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  • Sharon’s Historic Cemeteries

    Keene Sentinel – Story and Photos by Eric Poor – Sep 29, 2022

    Two of the five properties recently named to the state’s Register of Historic Places are cemeteries in Sharon, both the South and North Burying Grounds.

    The older of the two is the South Burying Ground on Jarmany Hill Road, where the oldest grave, containing the remains of Josiah Robbins, is dated 1795. According to the state’s Register of Historic Places, this cemetery enclosed by stone walls on all four sides, holds the graves of many of the town’s earliest settlers. The most recent interment is that of Edith Wilson, who died January 19, 1982.

    Accessed through a white wooden gate, the cemetery has 153 gravestones, according to the town, which records 165 bodies. Ten stones record more than one person. One has five. There are 82 males and 83 females. Forty of them are children (under the age of twenty). Four are identified as military veterans who served in the Revolutionary and Civil Wars and two as doctors

    All the stones are slate or rough marble, except one of polished granite that appears to be a replacement for an older stone. The burials were done with the heads situated to the west, facing east. Many of the stones bear carvings of winged soul effigies, willows and urns, common in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

    There are an additional twenty-five to thirty unmarked fieldstones placed throughout. They could mark graves or sites reserved for future interments. One whole corner of the graveyard is apparently empty of graves although some depressions are visible. The only planting is a large forsythia on the north side. Wild blueberries carpet much of the ground.

    The South Burying Ground is a short uphill gravel road walk from Jarmany Road.

    “Every time I walk that incline, I can imagine the procession of horses and oxen, wagons and carts and people on foot to lay their loved ones to rest,” Gina Goff of Sharon said. Goff worked to have the cemeteries placed on the register.

    “What makes both of these cemeteries so special is that they’re a memorial to the men, women and children who lived here so long ago when life was so challenging,” Goff said. “It represents their lives and beliefs and that is important to present day Sharon, New Hampshire.”

    It was because the cemeteries seemed so special, that Goff applied to have them listed on the state’s historical register.

    “I was hopeful the state would agree they’re special,” she said. “We made the cut, which is great.”

    It wasn’t her doing alone, Goff said.

    “Other people in town hold both cemeteries in high regard and have done the research. I stood on their shoulders when I applied to the state. It was a collaborative effort.”

    Sharon’s North Burying Ground was established in 1834, according to the registry. Located on McCoy Road and also known as the Sharon Village Cemetery, it holds 79 known burials, the most recent dated 1927. Originally known as the “New” Cemetery, it has the town’s only receiving vault. A cut granite wall extends along the roadside and the other walls are piled fieldstone. Most of the markers are slate and marble. There are five slate monuments ranging from four to seven feet tall.

    Those cut granite stones along the roadside are topped with iron rings Goff suspects were used to tether the horses people rode to the interments.

    The older North Burying Ground is directly adjacent to the town’s current cemetery.

    While the historic recognition is important, Goff hopes visitors will be respectful.

    “The headstones are delicate and we discourage rubbings to avoid damage to them.”

    “From a historian’s perspective, all cemeteries are important historic resources,” said Benjamin Wilson, Director of the Division of Historical Resources. “Each grave marker tells a story and helps make up the larger story of who we are as a state. In the case of these two listed cemeteries, they both clearly represent the periods from when they were in use. From the plot layout, the types of marker materials, to the carved iconography exhibited on the stones, researchers can define social norms, fashions of the period and economic variables. Cemeteries represent an important type of above ground archaeology that gives us a clear view of the past.”

    New Hampshire’s Division of Historical Resources, the State Historic Preservation Office, was established in 1974 and is part of the NH Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. Its mission is to preserve and celebrate New Hampshire’s irreplaceable historic resources through programs and services that provide education, stewardship and protection. They can be found on-line at

  • Historic Places – Cemeteries in Sharon

    North and South burial ground in Sharon added to state register of historic places

    BY SCOTT MERRILL Monadnock Ledger-transcript 8/15/2022

    The North and South burial grounds in Sharon have been added to the state’s register of historic places, joining dozens of other sites throughout the Monadnock region.

    Gina Goff of Sharon, who was also involved in the application process for the Brick Schoolhouse, which made both the state and national registers of historic places, spearheaded the effort to have the cemeteries included.

    “The Town of Sharon has a rich history,” Goff said, adding that she believes the project to put the one-room Brick Schoolhouse on the national and state registers fueled a deeper interest in the town’s past. “Having both of these historic burying grounds on the state’s historic registry is confirmation that they’re extraordinary places.”

    The South Burying Ground in Sharon contains the graves of many of the town’s well-known and earliest settlers, which include Sharonites who enlisted in the Revolutionary  War and the Civil War, as well as early settlers that include farmers, mill workers, regular people and their families, Goff said, adding that people should avoid making grave rubbings as this can damage the slate and marble gravestones.

    There are 153 marked graves in the South Burying Ground, many with initialed foot stones. The oldest date is marked 1795, while the most-recent is dated 1948. South Burying Ground’s rural design elements include a stone wall on all four sides, a white wooden gate and gravestones with both winged soul effigies and urns and willows that were common in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

    The  North Burying Ground was established in 1834 and the last of its 79 known burials is dated 1927. Originally known as “New” Cemetery, it has granite walls that extend along the burying ground’s roadside and the other walls are piled fieldstone. In keeping with rural burying grounds of the 19th century, most markers are slate and marble and there are five slate monuments approximately 4 to 7 feet tall.

    Chet Bowles – Selectman 2022

    Megan Rupnik, who oversees the National Register of Historic Places for the state and the New Hampshire State Register of Historic Places programs, as well as the state’s architectural survey program, said both burying grounds are historically significant to the Town of Sharon and reflect late 18th- and early 19th-century rural cemetery design with their stone wall enclosures, rectilinear layouts and lack of formal design.

    “The South Burying Ground is also significant for its association with the early settlement of the town, appearing to have been established within four years of the town’s founding,” Rupnik said.  “It contains many of the town’s earliest settlers and was the only burying ground in Sharon for 40 years.”

    The North Burying Ground was established at the peak of the town’s population, reflecting a period of growth for the rural agricultural community. Additionally, this burying ground, which was active from 1834 to 1927, contains the town’s only receiving vault.

    The New Hampshire State Register of Historic Places program is part of the New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources, which is under the state department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

    Rupnik works with professional architectural historians, local heritage commission or historical society members and other members of the public with the process of documenting their historic properties, and also facilitates the listing of qualified properties in either the national or state registers.

    Both the national and state registers are honorific listings and do not place restrictions on a property, Rupnik said, adding that the process for nomination begins when an interested party reaches out to her to learn about the process, which involves completing an inventory form.

    Once the inventory form is complete, it is reviewed by the department’s Determination of Eligibility (DOE) committee, which evaluates the property based on the information in the inventory form. If determined eligible for the state register, the next step is to receive permission of the property owner for listing (required by state law), and the final step is for the nomination to be presented to the State Historical Resources Council, a committee appointed by the governor that includes professionals in the fields of historic preservation that meets quarterly and votes for final approval for the property to be listed to the state register.

    Goff said she had a lot of support from town officials and others when filling out the application for the burying grounds.

    “I stood on the shoulders of other citizens in 2002 who did a wonderful inventory and report on one of the cemeteries, and other reports from the distant past,” she said, describing some of the  maps, photographs and other research she included in the application. “There was wonderful material to work with that really helped.”

    Goff, who said she considers herself a “little bit of a history buff,” volunteers a few hours a week in Town of Sharon archives located at the town hall and said she would like to see more sites acknowledged for their historical significance in the region.

    Other sites on the state’s register of  historic places in the Monadnock region include the John Whittemore House, Monadnock Paper Mills Complex and the Sunnyside Cemetery in Bennington; the Robert Todd House, the Blacksmith Shop and the Caroline Wilson House in Francestown; the Daloz, Johnson, Bradford Mill Complex in Hancock; Peterborough Town Library and dozens of others. Visit the New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources website,, for a complete listing.

  • South Burying Ground

    Jarmany Hill Road

    This drawing of the South Burying Ground was done in 2017. Rick Lusky (Nashua Road) and Jack Ogren (Spring Hill Road) did the measurements. Rick Lusky completed the scale drawing. The ‘year’ is the date of death inscribed on the headstone.

    Jarmany Hill Cemetery
    South Burying Ground

    South Burying ground, Jarmany Hill, Sharon, NH.
    Gravestones: 155
    People buried: 165. Ten stones record more than one person. One has five.
    Males: 82
    Females: 83
    Children (under 20): 40
    Many of those buried were in their 20s and 30s
    Oldest grave: Josiah Robbins, died May 20, 1795
    Most recent: Edith Wilson, died January 19, 1982

    The Wilson family appears to have the most descendants buried in the graveyard. Four people are identified as military veterans. Two identified as doctors. All stones are slate or rough marble, except one (polished granite) that appears to be a replacement for an older grave stone.

    All heads are situated toward the west, traditionally for Christians to rise at the resurrection facing eastward toward Jerusalem and the Risen Christ.

    Perhaps twenty-five to thirty unmarked field stones are placed throughout the graveyard in positions that could mark graves or be reserved for future graves. One whole corner of the graveyard is apparently empty of graves, though some depressions in the ground are visible. A large forsythia on the north side near the stone wall is the only planting. Otherwise, wild blueberries carpet much of the ground. Small trees are encroaching from the woodlands beyond the wall.

    Ages are often given with the symbol AE or AEt. This is an abbreviation of the Latin word aetatis, meaning life or age in specific years.

  • McCoy Road Cemetery Receiving Vault

    Interior of the Receiving Vault at the McCoy Road Cemetery showing walls and ceiling made of stone.

    Photo credit:  Andrew Cushing, Community Preservation Services Manager, New Hampshire Preservation Alliance (2022)

  • Repair to Receiving Vault

    At the recommendation of the New Hampshire State Archeologist and the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance, the Town of Sharon engaged the services of Sandri Stone to repair and reposition the wall at the McCoy Road Cemetery’s Receiving Vault. Over the decades, some of the granite blocks had shifted and the wall was bowing out.

    John Sandri who is certified with the Dry Stone Walling Association of Great Britain and who a member of The Stone Trust, accomplished the project in the fall. His company, based in Harrisville NH, works on rebuilding historic walls as well as on new construction projects.
    The work was paid for by the Wilson II Fund (established in 1987) and supplemented by funds approved by citizens at Town Meeting in March.

    Sharon’s McCoy Road Cemetery (also known as the North Cemetery) along with the Jarmany Hill Road Cemetery (also called the South Burying Ground) were both added to the New Hampshire Register of Historic Places in 2022.

    Work in progress:

    Work complete: