The Old Berwick Historical Society will lead a guided walking tour of the Freewill Baptist Cemetery at 340 Main Street, South Berwick, Maine, on Saturday, June 19. The event begins at 1:00 pm, rain or shine, and will last approximately an hour. It is open to the public and is free of charge.
Located beside the Free Baptist Church in the heart of South Berwick’s village, the cemetery dates to the early 1800s. Among those buried here are John Spencer, veteran of the War of 1812; Capt. Elijah Ricker, born about 1786, who died at sea in 1826; William L. Hanscom and Alfred W. Hart, veterans of the Civil War; and veterans of the Spanish American War and World War I.
“This little cemetery is a small gem hidden in downtown South Berwick,” said historical society member Wendy Pirsig, who will lead the tour.
About an acre in size, the cemetery has 163 graves that the historical society has been able to document.
Participants will also hear about the 1835 South Berwick Free Baptist Church, containing the 1890 South Berwick town clock. The church was connected to Maine’s history of the temperance movement of the early 1800s.
The website of the Old Berwick Historical Society, at www.oldberwick.org, includes a free database of over 7000 names in all South Berwick cemeteries, and researchers are welcome. The society's Counting House Museum, open on weekend afternoons from 1:00 to 4:00 pm through October, and other times by appointment, also offers cemetery records.