Cemetery Tour then Depart Block Island

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The graves face east, on a hill overlooking the Great Salt Pond.

The Block Island Historical Society started sponsoring Cemetery Tours last summer. We were glad to join a large group of people on a sunny Sunday evening for the first one this year.  The cemetery is unusual because it spans over 330 years of the styles of headstones, materials, carving techniques and materials in a small area. The first headstones were brought by settlers from England and were made from brownstone and slate. Later, they were made from granite and marble. Footstones bearing the initials of the deceased were popular for many decades. Headstones were carved on the west side, facing away from the grave. Though this was always a town cemetery, until recently it was the responsibility of each family to maintain their plot, resulting in some areas looking like meadows by mid-summer and subject to criticism by their neighbors. One of the tour guides is herself a stone carver, making modern day headstones on the Island and the other is a historian. Both of the them are descendents of the original 16 families who formed a company and settled the Island in 1661. Fascinating history! There will be another tour on August 17 at 6 pm.

No maiden name for Mary Louise, wife of Capt. Lemuel Conley

The oldest grave, 1687, of one of the original settlers from 1661.
The legible part is illuminated by the reflection from a mirror.

Sadly we depart Block Island but we will return in mid Aug.


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