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Public input sought on renaming of local cemetery


December 02, 2021
SANBORNTON – Members of the Town of Sanbornton's Cemetery Committee are looking for public input on the possibility of renaming the community's newest cemetery situated on Tower Hill Road.

Over the course of three months in 2005, selectmen, Cemetery Trustees and many volunteers worked to create the new cemetery. Once completed, it was simply named "Sanbornton Public Cemetery."

However, the town later discovered that people were confusing it with the older Centre Cemetery, owned by the Sanbornton Congregational Church and also located on Tower Hill.

Cemetery Committee Chair Brendan Morrison and fellow Trustee Karey Caldwell are members of not only the town cemetery committee, but the Centre Cemetery as well. The two are also part of an online group of volunteers called "Find-A-Grave" and have acknowledged that confusion can occur when people are doing research on their heritage. Therefore it was suggested that a possible renaming of the town burial ground might be in order.

"As much as the name does its job and there's really nothing 'wrong' with it, the Trustees have wondered if an enhanced name might give it a 'dash of panache,' while maintaining the due respect for the 40-plus people that were involved in its creation," said Caldwell. "We believe there is a way to do both, but we don't feel that is our exclusive decision to make."

Wanting input from the residents, the trustees wanted the townspeople to have a voice in the discussion and therefore began conducting a community-wide poll on social media.

While some residents thought the name should not be changed, others felt it was a good idea and submitted their suggestions. Among the many received thus far are Peaceful Acres, Milly Sanborn Shaw Cemetery (in honor of long time resident and local historian Milly Shaw), Hilltop Cemetery, Tower Hill Cemetery, Mountain View Cemetery, Maple Grove Cemetery, Top of the Hill Cemetery, and Sanbornton Memorial Cemetery, to "honor and memorialize all the participants in the cemetery's creation and beyond."

The committee will meet next month to discuss the possibilities. In the meantime ideas can still be submitted by contacting chair Brendan Morrison at bdmamerica@gmail.com or trustee Karey Caldwell at whitesayge@aol.com.

"We'd love to hear from as many people as possible by the end of the year so we can plan a trustees meeting to discuss the responses soon thereafter," Caldwell said. "Please know that we are just in the 'discussion' stage at this point, which is why we feel it is so important to involve everyone in town. After all, this is their town cemetery and it matters to us what they think."

Martin Lord Osman
Salmon Press
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