Posts Tagged hammond

New England Travels Part 1

Jul 18th, 2015 Posted in Cemeteries | no comment »

June 21, 2015. (Note: click on any photo to enlarge)

Our first stop on this trip was Gloucester. On a super wet and rainy Father’s Day Sunday, we headed from Boston-Logan airport to Gloucester.



We were a little early for our first meeting for a tour of Dogtown, so we headed to see the Fishermen Memorial at the coast. See my blog about the trip to the Stacy Esplanade memorials here.

In addition to the Cherry Hill cemetery, mentioned in the above referenced blog post, we also drove past the Prospect (High) Street Cemetery. I snapped a few photos.




The Prospect (High) Street Cemetery burial records are available through the NEHGS, and they offer a searchable database of the cemetery records here.




Beechbrook Cemetery

We also drove through (too wet to get out of the car!) the Beechbrook Cemetery. Beechbrook features the Fishermen’s Rest section devoted to mariners and a really tall monument with either an elk or a deer.


An elk or a deer?

An elk or a deer?

Overview of the cemetery as we came around

Overview of the cemetery as we came around a corner

Fishermen's Rest

Fishermen’s Rest


In 2007, professor David J. Stewart argued that though the seminal works of Dethlefson and Deetz blazed the way for determining cultural change over time vis a vis cemeteries, not much had been studied in maritime archaeology; and that cemeteries such as Beechbrook could aid in understanding maritime culture and lifestyle in seafaring cities such as Gloucester, though not without their limitations.

An interesting interment in Beechbrook is that of Howard Blackburn. Nestled among the plain stones in Fishermen’s Rest, his stone belies his status in life: a successful mariner-turned-saloonkeeper and famous solo voyager. (See his story here.) As Stewart addresses in his article, one of the issues with monument studies is understanding the class divide. Many lower and middle class mariners were unable to afford gravemarkers until the late 19th century, and even then it was beyond the reach of some. (Stewart 2007 p. 116) Blackburn’s monument illustrates the issues with studying artifact assemblages without the corresponding historical record.

Fishermen's Rest, Howard Blackburn center right

Fishermen’s Rest, Howard Blackburn center right – click to enlarge

The Fishermen’s Rest area of the cemetery was funded by John Hays Hammond, and as luck would have it, our next stop was the Hammond Castle.


Hammond Castle

The Hammond Castle was built between 1926-1929 as a wedding present for John Hays Hammond, Jr.’s wife Irene Fenton Hammond. Hammond, Jr. was one of six children of the multi-millionaire philanthropist and mining engineer who donated to fund the Fishermen’s rest area of the Beechbrook Cemetery, originally intended for poor fishermen.

John Hammond, Jr. was an inventor and collector of medieval art and artifacts. He and his wife opened their home as a museum in 1930. The grounds are beautiful and the home is massive.

Walking through the grounds you really do feel like you’re in a medieval town.

2015-06-21 13.22.13



And of course, Mr. Hammond is buried on the grounds:

2015-06-21 13.23.44


The inside was also impressive. I took way too many photos, but here are a couple:

Some day I'll have lions in my house...

Some day I’ll have lions in my house…

2015-06-21 13.15.39

The library was my favorite room.



Hammond, John Hays. Autobiography, Vol. 2. Farrar & Rinehart Publishers, 1935. Pp. 774-775.

Stewart, David J. “Gravestones and Monuments in the Maritime Cultural Landscape: Research Potential and Prelimary Interpretations,” International Journal of Nautical Archaeology, 03/2007, Volume 36, Issue 1. Pp. 112-124.