Friday, June 10, 2011

Cavendish Semiquincentennial: Whose Buried in the Revolutionary Cemetery?

This past week, Carmine Guica dropped off some of his binders at the Cavendish Historical Society Museum. Among them were the stories and genealogies of those buried in the various town cemeteries.

About the Revolutionary Cemetery, off of Brook Road in Cavendish, Guica notes, “The reason why it is so rough and little knolls and no grave stones, especially on the lower end is that years back a lot of the families dug up their dead either on account of religion or they wanted them moved to the new cemeteries. This has come to me by word of mouth, one generation to the next.”

While a number of Revolutionary soldiers are buried in the Cemetery, he pointed out the story of Thomas Gleason who was born before 1758 at Worcester, Mass and died at Cavendish in 1830/31. He was a Revolution soldier. The following is from “The Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society” in 1935. “Gleason could of told much more about his Military Service. As a matter of fact, he had been a deserter repeatedly and was probably a bounty-jumper. When not in uniform, he was in trouble with the civil authorities. He was brought to trial in his native Town of Worcester in 1779, charged with passing counterfeit bills. He pled guilty and was committed to jail for two months.

Following this imprisonment he re-enlisted in the Army, but soon showed in Worcester, an alleged deserter and was then in trouble over counterfeit bills. After another enlistment and desertion, he appears before the Superior Court in Cambridge charged with obtaining fraudulently a note of hand but was given “the leave of Court to depart.”

The following year, 1791, he was found guilty of burglary and put away for five years at Castle Island. Described as a man 5 and one half feet in height, dark complexion, born in Worcester, Mass 1758 ‘much given to vice and immorality, (testified his Uncle) not to be depended on because he would rather lie then tell the truth.’ He must nevertheless be put down as a Veteran and Pensioner of the Revolution.”

The oldest grave stone is for Henry Proctor (born 3/15/1729, died 6/19/1778). It is the only stone facing east. “It was believed by some at that time that the Spirit will rise from the east.”

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