Until recently, burial sites were not recognized as important historic sites within the cultural landscape. In the last decade increased public interest and concern for our threatened burial sites has resulted in the development of this new area of historic preservation. Massachusetts burial grounds are exceptional. Scattered throughout the countryside, historic cemeteries function as art, historical record, religious symbol, and contemplative space.
Our exceptional burial ground, The Old Indian Cemetery, keeps a silent vigil to much of West Brookfield’s history. It is the resting place of 16 French and Indian War soldiers, 11 Revolutionary War soldiers, and 6 men who were killed in 1710 by Indians and became known as the Haymakers. It is also the resting place for Jedediah Foster, his wife and daughter, and the Honorable Diederick Leertouwer.
This cemetery was used from 1710 to 1849. Some of the spelling and wording used for this site may be different from today’s. The old documents and wordings were followed as closely as possible.
The cemetery has a rectangular shape and is surrounded by stone walls on all sides. There is one walk-in entrance on Cottage Street. The landscape remains rough and unadorned. The surface in level and covered with grass. There are several large pine trees scattered within its boundaries, no bushes or shrubs. It has the plainness of an old graveyard.
UPDATE: Currently conservation work is being done in the Old Indian Cemetery.