The Cemetery

The mature oak and maple trees that surround the Meeting House lend a distinctive air of serenity to the site. The historic Quaker Cemetery adds to this sense of beauty and stillness, and (with the Sheds) was a contributing rationale for the property’s designation on the National Register.

This is the original Quaker burial ground, with early settlers’ graves dating from the late Eighteenth Century. The Cemetery has not been reserved exclusively for Friends, and so many graves are those of community members from the earliest days to the present.

Meeting records list over one thousand persons buried in the Cemetery. A survey in the late 1980s recorded 771 gravestones, many of them double or family markers. The majority of the gravestones date between 1790 and 1830.


Most of the early Quaker stones lie north of the walkway leading from the west side of the Meeting House. The earliest legible marker is the marble gravestone of Amos Mills, dated 1799. However, other markers in brown sandstone that have been weathered smooth may predate it. Sandstone appears to be the first type of stone used in the Cemetery; however, it is likely that some early plots were marked with wooden crosses, or not marked at all, in keeping with Quaker tenets of simplicity.


Most of the Nineteenth Century stones are of marble. With few exceptions, these are unadorned, bearing only the name of the deceased, the dates of birth and death, and (in the case of a married woman) the name of the spouse. The scattered exceptions include one marble stone that features a deeply carved image of a hand, pointing upward. Only the number “18–” can be clearly read.

Another marble stone, possibly dated 1818, appears to have a more shallow carving at the top, possibly of a willow tree; but wear has made it difficult to distinguish. The most poignant exceptions to the stark appearance of most of the early markers are three stones in the old Quaker section, dated 1848, 1856 and 1891. Each bears a small, stylized carving of flowers, and marks the grave of a child.


Granite stones in the cemetery date from the first decades of the Twentieth Century. Among the earliest of these stones one may see scrollwork, flowers or leaves as borders. A few more recent granite stones add crosses or heart-motifs, and some include dates of marriage as well as birth and death. Even among the more recent gravestones, however, there are a number that bear only names and dates inscribed on a polished surface within a single line border.

The Cemetery is an active part of the Cornwall Monthly Meeting, the operation of which is overseen by the Cemetery Committee of the Meeting. Interments continue to take place, both of Quakers and others to whom the site holds a special claim.