Clipping – Graveyard Discovery – David Wilbur – 2012-12-21

clipping-graveyard-discovery-david-wilbur-2012-12-21

Vol. 18 No. 33
December 21, 2012 282-4337
Graveyard discovery
Residents aim to preserve burial site
By Michael Kelley
Staff Writer
The Eastern Trail near Portland Farms
Road is familiar terrain for John Roller,
who lives on Summerfield Lane, a short
distance from the trail. Roller has been
using the trail for walking and cross-
country skiing several days a week for a
decade.
Only recently did Roller become aware
that part of the Eastern Trail behind the
Hillcrest Retirement Community cuts
through a family graveyard that dates
back to at least the 1790s, nearly 100
years before the town’s first cemetery
— Scarborough Memorial Cemetery – was
established.
“I’ve lived here for 10 years and I
probably have walked or skied by this
graveyard 200 or 300 times,” Roller said.
Roller said roughly a month ago, a father,
who was checking out the graves with his
son, alerted him to the old cemetery. One
of the graves, the only one still standing on
the property, dates back to 1793.
“A lot of people use the trail. You don’t
realize il. in there unless you are looking
I’m il,” Maid Keller, while on a walk along
the K mil,urn Trail hint week “The date on
that grave 1793, I hat’s 20 years alter
we became a country. Back in those days
there must have been a homestead or
something here.”
Now, almost 220 years later, t here in
little indiralion from the trail of the
graves, although with the Eastern Trail’s
expansion toward South Portland several
years ago, the site is much easier to find.
The Scarborough Historical Society has
been working over the years to chronicle
the cemeteries in town by taking pictures
and noting who is, or once was, buried
on site. Dorothy Shaw Libbey began
documenting old family burial sites in
Scarborough in the 1960s. Today, the
historical society, which is opened 9 a.m.
to noon on Tuesdays, or by appointment,
has two large binders dedicated to the
information.
“The first time I visited this cemetery
and documented it was in August of 1988
and found the site to have been vandalized
with gravestones broken into pieces
and strewn about,” said Scarborough
resident Janice Makowski, who has done
ieiei3En3Ent mmccows wsi, wns one
work to update Libbey’s findings. “I then
went back In 1997, with Becky Delaware
from the historical society When Becky
and I visited, we covered up some of the
gravesites since they bad the appearance
of having been dug up. Some of the stones
appeared to have bullet holes, so we
tried to protect then from future, further
vandalism.”
Today only one the 17 graves that had
once been on the property, which was once
home to the Eben Libby Farm, can be read.
That grave belongs to David Wilbur, a
young boy who died at 14 days old in 1793.
The grave reads: ‘David, son of Mr. John
and Mrs. Mary Wilbur Died 1793 aged 14
days.’
According to online records of the First
Church of Scarborough, John Wilbur and
Mary Jones married on Oct. 14, 1784.
See GRAVEYARD, page 6
John Roller, a resident
of Summurfield Road, a
short distance from the
Eastern Trail, was walking
along the trail a month
ago when he found a’
private family cemetery
just off the trail. The
cemetery sits on land
that once belonged to the
Eben Libby Farm. Roller
is hoping to preserve the
cemetery from further de-
terioration. Left, the only
gravestone still standing
belongs to David Wilbur,
the son of John and Mary
Wilbur, who died as an
infant in 1793. (Michael
Kelley photos)
Graveyard
Continued from page 1
Pierre.
“What my intention was, is some of these
cemeteries have long been forgotten,” St.
Pierre said. “The ones that I could find
I noted so should we have construction
happen, I can make sure people are aware
a cemetery is there and there is no damage
from the construction.”
St. Pierre said many of the cemeteries
are in severe disrepair.
“Some of these cemeteries haven’t been
taken care of, so they are hard to find
and the stones are laying down or are
There is little indica-
tion that there was
once a family cem-
etery of 17 grave-
stones on property
just off the Eastern
Trail. The grave-
stones, which date
back to the 1790s,
have been the target
of vandalism over
the years, causing
many of them to be
unrecognizable.
(Michael Kelley photo)
damaged,” St. Pierre said.
While it is not known what role the
Jones and Wilbur families played in
Scarborough’s history, Roller said he is
willing to do what it takes to preserve the
site. He said he would love to see a sign
on the Eastern Trail pointing to it and
protective fencing around the graveyard.
“I just hate to see the history lost,” he
said.
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“History of Durham, Maine,” a book by
Everett S. Stackpole confirms this.
“John Wilbur, brother of Nathaniel,
Senior, married, 14 Oct. 1784, Mary Jones
in Scarborough. They had twelve children,
none of whom remained long in Durham.”
Although they cannot be seen today,
Libbey indicated that there were marked
gravestones for Mr. Samuel Jones, who
died at 72 years old on Oct. 6, 1791 and
Mr. Williams Jones (no date of death
given). Hannah Jones, who died at 84
.years old on Sept. 23, 1807, may also be
buried on the property.
Online genealogical records indicate that
William Jones, Samuel Jones and Hannah
Jones were siblings.
David Wilbur’s grave, Makowski said,
was adorned with a death’s head. While
pursuing a master’s degree in American
and New England Studies at the
University of Southern Maine, Makowski
used Scarborough’s cemeteries as a topic
of several of her research papers. In
doing research, Makowski said she found
three other gravestones with a death’s
head: one on Mitchell Hill Road and two
in Black Point Cemetery. All three of
the gravestones with the death’s head
belonged to members of the Libby family.
Makowski said on Jan. 12,1800, Nathaniel
Wilbur (possibly John’s younger brother)
married Eunice Libby. That, she said,
could be the connection as to why Wilbur
is buried on land once owned by the Libby
family.
The cemetery is on property that was
once home to the farm that Eben Libby,
Nathaniel’s son, once operated. Today
the DesFosses family owns the property.
Theresa DesFosses said her parents have
owned it since the late 1940s.
The cemetery is one of dozens that
were mapped through GPS by Code
Enforcement Officer Tom Reinsborough
and Scarborough Police Capt. Marla St.

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