East Roxbury Cemetery
Sue Nevins' story, A Chance To Get Together In Roxbury in The Northfield News, following Roxbury's Town meeting this year, sets the stage for this wonderful preservation project at the East Roxbury Cemetery:
Perhaps the biggest and most optimistic news of the day, in that very Roxbury sort of way, was the creation of a Cemetery Commission to preserve, protect and pay respect to the town’s history and people. There are five smaller cemeteries cared for by the town, and all need major restoration. This doesn’t include the large Roxbury Cemetery, which is private and overseen by the Roxbury Cemetery Association. The town has assumed mowing the lawn so the Roxbury Cemetery Association can take care of responsibilities, but if this group folds, the town will take over the burial grounds. Roxbury is looking for volunteers to take on duties and an article to elect three members to the commission was proposed so the select board could appoint people who will be on the ballot next year. East Roxbury residents Jack and Wendy Cashman, who are very concerned about the level of disrepair of the East Roxbury cemeteries, have taken on current research and volunteer work. Mr. Cashman spoke about the situation as being a long-term project and presented a poster of East Roxbury cemeteries where they have done recent work and documented needed repairs. The goal is to document and map all the cemeteries, which is also required by state law. The town paid the fee to become a member of the Vermont Old Cemetery Association and Mrs. Cashman applied for and got a $750 grant from this organization. Mr. Cashman observed that a certain amount of work can be done by volunteers, including brush removal and tree trimming, stone cleaning, researching, and putting in signs and mending fences according to state law. They have talked to a cemetery repair specialist who has estimated that it will take $30,000 to bring the East Roxbury First Settlers Cemetery back to some decency. In addition, $3000- $4000 in preventative maintenance is needed at the East Roxbury Cemetery, which includes resetting and preventing stones from falling. Mrs. Cashman stated, “We’d like the younger generation to learn that this is really important….There are lots of stories – it’s fascinating. We hope to get other people to catch this disease that we have!”
The members of the Vermont Old Cemetery Association salute Wendy and Jack Cashman, the Roxbury Cemetery Commissioners, and the people of Roxbury. You have raised the bar for all of us involved in cemetery preservation in Vermont.