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History of OBBG

From the Papers of the National Register of Historic Places
Courtesy of John Hardy & Melinde Lutz

Over the holidays, I had a chance to read through the impressive work presented by John Hardy and Melinde Lutz to achieve the National Register of Historic Places (NHR) recognition for Old Bradford Burial Grounds (OBBG). Their presentation is an incredible and successful effort. The Friends of OBBG (FOBBG) have begun arrangements for a plaque acknowledging John & Melinde’s achievement. As I read this History, I realized that, while some of us know why we help support OBBG, there may be many more of us that are not aware of its importance. The complete history is 13 pages in length. The Site Map referenced can be found at John Hardy’s website www.bradfordburialground.com . Below is the first of the “series”. Additional sections will appear in upcoming issues of the Tenney Times. It is my sincere hope that you will enjoy reading about the OBBG and its historical significance, that you will learn more about the TFA’s interest in OBBG, that you will be inspired by John & Melinde’s achievement, that you will understand the significance of NHR, that you try making a trip to OBBG to walk it’s grounds, that you join the FOBBG volunteers cleaning up the grounds or, if a visit is not feasible, that you will open your checkbook and give generously to our continued support of this wonderful cemetery. Enjoy!! – your Interim Editor.

Statement of Significance Summary Paragraph:

The Bradford Burial Ground is eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places under Criteria A and C with Criteria Consideration D at the local level as a well-preserved, town-owned 17th, 18th and 19th century Colonial era and later burial ground containing a variety of slate, schist, limestone and marble markers. The Bradford Cemetery contains a range of gravestones that exemplify the changing views of death in American society in both iconography and materials.

The markers illustrate the work of a number of well-known regional carvers of the period including John Hartshorn, Robert Mullicken, Sr., Robert Mullicken, Jr., Joseph Marble, Benjamin Day, Theodore Warren and F.A. Brown.

The cemetery was established in 1665 by the first settlers of Bradford (1672), which became part of Haverhill in 1897, making the Bradford Burial Ground one of Haverhill’s oldest and most historically significant cemeteries. The 1.5 acre cemetery contains over 700 graves with the earliest extant readable gravestone dating to 1689 as well as unmarked graves which may be even earlier…