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Microburst Storm Damage

Microburst Storm Damage to The Old York Burying Ground,  York,  Maine
On July 3, 2014, a “microburst” exerted its power late in the afternoon in York, Maine.  It uprooted ancient maple and oak trees; snapped other large trees in half as if they were toothpicks, and twisted apart and destroyed younger trees.  Roofs and cars were crushed by fallen trees.  Miraculously, no one was injured.  The damage done by this “microburst” had enough high winds to knock out power lines and causes damage to anything in its wake. 

That unfortunately included our old burying ground in the heart of York Village, Maine.  Aside from being the oldest cemetery in York, The Old York Burying Ground is also home to an old stand of sassafras trees planted in the early part of the 20th century to enhance the beauty of this quiet, peaceful place.  The Old Burying Ground is the final resting place of many of York’s original settlers, town fathers, and ancestors.

Buried here is the Reverend Samuel Moody (1675-1747) and his wife Hannah Moody (1676-1727);  Jonathan Sayward (1713-1797), a prominent local merchant; Edward Emerson (1727-1806), another prominent merchant; and the most famous gravestone in the Old Burying Ground, Mary Nasson (1723-1765), known as the witch’s grave because of the stone slab which covers her grave.  The stone slab is actually called “a wolf stone”, placed there by her loving husband to keep farm animals from digging up her mortal remains.

Note the photo below which shows how close the John Bragdon stone came to being destroyed by a fallen tree.  This stone was often cited by ministers as an example of the inevitability of death and the foolishness of pride.  It reads: 

John Bragdon, a promising youth, departed this life June 19th 1744 in ye 23rd year of his age with some comfortable hope in his death, after great distress of soul and solemn warning to young people not to put off their repentence to a death bed. 

The remaining photos show more of the damage to The Old Burying Ground.  Fortunately, very few of the approximately one hundred and fifty 18th and 19th century gravestones were damaged or destroyed.  An effort by local historians, concerned citizens, and cemetery preservationists is underway to assess the damage, including repairing gravestones, reproducing the broken ones, and to replant the beautiful fragrant sassafras trees.  For more information, please contact us at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Paulette Chernack and Cassandra Davidson




The image below still reflecting the event with left over debris we must “Massage tree roots and soil”

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