Number of Participants: 1
Hours Donated: 130
Value of Time Served: $1,099
Event Type: Civic & Community
Date: September 24, 2021
Pentucket Regional High School
Main Street, West Newbury
WEST NEWBURY — Twelve mostly forgotten souls in a cemetery once designated for indigent elderly and infirm people in town can rest easier thanks to the efforts of Pentucket Regional High School 10th-grader Kade Markee Dennis and his team of volunteers.
As part of an Eagle Scout project, Dennis organized fellow Scouts from Troop 41, along with family members, friends and Historical Commission members, to help him clear the neglected, old burial ground off Poorehouse Lane of fallen trees and brush.
“Many people don’t know the cemetery is even there,” said Chair Bob Janes of the Historical Commission when the Almshouse Cemetery was rediscovered in January.
The Merrimac sophomore said he first learned of the cemetery from his father, who read about it in a Daily News article.
“We both really like history so I thought it might be an opportunity to learn more about it and incorporate it into my (Eagle Scout) project,” Dennis said.
His father is retired West Newbury police Chief Jonathan Dennis and his mother is former longtime West Newbury Finance Director Tracy Blais, who is now town administrator in Newbury.
“My uncle Scott Dennis is really into genealogy and he helped find out some details about the Almshouse and who might be buried there,” the teen said.
There are no visible stone markers and records of burials at the site are sketchy, but according to the town’s vital records, the following five burials spots are listed for the Almshouse Cemetery:
“James Burrill, d. 12/4/1855 ae 91 yr, 11 mo, 2 dy, a pauper
(…) England, widowed female, d. 1/9/1857
Gilman Tewksbury, d. 3/26/1859, ae 44 yr, son of Thomas & Sarah Tewksbury.
Thomas Tewksbury, d. 12/15/1859, 68 yr, 5 mo, 20 dy, son of Jonathan