Spring Grove: The Town’s Cemetery, by Gail Ralston - Andover Historical Society
Spring Grove Cemetery on Abbot Street, owned and operated by the town, was laid out in 1871. Its main avenue at the time was the old Andover & Wilmington railroad bed that had bisected the property between 1836 and 1848. William Means, chair of the original cemetery committee, credited Samuel Raymond, businessman and civic leader, with laying out the grounds and lots. The cemetery itself took its name from a nearby spring of water.
As in all things Andover, Town Meeting had to first vote to purchase the land, choose a committee for that purchase, and authorize that group to raise money. Appointed in 1869, and after consideration of several areas, including a lot on Carmel Hill, the committee recommended acquiring “the lot on the east side of the road leading to Ballardvale, owned by J.H. Flint and others.”
By 1871, 41 acres had been purchased from the heirs of the late Nehemiah Abbott for $3,000. About one hundred lots were laid out at prices ranging from $16 to $28. By-laws were prepared and a public consecration of the cemetery was planned.
Included in the original by-laws was the rule that “no horse shall be fastened except at the posts provided for that purpose, and no cattle shall be allowed to go at large in the cemetery.” In addition, “no person shall discharge firearms of any description, nor attempt to destroy or capture birds or other animals.”
All was arranged, and after a rain delay the Spring Grove Cemetery was dedicated on October 15, 1871. Mr. Means spoke on behalf of the committee, hymns were sung, led by the choirs of the South, Baptist and Free churches, and Rev. William E. Park of Lawrence delivered an “extemporized address.” An estimated number of persons in attendance was as high as fifteen hundred. Following the benediction, the town’s cemetery lots were officially available for purchase.
On October 7, 1910 a statue of a soldier, erected to honor Andover’s Civil War veterans, was dedicated. Involved in planning were members of the Gen. William F. Bartlett GAR Post, the Women’s Relief Corps and the Sons of Veterans. The lot for the monument had been given by the townspeople who went on record for its perpetual care. The base had been dedicated separately on Memorial Day in 1906.
In 1937, the cemetery’s well-recognized entrance gates were erected. These gates were given by Miss Bertha M. Stevens in memory of her father and mother, William H. and Elizabeth M. Stevens. Miss Stevens, a native of Andover, had by then moved to Haverhill where she served on that city’s school board.
Today, a walk through the cemetery reveals many familiar names in the town’s history. Just a few include William Jenkins, whose home was a stop on the underground railroad; Harold Rafton – “Mr. AVIS” – and his wife Helen; Charles Liponis, vice president of the former Andover Institute of Business; Paul Cronin, U.S. Congressman; Selectmen Andrew McTernen and Roger Collins; Rose and Sarkis Colombosian, who began their yogurt business in Rose’s kitchen; and Cal Deyermond, sergeant in the U.S. Army in World War II.
Over the years, the cemetery has grown to over 4,000 burials with close to the original acreage. The number of veterans’ monuments has grown as well. Under the care of the Town’s Municipal Service Department, a five-member Board of Trustees oversees its management and maintenance, insuring that the trust given to it by the town keeps the grounds as a “serene, attractive and contemplative setting” to honor those buried and for the families of the deceased.
And what about the old railroad bed? It is still visible. A plaque, given by the Andover Preservation Committee in 1998, notes this portion of the railroad line as “the only significantly recognizable section that still remains.”
Addendum: J. S. Batchelder
Nehemiah Abbot was born on Sept. 28, 1794, son of Abiel & Hannah (Frye) Abbot. Nehemiah died on August 12, 1867 and is interred at South Parish Cemetery. His estate went to his heirs, John H. Flint, Emily E. Flint, Lydia L. Blackman, wife of Horace P, and Hannah M. Brown, wife of George T. Brown. The hers sold the 41.75 acre parcel known as "Pomp Pasture" on May 2, 1871 recorded on June 3, 1871.
July 21, 1871 Andover Advertiser AA – Mr. Horace P. Beard, senior partner of H. P. Beard & Co. dies – obit. – came to Andover about 20 years age –for a short time employed in the store of C. G. McNeil – in a few years McNeil gave up his business and Beard engaged in his own account. [The grocery stores of Messrs Holt & Higgins, E.R. Farnsworth & Co, and H. W. Abbott, will be closed tomorrow 2-5 for the funeral of H. P. Beard.]
July 28, 1871 AA – Funeral of H. P. Beard. – The first burial in Spring Grove Cemetery.
August 25, 1871 – AA Mr. John L. Smith & Albert S. Manning, of the late firm of H. P. Beard & Co. and Mr. Isaac S. Carruth, for many years a clerk in the store, have formed a co-partnership and will continue the business under the form of Smith, Manning & Co. They are efficient and worthy young men, and will no doubt fully sustain the popularity of the store, and merit the extensive patronage it has so long received. [see 8 -10 Essex St.]
Aug. 7, 1874 – AA - Spring Grove improvements ….
May 28, 1880 AA – A list of deceased soldiers in all the cemeteries in town.
Jan 25, 1889 – p. 4 - About 18 acres of standing wood belonging to the Spring Grove Cemetery have been sold to Milo H. Gould and Asa Gould by the Cemetery Committee.
March 25, 1910 AT - New soldiers monument for Spring Grove Cemetery – replace ball with statue
Essex County Registry Deeds, Salem, MA
Essex Northern Registry Deeds, Lawrence, MA
Nehemiah Abbot estate - Aug. 12, 1867
Abbot heirs; John H. Flint, Emily E. Flint, Lydia L. Blackman, Hannah M. Brown - 1867 - 1871
Inhabitants of Town of Andover - May 2, 1871 rec. June 3, 1871 - b. 9 p. 459
|Historic District||Not Applicable|
|Historic Name||Spring Grove Cemetery|
|Present Use||Public Cemetery Town of Andover|
|Source||ECRDS, ENRDL, style-njs|
|Architect/Builder||Samuel Raymond - layout design|
|Outbuildings / Secondary Structures||Maintenance/office building Tomb|
|Map and parcel||96-7|
|Recorded by||Gail Ralston, James S. Batchelder|
|Organization||Andover Preservation Commission|
|Date entered||April 12, 2016|