Compiled by Donald G Bennett
February 19, 2007
This journal is a chronological listing of historical
information about a
HISTORY OF THE
circumstantial evidence of burials and gravestones,
Her grave was on Twitchell land - property owned by her brother-in-law, Eleazer Twitchell. The location of her grave is approximately midway on a probably well traveled path between her home and the home of Eleazer and Martha Twitchell next to Mill Brook at the foot of Bethel Hill – location of the plantation’s first mill sites.
At the time
of her death, the township where the Twitchell’s lived was known as Sudbury
Canada Plantation and Joseph Twitchell of
Early white pioneers and Indian inhabitants
In 1790, Rev. Eliphaz Chapman arrived with his family and settled about two miles west of the site where Rhoda Twitchell would be buried two years later. Burials in the oldest part of this cemetery consist almost entirely of Twitchell, Chapman and Mason family members.
In 1798, Moses Mason of
farms, camps and “Powow” meeting places had also occupied the area where Rhoda
Twitchell was buried. For more than 75 years following Bethel’s incorporation,
Indian people continued to visit this area to peddle their crafts and visit
points of land that were spiritually as well as historically important to them.
In the historical address delivered by Dr. Nathaniel True at
“So common were the Indians during the first settlement of the town, that quite a fleet of canoes on the river was a common occurrence. “
On the banks of the Androscoggin, about one mile above the bridge (that today carries US Route 2 over the Androscoggin River), and directly in front of the dwelling house of the late Timothy Chapman, Esq., (son of Eliphaz Chapman) there is an elevation of intervale consisting of three or four acres. It is a lovely spot. Here was an Indian village. How long it had been inhabited is not known. It is probable that they had not occupied the spot since about the year 1750. They had cleared about ten acres of the intervale for a corn field. Pine trees measuring eighteen inches in diameter had grown up in some places when occupied by the first settlers; the rest was covered with bushes. Corn hills were everywhere visible among the trees.
On clearing the land, about twenty cellars were discovered, which had probably been used as a deposit for their corn. A dozen or more gun barrels were found, together with brass kettles, axes, knives, glass bottles, arrows and iron hoes, the latter of which were used by the settlers for several years afterwards, while the gun barrels were wrought into fire shovel handles by Fenno, the blacksmith.
A single skeleton was discovered wrapped in birch bark. It is said that they generally carried their dead to Canton Point for burial. Probably the settlement contained one or two hundred persons.
A mile and a half below the bridge,
The above was excerpted from The History of Bethel Maine by William B Lapham, pages 297-8
Friendly Indians were eager to trade with both Twitchell
brothers because of the commerce they conducted through
The flood or Freshet of 1785 flooded all low lying intervale homes and drove inhabitants to relocate on higher land. From other historical accounts we learn that Eli Twitchell stepped into his boat and rowed to the area not far from the cemetery’s future location. He may have noticed that the high north river bank remained above the flood waters. If so this may have caused him to choose this location as a place relatively safe from flooding. Up to now (2006) and in the memory of the current cemetery association directors, graves in this cemetery have not been noticeably damaged by flooding. Therefore, this may have been another reason for selecting this location for the burial of Rhoda Twitchell.
The map above illustrates early
2 Home of Eli and Rhoda Twitchell circa 1790
3 Home of Eleazer and Martha Twitchell and location of Mill Brook mills
4 Location of Indian corn cellars, later home of Chapman family
5 Powow point
6 Jonathan Clark home and farm
7 Location of Mason home circa 1799
Grave stones marking the two earliest burials in Riverside Cemetery, left, Curatio Twitchell who died August 14, 1791 at the age of 2 and to the right, his mother, Rhoda Leland Twitchell, who died March 29, 1792.
11-18-1890 Oxford County Democrat: North West Bethel: A crew of men from the Chapman homestead (in Gilead) was at work in the Mayville Cemetery on the 12th.
1901 – 1912: Asa Stowell of
Brooks related the story of how this notebook with a postcard and several photographs came into his hands this way: When Walter Clark was sexton of Riverside Cemetery in the 1970’s and 80’s he discovered this notebook and the photographs in it tucked away in the cemetery’s tool shed and turned it over to me. I don’t know if the man in the photograph is Asa Stowell or not. (However, it would seem quite possible that the photograph below, since it was found in Stowell’s notebook, is of Asa Stowell sitting on the porch of the farm house, shed and barn that once stood at the west end of the cemetery.)
In 1901, Stowell’s first year as sexton, he recorded burying six people.
Also in Asa Stowell’s notebook was
a photograph postcard with a view of
years ago last April the Mayville Cemetery in
Since its incorporation the citizens of the town have taken a more lively interest in the grounds.
Lots have been sold at fair prices enabling its officers to put something in the bank toward future improvement and care for the grounds throughout all time.
To day we have a cemetery quite creditable to our town, with a faucet so water is at hand during warm weather. •
The grounds show that some degree of care is being given them as a whole, while some of the lots show the personal interest taken in them by their owners.
It seems that the efforts of the Association are appreciated.
To-day a friend offers for every dollar contributed to the cemetery fund to give another up to the amount of $200.
Contributions will be acknowledged at once by the officer to whom they are sent. And we are confidently expecting soon to see the fund increased by at least $400.
President, E. L. BARTLETT.
Vice-President, D. G. L OVEJOY,
Secretary and Treasurer, H. N. UPTON,
H. C. barker,
Directors wm. R. Chapman,
E. E. whitney.
This promotional flyer* above issued by the cemetery
association’s new directors in 1908 reflects their concern over the need to
improve both the association’s finances and the general condition of the
grounds. E.L. Bartlett lived in Mayville
on the farm that once belonged to his great-grandfather, Eli Twitchell. E.E. Whitney operated a cemetery monument
This flyer appears on page 150 of “