Sunday, July 8, 2012

Gorham, My Gorham ~ Sentimental Sunday

Nearly 35 years ago, I returned to Maine with a newly-minted Master's Degree in Library Science from Illinois, and no prospect of employment. I moved back in with my folks (sound familiar?) in South Portland and started watching the want ads.

It wasn't long before I landed the position of Town Librarian in nearby Gorham, and moved into an apartment over a real estate office. I was the first Librarian ever to be hired who wasn't from Gorham, so, naturally, the earth shivered a little. At 23, I was younger than anyone who worked for me, and I thought I'd died and gone to heaven.

Baxter Library as it looked when I worked there

Baxter Memorial Library 2012

I made many wonderful friends in my two years in Gorham, led a Junior Girl Scout troop (ever tried winter camping and had to be dug out?), and taught Sunday School at the Congregational Church.  

What I didn't realize back then was that Gorham was the home of my Libby and Cross ancestors, and I was walking right by their graves on my way to work.

Naturally, this called for a return to Gorham this past week, and my day began north of the center of town, at the North Street Cemetery, just past Phinney Lumber on the way to Sebago Lake.

Here are buried my 4th Great Grandparents, 
Allison Libby (1757-1816) and his wife Sarah (1760-1849).
This Allison Libby, the middle of three generations of Allison Libbys, 
fought in the Revolutionary War.

Feeling triumphant at discovering these two gems, I drove into town to stop into the Historical Society, where I was met by Brenda Caldwell. She and I had started our professional lives at about the same time in Gorham, Brenda as the Town Clerk (the first female), and me as the Town Librarian. We reminisced and enjoyed several laughs thinking about how the Town has changed, and assisted another Find-A-Grave volunteer who dropped in.

I walked back to my car, which I had parked next to the cemetery just off the main juncture, alternatively known as the South Street Cemetery and, as I prefer to call it, the "Old Burying Ground."  

Here rest some of Gorham's first settlers (the ones that aren't buried on Fort Hill), including my 4th Great Grandparents, Deacon Thomas Cross  (1741-1819) and his wife Lucy (1748-1821).

Here lies
Deac. Thomas Cross
born in Ipswich,
Ms. Nov. 18, 1741.
died Feb. 15, 1819;
having been a Deac. of this
Church 15 years.
Also in the same grave his son,
Capt. William Cross;
born Aug. 21, 1779,
died Feb. 14, 1819.
No passing mortals and surviving friends
Regard....eloquence of death
Who more than...angelic tongue

"Capt. William Cross died Feb. 14, 1819, the day preceding the death of Dea. Thos. Cross, and father and son were borne to the grave on the same hearse."
 ~ McClellan, History of Gorham, Maine.

Here lies
Mrs. Lucy Cross
wife of Deac. Thomas Cross
born at Boxford, Ms. Mar. 16,
1748. Died May 21, 1821.
By her side lie their children
Rebekah Cross,
born Jan. 20, 1774,
died Apl. 11, 1794.
And Harriet Cross,
born Oct. 20, 1790,
died Mar. 14, 1798

First Parish Church (left)
where my 4th Great Grandfather was a Deacon for 15 years,
and where,
159 years later,
I attended church and taught Sunday School

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