Town Farm Cemetery
Brunswick, Maine

History

Volunteer to research the history of this cemetery. Information is available in old Town Reports, available at Pejepscot Historical Society.

Back to Cemetery Map Photos Veterans Home

Below is an article from the Brunswick Times Record about this cemetery:

A little reminder of a forgotten class

Jill Dube

07/23/98

BRUNSWICK

Everyday, hundreds of people pass a small, fenced-in plot of land with neatly mowed grass and a two-foot-high granite marker. It's the Pauper's Cemetery, located behind the Public Works Department on Industry Road, adjacent to U.S. Route 1. In 1831, Brunswick authorized that the land, located on what then was the town poor farm, be used as a cemetery for the impoverished. Over the next hundred years, those who did not not leave enough money for a proper burial were laid to rest there. Some were local residents. But most were occupants of the Alms House, the Water Street residence that has been providing help for Brunswick's under-privileged since the beginning of the 19th century.

It's not known who or how many people are interred in the cemetery. It seems that people had forgotten about the site until several years ago, when some children playing in the field discovered human skulls, said Marjorie Libby, a town resident for 81 years. The Rotary Club Club in 1995 erected the stone marker in memory of the poor who are buried there. The original gravestones were removed or fell apart years ago.

One theory is that the headstones were removed for construction purposes when the Route 1 underpass was built in 1961. A picture taken by Harry Shulman in 1937 shows the gravestone of Joseph Chadborn, an infant who died on April 10, 1876. Pictures and town records dating to the 1880s provide some of the only evidence that poor people lived and died in Brunswick. While the Pejepscot Historical Society owns numerous records and artifacts chronicling Brunswick's history, few facts are known about the town's poor, even less about how or when they died. "No one really cared about the poor," said Amy Poland, a curator at the Pejepscot Historical Society. "There's information on Brunswick's industry, shipbuilding and prominent members of the community, but the town poor farm was a different segment of the community. They weren't documented the same."

Erik Jorgensen, former executive director of the historical society, said he also found it difficult to locate information on the history of the town's less-privileged community. "The history of the poor is lost," said Jorgensen. "Poor people were not considered important back then."

The town office ran into the same problem when looking through old records and town files to learn of the life and death of Brunswick's lower-class society. "It's sad to think, but poor people weren't considered significant back then," said Town Clerk Deborah Cabana. So the history of Brunswick's poor and the identities of those lying in eternal rest in Pauper's Cemetery remain unknown, the only reminder of their presence being a solitary stone marker.