Saturday, October 18, 2008

Haunting South Oakfield graveyard

This is a brief but excellent photo essay by Nate (a.k.a. Ravenwing) about the South Oakfield, Maine, cemetery that I found online at
South Oakfield met decline and finally oblivion soon after the advent of the railroad, with a few farms holding on into the 1930’s, but is now wholly forested, marked only with a few cellar holes, and a small cemetery. Since moving here some 25 years ago, the South Oakfield cemetery has held a certain fascination for me.

If ever a place can be haunted, this place is. I don’t mean haunted in the ‘scary’ sense, but when I visit this little cemetery, the feelings of dreams unfulfilled, geographical isolation, and human despair seem thick in the air. It is quiet, peaceful, even beautiful in a way, yet an indescribably sad place. I went there the other day, my first visit in several years, and found it much as I left it, though if anything more lonely and perhaps a bit more dilapidated than ever.

It is rugged, and stony ground surrounded by forest, accessible only by several miles of rough and narrow gravel road over steep hills and across northern bogs.

Read full essay and view all the photos here: [Source]


Holly said...

Just came across your post although I realize it's been while since it was posted. One of the headstones pictured is my great-great grandfather, Lewis Sprague. There is a cross next to him that belongs to his grandfather, John Sprague. In talking to family, I would assume that the wives are buried next to them, although no markers (and perhaps no records) exist. They all passed away long before any of us were born so no one knows exactly. I was just out to the old South Oakfield cemetary last week while in Maine on vacation. Your description is very accurate. And I'm so glad that the Historical Society is still maintaining it.

Michelle Souliere said...

Hi folks! Another reader, Gregg Drew, sent me an email about this cemetery, and has been gracious enough to let me share it with you all:
"I have visited this Cemetery many times starting back in the 1950's with my grandfather Josiah H Hunt Jr. born 1895 not far from the cemetery. His father Josiah H Hunt Sr., died in 1905 and was buried there. His wife Amanda Burpee died in 1928. By this time the cemetery was in deep disrepair. Grandfather kept the wooden cross there so he could find his grave. Amanda refused to be buried there and requested her only son to dig up his father and bury him next to her in the Island Falls Cemetery. This he did in the spring of 1928. Using a borrowed team of horses and wagon he traveled to the cemetery and proceeded to remove his father's remains and go back to Island Falls and dug the grave for his father and placed the remains there. When asking my grandfather if it
was hard digging up the remains, he only stated 'It's not the dead you have to worry about, it's the living.'"