGE (d. 1818), plus Benjamin ROBINSON (d. 1859) and Mary S. {    } JACK (d. 1869). “


KJ Article - Page 1-5KJ Article - Page 2


Sarah Chandler headstone

SARAH A. WIFE OF E.G. CHANDLER DIED May 2, 1857 AGED 27 Yrs. 6 Mos. She sleeps in Jesus and is blessed, How sweet her slumbers are. [From suffering] and from sin released And free from every care.



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