Overview of Shelburne’s Cemeteries
Prior to the American Revolution, about 10 families including Moses and Rachel Pierson lived in Shelburne but all left to move to fortified towns in the southern part of Vermont until the war was over. In 1783, families from Connecticut, western Massachusetts and southern Vermont moved to Shelburne.
At the second Town Meeting in March 1788, it was voted that the selectmen “look out and appoint one or more places to bury the dead.”
These early settlers formed tight knit communities in several areas of Shelburne where they bought land. “Land for purpose of burying their dead” was established as cemeteries near where they resided: Meech Island, Quaker Smith Point, Spear Street, Village and St. Catherine’s.
Meech Island and Quaker Smith Point Cemeteries are located on privately owned land. Meech Island can be seen off to the left of Shelburne Beach is privately owned today. It was part of the land owned by Moses Pierson. Town documents show James Pierson, son of Moses and Rachel Pierson, died on December 17, 1775 at age 20 was buried on the island. This is the earliest known burial in Shelburne.
Ezra Meech bought the property from the Piersons. A house was built on the island. His wife, Mary, died February 4, 1826, age 45 and several children were buried in the cemetery on the island: Ellen Meech died March 1, 1822, age 2 years, 6 months; William Meech died August 15, 1822, age 7 months; James Meech died February 10, 1823, age 18 and Jane Anne Warner died May 30, 1842, age 28; Town burial records show they are now buried in the Meech plot in the Village Cemetery.
QUAKER SMITH POINT
In 1783, William Smith, known as Quaker Smith, settled on land that that juts out into the lake west of Shelburne Farms known as Quaker Smith Point. It is not known how many or the names of the people buried there as the Quakers did not erect tombstones or whether the remains were moved. The only two tombstones are for Gideon Smith who died December 13, 1798 and his wife Patience Smith who died June 23, 1847. Quaker custom was not to erect tombstones.
The West Cemetery is located on land that is now part of Shelburne Farms. On March 3, 1806, Timothy Holabird quit claimed a half acre of his land to the town for $10 “for the purpose of a burying ground for the burial of their dead” and fenced it with cedar post.
Spear Street Cemetery is just north of the intersection of Spear and Barstow Road.
A large number of the early settlers bought land in the northwest of Shelburne along the eastern shore of Shelburne Bay to the eastern border of Shelburne and north of the village. The headstones include the following family surnames: Barber, Barstow, Blin, Chittenden, Gage, Hamilton, Irish, Lyon, Miner, Payne, Rowley, Simond, Slocum, Spear, Sutton.
On July 5, 1813, Gersham Lyon quit-claimed one acre of land to the town for $1 to be a cemetery for the residents of Shelburne.
On November 3, 1829, Garrad Burritt “in consideration of the good opinion and regard I have had and still hold of the town of Shelburne” gave the land for the old annex section of the Village Cemetery. The original entrance was on Falls Road through a gate and over a bridge and the ravine and up the hill between the Rushlow and Sutton lots. Circa 1879, the land south across the ravine and the land west of the old section made possible the present entrance through the Methodist Church property.
On June 30, 1892, land was deeded by Mr. Havens to John Dubuc agent for the parishioners to build St. Catherine’s Church Hall and establish a cemetery. On August 22, 1895, the property was deeded by John Dubuc to Bishop Louis DeGoesbriand, Bishop of Burlington. All lots in this cemetery are sold and burials today are in the Village or Spear Street cemeteries.