The Mountain Times

°F Sun, April 20, 2014

Central Vermont's Most Popular Weekly Newspaper

The building of a cemetery wall: Myth, legend or fact

KILLINGTON - If you traveled Route 4 east toward Bridgewater this week, you might have noticed activity in the cemetery beyond the gondola. The western section is overseen by the Episcopal Church of Our Savior while the eastern half is regulated by the West Bridgewater Cemetery Association (est. 1871). Each committee maintains their portion.

A few years ago one of the West Bridgewater board members proposed a project to replace the wire used as the front wall to something more appealing as he did not want to spend eternity behind the pig wire. This week the Association's project was completed thanks to donations from members and Instone Design.

Instone Design's concept won the board's approval as they proposed moving the rock wall from the rear of the cemetery to the front. This was the most applicable method of producing a fence that would mesh with the walls on both sides of the cemetery and look as aged as the rest of the fences. With Andy Gieda at the helm, a team dry stacked the old rock in the front angling the fence to meet the lower side. It is a monument to an old art to see how the rocks fit and to make it "feel" as if it has been there since the 1920s.
The history of the original wall is where the myths, legends or facts blur.

As the story goes, about 1920 a local man committed a crime, was convicted and was destined for prison. The desperate man wrote a letter to the governor asking for clemency. In the letter he stated he was a hard-working man who had made a mistake and was terribly sorry for it. He hoped the governor would pardon him as he had eight children and a wife. If the man were sent to prison, the state would have to pay for his living expenses as well as those of his wife and children, he continued in the letter. His wife simply could not work with eight children to take care of. To atone for his mistake, he promised the governor he would build a rock wall to encompass the cemetery.

The man went to prison, but weeks later the governor did pardon him. The man, true to his word, built the original cemetery wall and had two more children the story goes.