Charles W. Morgan & His Contemporaries Cemetery Tour

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On June 21, 2014 (10 a.m. to 1 p.m.) tour the Oak Grove Cemetery  on Parker Street in New Bedford with the New Bedford Preservation Society and visit Charles W. Morgan and his contemporaries.  Historic portrayals in period costumes will take place at gravesites of the Morgans and other first families of New Bedford.  Proceeds will benefit the restoration of the Captain Daniel Drayton grave at Rural Cemetery.New Bedford Preservation Society Cemetery Tour

Note: The rain date is June 22.

History of Oak Grove Cemetery

The land for Oak Grove Cemetery was purchased by a committee charged by the town selectmen with developing a municipally owned cemetery preferably on the outskirts of town. The committee consisted of six men who selected eight acres of land in the northwest portion of the city, which had yet to be highly developed. Six of the acres were purchased from Dr. Alexander Read, and the remaining two were purchased from Bethuel Pennyman at the cost of $1,300. Additional funds were allocated for the development of the cemetery.

$770 was spent to construct the stone wall surrounding the cemetery, and an additional $330 was spent for laying out and the making of carriage ways and paths. The original entrance was on Smith Street, as can be seen by the formal granite pillars. The cemetery was opened on October 6, 1843, with appropriate dedication ceremonies. In 1868, an additional 14 acres were purchased and laid out. In 1887, another large tract of land was purchased across Parker Street and developed into additional burial space.

As you stroll through here, note the narrow pathways, some meant for carriages while others just for foot traffic. Many of the lots were purchased for entire families, and you will see that they are set off by granite curbing. A number of these curbings would originally have had a surrounding wrought fence with an entrance gate. This was meant to keep the spirits in their place at rest so they would not wander and disturb the living. You will also notice that several graves as well as their monuments were moved here as the death dates predate the establishment of the cemetery. Many of these early stones are very plain, or perhaps it was the Quaker background of the owners that influenced their final resting place. You will notice there are many inscriptions on the stones; some are passages from the Bible.