This October, we’ll be featuring Halloween-themed Throwback Thursdays. Anything from the haunted, to costumes, and everything in between–we’ll feature it all!
The Valley Cemetery
We decided to kick-off our Halloween Throwback Thursday with a look at the Valley Cemetery. We’ll dive into the history of the cemetery and next week we’ll learn aalll about its suspected hauntings! The ‘Friends of Valley Cemetery‘ have a wonderful website dedicated to restoring the cemetery to its former glory. A huge thank you to them for all of this great information below.
I’m not sure why I was so surprised to learn that the Valley Cemetery was once a property of the Amoskeag Manufacturing Company. We have learned throughout this series the impact Amoskeag had on, not only Manchester’s development in the 19th and 20th centuries, but it’s continued impact on the Manchester we know today…
Back to the facts… Amoskeag donated the 20 acres of land the cemetery now occupies to the city in 1840. What’s most interesting about the use of this land is that the cemetery wasn’t necessarily built to be just a cemetery–it was built with the intention of being a public park of sorts. “The walkways, carriage paths, and bridges invited residents to stroll the grounds. Picnics under the trees were popular as were horse-drawn carriage rides.” Interesting, huh? You can see the rolling green hills to the right in this postcard provided by the Manchester Historic Association.
A decade later, the city underwent a cholera epidemic in which the Valley Cemetery proved to be, sadly, useful. Given the gravity of the epidemic, “trustees found it necessary to designate the northeast corner of the cemetery for the victims of disease. Burials were performed at night in a mass grave.” Sad stuff.
While there are “no available lots in the Valley, occasional burials still take place there, the most recent being in 2012,” there are quite a few notables buried there. The Friends of Valley Cemetery write:
“The burial grounds host some of the city’s first politicians, ministers, engineers, musicians, mayors, two New Hampshire governors, approximately sixty Civil War soldiers, a few veterans of the Revolutionary War and at least one soldier from the French and Indian Wars. Members of Manchester’s first families, including Starks, Straws, Blodgets, Beans, Buntons, and Harringtons reside in the Valley Cemetery.”
Pictured above: The Blood Family and Dr. Gale’s respective mausoleums.