The 2016 Spurling Revolutionary War Cemetery project was quite different from the 2014 Stanley Cemetery project. The Stanley cemetery’s 101 headstones deteriorated naturally and generally fell or sank where they stood. The Spurling cemetery headstones suggest a different story.
The Spurling cemetery contains burials from 1785-1848. Of the 26 known graves only 9 headstones and 5 footstones are visible in 2016, even after a ground penetrating radar survey was conducted. And one important wooden burial marker has disappeared. Legend has it that the cemetery may have been vandalized decades ago. Headstones may have been intentionally laid flat, broken, or moved around on the hillside. Research reveals that by 1971, only Joseph L’Grow’s 1833 headstone was standing, and the Benjamin Spurling, Sr. 1836 headstone was flat on the ground but plainly readable. By 2003, the L’Grow stone still stood and the few visible prostrate stones were overgrown with thick matted grass and weeds.
In 2016, following the success of the Stanley cemetery preservation project and heeding concerns of descendants of those buried on the Spurling Cove hillside, residents of the Town of Cranberry Isles approved a request from GCIHS for $4,000 to restore the cemetery. Later that year, in an effort to locate as many of the headstones as possible, the Congregational Church approved $2,000 for a Ground Penetrating Radar survey. In 2017, the Town allocated $5,000 for a memorial headstone listing all 26 names, and the Church will donate an additional $1,400 for the memorial.
Below are some photos of project highlights. Read more about it in on these pages: our NEWS blog and our slide show, and visit our research links, too. You’ll discover before and after photos, spreadsheets of information, and a wealth of other details.