South Berwick's five community cemeteries span almost four centuries, from the 1600s to the present day. Rich with history, they are peaceful, interesting places to stroll, as well as being a repository of historical facts and a means to honor hundreds of our veterans. The Town of South Berwick provides only minimal maintenance for cemeteries. The Old Berwick Historical Society is therefore grateful to the volunteers who maintain these irreplaceable community landmarks.
Established 1600's - Vine Street, near Old Fields Road and Brattle Street
Overlooking Leigh's Mill Pond, Old Fields Burying Ground on Vine Street is one of South Berwick's oldest cemeteries, dating from the 1600s. Though no stones from that date are identified, it is very likely the burial place of our first settlers --families such as those of Thomas Spencer and Humphrey Chadbourne. After the community's 1652 submission to Massachusetts Bay Colony, it was ordered that a meeting house be built, and around 1660 the settlers did so nearby, on the intersection of today's Brattle Street and Old South Road, at the center of the settlement.
Freewill Baptist Cemetery
Established c. 1835 - Main Street
Many South Berwick citizens of the 1800s and early 1900s have been laid to rest in this beautiful historic cemetery located right in the heart of South Berwick Village. The 1835 South Berwick Free Baptist Church, containing the 1890 South Berwick town clock and shown at left on Main Street, is part of the interesting story of Maine Baptists and the temperance movement of the early 1800s.
The earliest grave recorded here is that of Eliza J. Earl, a two-day-old infant who died in 1813, indicating the cemetery may have begun as a family burial plot on an Earl family farm. World War I Veteran Chester Guy Earl (1893-1957), Pvt Company G, 36th Infantry, was buried here much later.
Portland Street Cemetery
Established 1818 - Agamenticus Road
Click here for a database to search graves in Portland Street Cemetery.
In March, 1817, a merchant named Micajah Currier, writing his will, provided funds for the creation of a new burying ground “for the inhabitants of Berwick and South Berwick,” according to York County, Maine Will Abstracts. Currier's tomb was the first to be placed there, in 1818. This was how Portland Street Cemetery began. In those days Agamenticus Road would have been a country lane without a name. Nearby, however, was the spot that became the Soldiers Monument at the Portland Street intersection, where South Berwick's town house stood in the early 1800s.
Currier's tomb, right foreground, at Portland Street Cemetery on Agamenticus Road, with Powderhouse Hill ski area in background
Pleasant Hill Cemetery
Pleasant Hill Cemetery is an historic burying ground originally associated with the Great Works woolen mill on Brattle Street, and dates to at least the mid-1800s. Many textile mill workers employed at the Newichawanick Woolen Company are buried here. The Second Advent Society at Great Works had a small church opposite the cemetery and a bit downhill. The society was founded in 1870 by Rev. J. G. Smith and Rev. T. W. Piper and 15 original members.
Woodlawn Cemetery, the largest and newest in South Berwick, was created on an old Libby family homestead and burial site that dates to the 18th century. As Portland Street Cemetery began to near its capacity in the 1880s, Woodlawn began to be regularly used, and now contains hundreds of 20th century graves, including many veterans of World Wars I and II. It is maintained by the South Berwick Cemetery Association.
“This monument is raised in the original family burying ground on the homestead of Dea. B. Libby, as a memorial to the long neglected dead which repose here, some thirty in number,” reads a Woodlawn Cemetery marker “erected by the descendants of Dea. John Libby, A.D. 1881.”
Tomb of George F. Knight