The story of whaling and finding one's fortune aboard ships is such a particular facet of New England's foundations, that it is almost impossible to walk a cemetery without finding the grave marker of a "Capt.," or a young son lost at sea.
I found the North Falmouth Cemetery tucked behind the Congregational church - a beautiful example of the simplicity in architectural design of early New England churches.
|Arched windows of N. Falmouth Congregational|
After driving up and down the rural, winding main road of N. Falmouth, I pulled off into the church parking lot to admire this exquisite church, and spotted the cemetery behind the church purely by accident - it is so hidden from view.
Walking the orderly rows of gravestones in this well-kept burial ground gives one a true sense of what "rest in peace" is meant to convey: it is a serene, sunlit sanctuary.
Here, the "Nye" family abounds. Nye, Tobey, Ellis, Davis are common names, but here the Nyes seem dominant.
And, evidence of a sea-going community abounds, as well. Though it is not unusual to find a "lost at sea" or "Capt. ..." it IS a little unusual to find an entire descriptive passage etched in stone, about the exact nature of death and location.
I only browsed for a short 15 minutes or so, but here are just two examples found in this small cemetery. I look forward to going back and spending more time exploring. Click on the images for a closer look.
Harlan Page Nye: I did do a little brief research on Ancestry.com about the Nyes when I got home. The Nye parents lost 5 children between 1851 and 1860. Three of the children succumbed to consumption over a span of two years, according to death records of Falmouth. And young Harlan died on a whaling trip, in Bristol Bay, Alaska. No further research needed - his story is written in stone.
|Harlan Page Nye - "taken down" by a whale|
And Lemuel T. Tobey, who was born in Falmouth and died in a valiant attempt to save a vessel at sea - also recorded for eternity on his grave marker. A fitting tribute to his bravery.
|Employed by the New York & Wilmington Steamship Line|