Update: Restoration of the historic cemetery is complete! The new reproduction stones have been installed. The original stones are currently on display at the Paine House as part of the new exhibit "Glimpses of Northfield's Past," which opened on Saturday,
Sept. 1 (Labor Day Weekend), 2012. Volunteer Linda DeNeergaard has done conservation rubbings of the existing eleven gravestones and produced a template to be used in the carving of Stanton Richardson's new stone. In the process she has discovered many historical facts about the Richardson family. She and David DeFelice have given many hours and invaluable expertise in cleaning and when necessary replicating damaged stones. Norwich University, on whose property the cemetery lays, has generously supported the restoration and will maintain the upkeep as well. The Society plans a re-dedication of the cemetery in the near future. (Sally Pedley, Dog River Crier, Fall 2011(Whole series #114)
State of Vermont Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 283: The Vermont legislators for Washington County recently submitted a concurrent resolution "honoring the historic preservation efforts of the Northfield Historical [Society] Cemetery Project" in preserving the Stanton Richardson Cemetery, the first cemetery in Northfield. To see the full document, please scroll to the bottom of this screen and click on the Richardson Cemetery Resolution pdf document.
For a list of donors (so far), please see below.
The Richardson Cemetery seems out of place, located between two soccer fields on Norwich University's campus. It isout of place in our time. In 1811, when Stanton Richardson decided that the people of Northfield needed a central burying ground for their loved ones, he donated a piece of land for this purpose "for their own use, benefit, and behoof, as long as the wood grows and water runs."
From 1811 to 1823 Richardson's Meadow was the primary cemetery in Norethfield. But in 1823, Ezekiel Robinson, Oliver Averill, Joseph Keys, Harry Emerson and Nathan Green bought one acre of land in Center Village for $60 for use as a cemetery. Many families disinterred their loved ones from the Richardson Meadows Cemetery and re-committed them to plots in the new Center Cemetery and other cemeteries in town.
The Richardson family decided to leave their loved ones in Richardson's Meadow, with the expectation that the town would care for the gaveyard. The small cemetery has not been used for more than a century. A shabby white fence protects the unkempt grave sites. Slate markers have been vandalized and pushed to the ground. It is unclear who is buried there. There are so many questions to be answered. Thus begins the search for Stanton Richardson and his extended family.
Excerpt from "The Dirt on the Richardsons: One of
Northfield's First Families," by Mary Comiskey, The Dog River Crier, Fall 2010, whole # 111, p. 18-24.
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How YOU Can Help Preserve the
It started with a letter to the editor of the Northfield News several months ago, from a resident who expressed her distress that the seemingly oddly located cemetery in the midst of two soccer fields was in such bad shape. Members of the Northfield Historical Society took note and decided to unofficially "adopt" the small cemetery and work on the restoration of the plot and remaining gravestones.
To date the Society has enlisted the help of the grounds crew of Norwich University and Dominic Falzarano, Nothfield Cemetery Superintendent, who has donated his own time to replace the wooden fence that surrounds the site. Norwich University purchased the fence material and will maintain the site since it is surrounded by their property.
The stones have been removed; many have been cleaned and repaired. The large stone of Stanton Richardson, the owner who donated his land in 1811 to become Northfield's first burial ground, will have to be replaced due to vandalism and two bullet holes made decades ago.
The Society has a committee of Board members and local friends who have been working on the overall plan. David Defelice has volunteered his expertise in designing the slate replacement for Mr. Richardson's gravestone as well as two marble stones that are beyond repair.
The estimate for putting the cemetery and stones back in as original-as-possible condition is $6500. Norwich University is willing to make a contribution. The committee will be making personal contact with community members and business leaders, asking them if they would be willing to help in preserving Northfield's history.
Would you like to help? Donations to the Richardson Cemetery Preservation Project can be sent to:
Northfield Historical Society
Attn: Richardson Cemetery Project
PO Box 422
Northfield, VT 05663
Donors to the Richardson Cemetery Project (to date)
Clark and Nancy Bothfeld, Northfield, VT
Ralph and Lois (Streeter) Boyer, Towson, MD
Barry Chouinard, Northfield, VT
Alan and Jeanne (Weston) Cook, Northfield, VT
Don and Julie Dickinson, Northfield, VT
Bill and Olene Doyle, Montpelier, VT
Maxine Grad, Moretown, VT
Charles and Martha (Dutton) Haynes, E. Montpelier, VT
Karen (Gillespie) Korrow, Gillespie Fuels, Inc., Northfield, VT
Gerard and Nancy Lavarnway, Northfield, VT
Ralph and Debby (Staples) LeFebvre, Holyoke, MA
Diane and Walter McKain, Northfield, VT
Bill and Lena (Fiarkoski) Mueller, Livingston, TX
Jill (Hedges) Donahue, Northfield Pharmacy, Northfield, VT
Northfield Savings Bank
Jack and Anita Palm, Northfield, VT
Sally (Nadon) and Jay Pedley, Northfield, VT
Bill and Barbara Pope, Northfield, VT
Richard and Jaime Schneider, Northfield, VT
John and Joyce Sweeney, Northfield, VT
W. Russell and Carol Todd, Northfield, VT