Cape Cod is home to some rich history that you could find in one of many local museums or even your local graveyards. Visit passengers of the Mayflower and explore family plots of native Cape Codders that date back to the 1700’s. Whether you are getting into the Halloween spirit early or are interested in Cape Cod’s rich history, it is the perfect time of year to explore the oldest cemeteries on lower Cape Cod. Intricate and one of a kind grave markers pepper the graveyards around the Cape, but where can you find some of the oldest cemeteries on lower Cape Cod? Here is our list of graveyards you need to check out.
Old North & Old South Cemeteries
Location: Old Queen Anne Road, Chatham
Details About This Cemetery: The Old North and South Cemeteries of Chatham are located right across the street from one another on Old Queen Anne Road. The older of the two cemeteries was where the first meeting house in Chatham was located, which was built in 1700-1701. The newer graveyard was home to the second meeting house in town, which was much larger than the first. The oldest gravestone at the Old North & Old South Cemeteries in Chatham is from Richard Sears and it is dated 1718 when he was only 38 years old.
The Old North and South Cemeteries are located right down the street from the Chatham Airport. Parking is limited to a small shoulder on the side of the road, and be careful crossing to the other part of the graveyard as Old Queen Anne Road is curvy. There is no separate parking for the older of the two cemeteries, so it is easier to park on the shoulder and carefully cross the road.
Location: The corner of Meetinghouse Road and Main Street, Orleans
Details About This Cemetery: The Orleans Cemetery is an expansive graveyard on Main Street Orleans, which is home to gravestones dating back to 1723. It is believed that the oldest grave belongs to Seth Paine. His grave marker is nearly impossible to read, as it is a very small and simple marker that has been weather over the last couple hundred years.
There is a Facebook page for the graveyard, and a website which lists the names, date and age of each grave. The oldest graves are located closer to the Federated Church and the newer section is located by Tonset Road it continues all along Main Street. There are two entrances, which can lead you to believe it is two different graveyards, as it is one of the larger of the Cemeteries on Lower Cape Cod.
Old North Cemetery
Location: Route 6, Truro
Details About This Cemetery: The Old North Cemetery in Truro the resting place of many of the people that helped shape the town of Truro. The Old North Cemetery was the only graveyard in the town until 1799, making it one of the oldest Cemeteries on Lower Cape Cod. This cemetery was located north of the first meeting house in the town of Truro, just four years after the town was incorporated in 1713.
Sea captains, clergy and town proprietors were all buried at the Old North Cemetery until the Pine Grove cemetery was established by the Methodist Church. The collection of well preserved and diverse grave markers along with the social significance of the people from the town of Truro buried here, make the Old North Cemetery an essential stop when learning about the history of this beautiful seaside town.
Eastham Cove Burying Ground
Details About This Cemetery: This is one of the most historically significant Cemeteries on Lower Cape Cod because it is the final resting place of a couple of the passengers of the Mayflower. Headstone rubbing is not permitted (which is noted at the entrance of this cemetery), but there is a flier that you may pick up at the entrance of this graveyard so you can learn about this small graveyard located right off of Route 6.
Parking is very limited and it can be tricky to navigate depending on the direction you are traveling on the highway, but with all of its rich history and how well preserved the stones are, it is well worth the trouble. Although this is one of the very oldest cemeteries in the area, it has been described as one of the less creepy and more fascinating by visitors as it is full of such history with so much information available for visitors.
Location: Off of Airline Drive, West Brewster
Details About This Cemetery: Sears Cemetery is one of the seven cemeteries located in the town of Brewster. The older graves in this cemetery are located in the northwest corner of the plot. Located in the conservation land off of Airline Drive, this is one of the secluded and peaceful Cemeteries on Lower Cape Cod located in beautiful Brewster. The grave in the photo above is that of Edmund Sears who passed away in 1796 at 85 years old and it reads, “Remember me as you pafs by For as you are so once was I And as I am now so you muft be Therefore Prepare to follow me.”
Although it can be tricky to find, it is worth the trip. The graveyard is right next to a little pond and it is surrounded by beautiful trees and the home to beautiful grave markers like the one pictured. The oldest grave is believed to belong to Richard Sears, who is buried with an unmarked grave. Richard Sears passed away in 1676 at the age of 86. His unmarked grave marker is a large off white stone located in the cemetery. It is hard to miss.
Cemeteries on Lower Cape Cod
Cape Cod is filled with a rich history which you can find all around if you know where to look. Get some fresh air while you visit the graves of the people that helped shape the Cape Cod to be the place that we all know and love.