Cemetery Records of Hampton, New Hampshire
Hampton, New Hampshire has only ten cemeteries within its current borders. In its early years Hampton once included several of the neighboring towns. Those daughter towns, along with their dates of separation, are: Kingston (1690), Hampton Falls (1712-18), Kensington (1737), parts of Rye (1730-38), East Kingston (1738), North Hampton (1742), parts of Sandown (1756), Danville (1760), and parts of Seabrook (1768). When using these records keep in mind that people who died and were buried "in Hampton" may now be buried in one of these other towns. Those records aren't included here, but some other area cemetery records are now being added to this website.
The New Hampshire Old Graveyard Association has mapped every cemetery in New Hampshire. View the page for Hampton and click on links to detailed topographical maps showing the locations of each cemetery. Note: The "Ericssen" Cemetery mentioned on the NHOGA website pertains to the landmark known as "Thorwald's Rock", which some popular lore records as the burial place of Thorwald Ericssen, brother of Leif Ericssen, a Viking explorer. This is very likely fictitious, and the location of the stone has since been moved. Read more about Thorwald's Rock here.
The ten cemeteries and their inclusive dates are (listed in order by size with the smallest first):
- Landing Cemetery, 1715-1727
- Shaw Cemetery, 1713 or 1718-1858
- Batchelder Cemetery, 1823-1900
- Sanborn Family Cemetery, 1829-1907
- Elkins Cemetery, 1851-1893
- Bride Hill Cemetery, 1782-1890
- "Ye Old Neighborhood" Cemetery, 1800-1933
- Pine Grove Cemetery, 1680-1834
- Ring Swamp Cemetery, 1800-1934
- High Street Cemetery, 1859-present
- These records are not included here. You can call (603) 926-6659 to have the caretaker search them for you, or write to the High Street Cemetery, High Street, Hampton, N.H., 03842. Gravestones from this cemetery through the year 1900 have been published in volume two of the published vital records of Hampton by George and Melinde Sanborn. This book is available at libraries and for sale from the New England Historic Genealogical Society.
Where are the oldest settlers buried?
With the exception of the current town cemetery on High Street (which dates from 1858) all of the known gravestones in town are included in this listing. In an effort to preserve the inscriptions of these often crumbling old stones I have endeavored to be as accurate as possible in transcribing them. In many cases the inscriptions are already impossible to read, but we are fortunate in having the records of several other people who since 1856 have preceded me in this task. I used these previous records as a basis from which to work, and very often an illegible word or phrase was readable when I had these lists to refer to. And quite frequently I had to rely on them totally when the stone was impossible to read. A full annotated bibliography of these sources follows this introduction.
Brackets in the records that follow serve two purposes. First, I have enclosed any letters, numbers, or words that I could not read in brackets. Second, any comments I had to make on any given stone are enclosed in brackets and follow the record of the inscription. Many stones have a verse, usually religiously oriented, following the actual inscription. Where this is the case I have enclosed the verse in quotation marks. Many of the previous compilers did not record verses so quite often I had nothing to go on while trying to decipher them. Where there is a verse, but it is illegible, I have said so. Quite frequently I have written "A verse, but difficult to read." In such a case the verse would probably be readable by anyone sufficiently motivated to figure it out, perhaps using a rubbing technique. For the purposes of this record, however, I did not go to such lengths.
Where there is an obvious misspelling on the actual gravestone I have not changed it. After the erroneous word I have included the term [sic] in brackets to signify that the previous word is included as written on the stone and is not my typographical error. When creating the index, however, I have standardized the spellings of all family and personal names for ease of use. I used Dow's "History of Hampton" as my source for standard spellings. I have tried to record the punctuation exactly as it appears on the stones, but this is often an impossible task. Some stones are so badly faded it is difficult to read the words, let alone differentiate between a period and a comma or a colon and a semi-colon. Rather than put each such mark in brackets I have simply included them as accurately as I could, trusting that few people will care if I have made some mistakes. Capitalization is another area where I have not been entirely accurate. Frequently large sections of each stone, or even the entire inscription will be in capital letters. In such a case I have only capitalized the first letter of each word. In the few instances where I have capitalized the entire word it is usally because it was highlighted on the stone for a reason. Many of the older stones had abbreviated words in which the last letter or two is raised above the line. Because of this such strange looking abbreviations as Feby. Augt. Decr. Jonan. Benjan. daur. etc. will appear in the record. These examples stand for February, August, December, Jonathan, Benjamin, and daughter. Usually the word is self-evident. Where it is not, I have explained it.
Years ago many grave plots were laid out with a headstone and a footstone. The footstones usually had only brief information such as initials, year of death, or at most, just the individual's name. In many cases the headstones have disappeared over the years but the footstone remains. I have included these in my record only where there is a possibility that they can be identified. In many cases I have tentatively identified them myself using the genealogical section of Dow's History of Hampton. The order of inclusion of the stones within each cemetery are the same for all but the Ring Swamp Cemetery, and I have explained the difference in my preface to that cemetery. Starting at the front of each graveyard (the side where most of the stones face) I have worked my way to the back by moving from left to right down the rows. In some cases, particularly in the Pine Grove Cemetery, it is a judgement call to make out the individual rows because they are so crooked, and occasionally I have included a stone that has been in the next row when it has obviously been a family member of the stones in another row close to it.
Most of these old cemeteries are accessible only by crossing private property. Before you visit any such graveyard it is advisable to obtain permission from the landowner. Contact a member of the town Cemetery Trustees for information as to who owns the land. Since many of these stones are in fragile condition the best advice I can give you is to stay away unless you have a real need to visit them. One of the purposes of this listing is to make it unnecessary for genealogists and historians to visit the gravesites to gather their data. I have tried to be as accurate as possible in compiling this record, but inevitably there are mistakes in transcription and typographical errors. If anyone finds such errors I hope they will bring them to my attention. Furthermore, if someone is able to read a stone that I could not, I would appreciate that information as well. Send an email to bteschek(at)hampton.lib.nh.us or write in care of the Lane Memorial Library, 2 Academy Ave., Hampton, N.H. 03842.