Category Archives: Vine Lake Cemetery


Arbor Day – 10:30 on 11/12

VLPT newsletter, Quiet Voices

The monthly newsletter, Quiet Voices, from the Vine Lake Preservation Trust is always interesting, and I encourage every resident to sign up to receive it.  I could not seem to copy the August newsletter successfully here to share it, but I was able to copy one of the pages from the Vine Lake Preservation Trust website to give you a flavor of what is shared –


Copyright © 2019 Vine Lake Preservation Trust                Contact


Medfield, Massachusetts

What Everyone Should Know About…

The Family of Samuel Greenby Marian Pierre-Louis

Find out more about this remarkable African American family of some means who resided in Medfield during the 1800s.

Must Click

From Our House to Vine Lake Cemetery:

Uncanny Connections

by Maria Baler

How a Medfield family came to know their home’s history, the Bent family who lived there, and their burial lot in the cemetery.


m of a manse on a VT hilltop runs into tradition, suspicion, cemetery…

Must Know

The Sampson Stones

by Rob Gregg

Perhaps the cemetery’s most intriguing mystery about two perforated stones. What makes these stones so different?


m of a manse on a VT hilltop runs into tradition, suspicion, cemetery…

Must Unravel

Missing Medfield Civil War Soldier Found

by George Gray

I became interested in Daniel McMahon, a Medfield soldier who was killed in a battle…


Must Find Out

Another Civil War Soldier:

Once Lost But Now Found

by Rob Gregg

From his death on 6 April 1865 at Poplar Grove Church, Virginia to the Spring of 2011, Gabriel Strang was a Civil War soldier…


Must Notice

Must Explore


The Saga of Cesar Hunt alias Peter Warren

by Rob Gregg

An African American slave who bought his freedom, served in the Revolutionary War, and lived in Medfield. Who is this intriguing person?


Must Examine


The Secret Behind Lot 227 Grave 2

by Rob Gregg

What will you discover when an obscure family is brought to light?


Must Discover


Early Slaveholders Buried in Vine Lake Cemetery Slave Owners and Vine Lake Cemetery

by Rob Gregg

In early Medfield, a society of slaves prevailed to an unknown extent. prevailed to an unknown extent.  Buried at the cemetery are these town leaders who were slMedfield, a society of slaves prevailed to an unknown extent.  Buried at the cemetery are these town leaders who were slave holders.


Must Believe


What We Know About Medfield’s First Murder in 1802

by Rob Gregg

You won’t believe much of what happened with this murder and subsequent grave robbery but it’s truly the way it happened.


Must Appreciate


How a Plucky Girl Overcame Frequent Hardships

by Rob Gregg

During the first few years of her life, she was of feeble frame and considered by her mother’s friends to be not worth raising.


All should subscribe to Medfield’s Vine Lake Preservation Trust newsletter

Here is the website so you can get the latest one, which came today and details the gravel roads reconstruction, among other things – they are always interesting.

Vine Lake Cemetery - little walter

Vine Lake Cemetery

More Vine Lake Cemetery photos yesterday taken by Victor Cevoli –

Morning Osler, here’s two quick shots done early this morning at Vine Hill.  Darling Robie, and a detail from the restoration project.

All the best, vic
20151008-VC-Darling Robie 20151008-VC-restoration

Vine Lake Cemetery photos

Victor Cevoli also sent me a couple of really nice photos he took at the Vine Lake Cemetery.

vine lake cemetery - edwardVine Lake Cemetery - little walter

Rob Gregg & Medfield’s Vine Lake Preservation Trust

The Globe West Weekly had a long and nice account of Rob Gregg’s tremendous efforts to improve our Vine Lake Cemetery.

Quiet Voices

Click on the link to see Medfield’s Vine Lake Preservation Trust’s ever high quality and interesting monthly  newsletter.

Walk Among the Shadows

This week I picked up a copy of the Vine Lake Preservation Trust’s new walking map of the old section of the Vine Lake Cemetery, called Walk Among the Shadows.  It is really well done, and looks to provide lots of information to make a tour of the old section a fascinating time.

I picked up my copy in the lobby of the Chenery Town House, and yes Mr. Chenery’s marker is one of the fifty ones on the map.  Kudos to the Vine Lake Preservation Trust.

Vine Lake Preservation Trust monthly emails are fascinating (copy attached)

Header Winter
February 2012
Hello Pete, 

February.  First there’s chocolate, and flowers, even diamonds, and Presidents…but then there’s something that lasts longer than any of these, often proving itself richer: engagement with the humanities and culture.  In a month about love, the Trust is unabashed in its affection for things that make us think, question, discover.  Treat yourself to any of these opportunities……….chocolate optional.

A Surprising Connection to Vine Lake Cemetery

Local Author to Include Story of Unsung Resident


General Joseph WarrenJoseph Warren was a hero of the early Revolutionary period – the author of the Suffolk Resolves, the person who sent Paul Revere on that famous ride, and the hero of the Battle of Bunker Hill. At the time of his demise, he was a widower and father of four, the youngest of whom was just 3 years old. He was betrothed to Miss Mercy Scollay, an unsung Daughter of Liberty. Learn about this tragic romance, Miss Mercy’s patriotic poetry, her interactions with leading Patriots and long life as an unofficial widow.

Samuel Forman, author of the newly published Dr. Joseph Warren: The Boston Tea Party, Bunker Hill, and the Birth of American Liberty, will share new discoveries about Miss Scollay, a most distinguished and unrecognized Medfield resident.

Learn more about this endearing couple at a March 5th program sponsored by the Medfield Historical Society.

What Makes Vine Lake Cemetery Special

Photo Galleries Provide New Perspectives

Vine Lake Cemetery is first and foremost a cemetery.


In addition, it is a National Historic Landmark, an outdoor museum, a peaceful and dignified open space, a repository of family history.

Using photo galleries in the Trust’s website, you can view the cemetery through a variety of perspectives.



Nesting With the Resting

A Sure Sign of Spring Albeit in Winter

Seen soaring above the Old Section on Friday morning, February 10th, was a Turkey Vulture.


So named for their featherless head, resembling a Wild Turkey, and their habit of sitting on the ground to eat, Turkey Vultures are migratory in nature but winter as far north as Connecticut.


They appear in Massachusetts in February and slowly make their way north for a summer spent wavering over farm fields and eating carrion or dead meat.  These birds have an acute sense of smell, reportedly being able to locate carcasses several miles away.


The Turkey Vulture’s return to our area is a sure sign that our days are getting warmer.  Watch the skies for these large birds; it is a better sign of spring than the iconic robin, a species now found year round in our backyards.

Celebrate Your Community
Introducing Medfield’s Cultural District Partners
The Trust will be one of the partners at the Thursday, March 1st gala at Medfield’s Memorial Public Library.  Plan to attend between 7 and 9pm for music, light refreshments, and activities.

Buried Treasure

Did You Know That…

…concrete is the worst product for preserving memorials?

For years  volunteers thought that concrete, a strong and lasting product, was the best solution for repairing marble memorials that were loose in their bases.  By adding a concrete collar above the base, the workers believed that a permanent solution was achieved.  Instead, this well-intended approach became a shortcut to disaster.

Concrete has two characteristics which make it unacceptable for cemetery preservation.  First, it is much harder than the marble it surrounds, not allowing any movement when the marble expands due to temperature. When the concrete acts as a vice grip around the memorial, the marble eventually cracks and then breaks and falls.

The second negative feature of concrete is that it attracts moisture. Water is constantly wicked to the marble which weakens its stability. Warm weather produces biological growth and cold weather produces ice, neither of which is desirable.

A solution might be to remove the concrete today to allow for industry-standard repairs; however, trying to chip away the harder concrete damages the softer marble because of the bond that was established. Any attempt will likely shatter the marble, and then a real mess has developed.

Today, in place of concrete, lime mortar is used to secure loose memorials in their bases.  This compound is softer than concrete and repels water.  The memorial is removed from its base, the socket is cleaned, a discrete bed of lime mortar is laid in the socket, and the memorial is reinserted with a small amount of mortar cushioning the memorial from its base.

You can easily see marble memorials in the Old Section which exhibit the incorrect use of concrete.  Our only solution is to recognize what was done before and to use today’s best practices for future preservation.

Preservation Projects Continue

Upcoming Season to Signal Next Initiative


The Trust’s Directors are currently establishing preservation plans for 2012. Their focus is on both volunteer and professional participation in a series of industry-standard preservation projects.  In addressing its long-term goal of sharing the cemetery with future generations, the Directors intend to be faithful stewards of funds contributed for that purpose in our recent and very successful direct mail campaign.  Thank you very much to our donors.

This photograph shows the exposed location of Elihu Chenery’s [1739 – 1807] slate memorial which broke at some date and then became covered with sod for many years. Its preservation will consist of excavating the bottom part, epoxying the two pieces, erecting it in the proper location, and cleaning.

Medfield’s Other Art Gallery On Display

Preeminent Scholar of Gravestone Carvers to Speak
Vincent Luti, a widely-known and highly-respected researcher of southeastern Massachusetts’ 18th century gravestone carvers, will collaborate with Rob Gregg to conduct a presentation at the April 2nd meeting of the Medfield Historical Society.  Our focus will be the slate carvers in the Old Section. More details will follow in the March newsletter.


A Monthly Chronicle of Inscriptions
                   “Death rides in every passing breeze,
                     He lurks in every flower,
                     Each season has its own disease,
                     Its peril every hour.
                     Turn, reader, turn, thy danger know,
                     Wher e’er thy foot can tread,
                     The earth rings hollow from below,
                     And warns thee of her dead.”
This inscription is on the memorial  to David Onion, son of David and Caroline (Morse) Onion, who died October 22, 1827 in his 39th year. [Section A-4, Grave 47]
Note:  Only the first line of this inscription remains above ground; the remaining 7 lines are now below grade.  The source for this complete inscription is the 1899 Catalog of Inscriptions.

Photograph Credits in This Issue
Vine Lake Preservation Trust, Daily Bird New England, Harvard School of Public Health, Edmund Prescottano

Comments, Questions, Ideas…?

…are always welcome; click to reply, and thank you.  Volunteers are always appreciated for projects in beautification, preservation, education, and research.
February Features
* A Surprising Connection
* Photo Galleries
* A Sure Sign of Spring
* Celebrate Your Community
* Buried Treasure
* Preservation Projects Continue
* Medfield’s Other Art Gallery
* Epitaphagram
Quick Links
Discover more about

Please Forward


You are invited to forward  Quiet Voices to your friends.  In turn they can sign up to be on our mailing list.


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Mahuman Hinsdale magnet

Upcoming Features
+ A Luminary Walk


+ Mail-Order Memorials
Third in a Series: The Landscape Lawn Gravescape

+ A ‘Walk Among the Shadows’

+ More about Medfield’s Other Art Gallery
+  A Walking Tour on Causes of Death in Early Medfield Citizens
+ A Walking Tour  to Highlight Medfield’s Ethnic Diversity
+ Present Homeowners Meet Earlier Homeowners at the Cemetery
+ Higher Education Today, Vine Lake Cemetery,  and the Ellis Family Legacy

Art Exhibit 

Upcoming Events – Winter & Spring 2012 


March 1, Thursday, 7 to 9pm 

Memorial Public Library, 468 Main Street, Medfield


March 5, Monday, 7:30 to 9pm

First Parish Unitarian Church, 26 North Street, Medfield


April 2, Monday, 7:30 to 9pm
First Parish Unitarian Church, 26 North Street, Medfield
More information to be posted in the March newsletter.
April 14, Saturday, 9am to 12 noon

Spring Cleaning
Bring your lawn rake for clean-up in the Old Section.


April 16, Monday (Patriots’ Day), 10am to 12 noon 

Kick-off Event for the Self-Guided Walking Tour Map
More information to be posted in the March newsletter.
Contact Information
Funding for Vine Lake Preservation Trust is provided by individual contributions like yours, support from local agencies and corporations, matching funds and grants, and admission fees from tours and workshops.  The Trust is registered with the IRS as a 501 (c)(3) public charity allowing your contribution to be tax-exempt.

Vine Lake Preservation Trust

P.O. Box 266
Medfield, MA 02052-0266


Museums:  Museums.USA

Vine Lake Preservation Trust’s new website

Vine Lake Preservation Trust has been doing an excellent job of preserving and restoring the Vine Lake Cemetery, while making the whole process uncannily interesting.  Follow them by subscribing to their monthly newsletter (also excellent), and visit their new website

Also see my nephew Jack Farrell’s two excellent winning photos in their ongoing photo contest – nice job Jack!