Chelmsford Historical Society
Touring the Forefathers Burying Ground

Forefathers Burying GroundTake a stroll through one of New England's oldest colonial cemeteries – the Forefathers Burying Ground in Chelmsford, Massachusetts – and meet some of this town's founding families. The first settlers of the town included families of the name: Abbott, Adams, Blodgett, Blood, Butricke, Butterfield, Byam, Chamberlin, Fletcher, Hall, Hildreth, Learned, Parker, Parkhurst, Perham, Pierce, Proctor, Reed, Spalding, and Underwood. Here you will visit the final resting places of our earliest inhabitants. The Forefathers Burying Ground is located in Chelmsford center, behind the First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church originally known as the Church of Christ in Chelmsford. It contains many early stones by the Lamson, Park, Wooster stonecarvers. Work by other carvers includes Dwight, Ball, Colburn, Day, Nichols.

Photo courtesy of Fred Merriam

Here lies the Body
of Mrs: Betty Blood
late wife of Mr: Ephraim
Blood who depart
ed this Life Decr:
28:th 1771 Aged 58
years 7 months
& 12 days
She was the mother of 7 Children
which all ly at her feet.
Here lyes buried
ye body of Cornet
Nathaniel Hill
aged 64 years
died May ye 14th1706
Blessed are the mercifull

BY the Church
of Christ In Chelmsford

In Testimony of their Esteem and Veneration
This sepulchral Stone was erected, to stand as a
Sacred Memorial of their late worthy Pastor
the Reverend Ebenezer Bridge
who after having officiated among them
in the Service of the Sanctuary
for more than a year above half a Century
the Strength of Nature being exhausted
sunk under the Burden of Age
and joined the Congregation of the Dead,
Oct. 1, 1792, Ętat 78

Willard Blood died 1747
Willow Gate

In memory of
For 29 years
Pastor of the First
Church and Society
in Chelmsford
Born in Shrewsbury
July 10, 1775
Grad. Harv. Univ. 1801
Ordained Nov. 16, 1803
Retired Nov. 16, 1832
Died in Andover
Dec. 2, 1845

Elizabeth Scripture died
April ye 15th 1781, Aged 98

Photo courtesy of Fred Merriam


Rev. Wilson Waters, circa 1894

As the fourth rector of the church and the town historian, Rev. Waters compiled and published the History of Chelmsford, Massachusetts. Henry Perham started this project in 1904 at the town's request; however, he died in 1906, leaving the work incomplete.

This massive publication is 900 pages and includes excerpts from the diary of Rev. Ebenezer Bridge, town and church records, and various manuscripts from the State archives.

Early inhabitants of Chelmsford

Here Lyes ye Body
of Mr. John
Perham who
Decd Janury. ye
21st 1721
Aged 88 years

Photo courtesy of Fred Merriam



Mrs. Lydia Perham wife of Mr. John
Perham Who deceased June 26, 1710

Photo courtesy of Fred Merriam

Notice the unusual thistles in the two
arches of this stone
Jonathan Barrett

Photo courtesy of Bradford Rigby

Lydia Barrett

Lydia Barrett

Photo courtesy of Bradford Rigby

Here Lyes ye Body
of Mrs. Anna
Chamberlin Wife
of Mr. Samuel
Chamberlin Who
Decd April 1, 1721

Photo courtesy of Fred Merriam


Sybil Procter was buried far from the community of the dead, until about 100 years later when her body was re-interred from this garden.

Only her stone remains...and well cared for.

Photos courtesy of Marti Spalding unless otherwise noted. For reprints or permission to use pictures of any gravestone, please contact us by e-mail, phone, or letter. Our collection contains over 300 early stones by the Lamsons, Parks, Wooster, Colburn, Ball, and Dwight. Richard Hildreth


Benjamin Howard

Benjamin Howard with eyes closed, appears to be holding his breath, not ready to leave
this place...

Here Lyes ye Body of
Mrs Elizabeth Bowers
Wife of Capt. Jerathmell
Bowers Who Decd
March 4, 1721 in ye 76th
Year of Her Age

Photo courtesy of Fred Merriam

Mrs Elizabeth Bowers
Ebenezer Barrett

Notice the crown at the top of the stone.
The Barretts were of Scottish decent.

Ebenezer Barrett

Box Tomb - Souls unknown

Box Tomb - Souls unknown



Rev. Thomas Clarke
Rev. Thomas Clarke

Rev. Ebenezer Bridge
Rev. Ebenezer Bridge

Rev. John Fiske
Rev. John Fiske

Rev. Wilson Waters
Rev. Wilson Waters

Rev. Wilkes Allen
Rev. Wilkes Allen

Copyright © 1997-2018. All rights reserved.
This website is maintained by Chelmsford Historical Society members. To comment, or report broken links, e-mail webmaster