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 all of it’s 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. Back in 1840, Amoskeag donated 20 acres of land to the city, which was made into a cemetery. 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. “The walkways, carriage paths, and bridges invited residents to stroll the grounds. Picnics under the trees were popular as were horse-drawn carriage rides.” The post card above illustrates the beauty of the cemetery long ago.
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.”
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.”
With all of this history in the cemetery, there is no wonder why there has been several accounts of spirits haunting those who dare to enter. One blogger explored the Valley Cemetery in August of 2009 and had some pretty spooky experiences.They write of a mysterious “metallic clang” from inside the Smyth Mausoleum and a cold, brief gust of wind on a hot August day while climbing the steps of the mausoleum. Pretty spooky stuff. Read more here.
Another group of ghost hunters has visited the spot for a decade and report “repeatable evidence” of vast temperature changes and “intelligent responses” from the spirit. Read more about that here. Other visitors of the cemetery have also claimed to have seen a woman in a bright white light in the middle of the night before she disappeared in a flash. This extraordinary place is full of rich and meaningful history of Manchester, that just may be a little haunted!
If you do wish to visit the Valley Cemetery, please be respectful and visit during the designated hours between Sunrise to Sunset everyday.
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