The Hill Cemetery (at the corner of Elm and Prospect Sts., behind the American Legion) is where Hatfield residents were buried up until 1850, at which time the satellite cemeteries around town were started. Hatfield had no stone cutters until about 1720, so most grave markers before then were made from wood and did not survive.
This transcription was done by museum volunteer Max Krause, with help last summer from Smith Academy (’12) museum assistant Katie Keating. Thanks Max and Katie! Click here:
1899 Hill Cemetery gravestones
The following link – which comes to us via Max’s friend Gina Martel – is fabulous if you’re into old gravestones – or even if you’re not. The Farber Gravestone Collection, housed at The American Antiquarian Society in Worcester and digitized here, documents the sculpture on more than 9,000 gravestones, most of which were made prior to 1800. The 40 stark black-and-white photos from Hatfield’s Hill Cemetery are works of art in themselves. The listings that accompany the images give the carver, if known, as well as the name of deceased and death year, stone material and type of carving. Note the oldest Hatfield stones (1724-1728) carved by Joseph Nash, including one for little Mary Nash, who died “AGD NEAR 4 YEAR.” Another stone records the death of 19-year-old Aaron Goodrich, Jr., who died by the bite of a mad dog. Take a look; they are fascinating!
Farber Collection: Hatfield's Hill Cemetery
Martel also notes the Greenfield, MA-based Association for Gravestone Studies (AGS), an international organization dedicated to the study and preservation of gravestones of all periods and styles. AGS sponsors conferences, workshops and exhibits, and publishes an annual journal and a quarterly bulletin. A great resource to have in our own backyard.
And finally, here are some independent online sources for photos of Hill Cemetery gravestones. Thanks Beth and Rusty for sharing these images:
Shot by Ohio-based Beth Santore, a self-proclaimed grave addict:
Shot in 2004 by naturalist/historian Rusty Clark: