Vermont's Sacred AcreParaphrasing Stephen Seitz' 2006 article in the Rutland Herald: The history of the town, the state and the nation is written out on the stones in the Old First Church Cemetery in Bennington. The sign on the Old First Church reads: First church in Vermont dedicated to separation of church and state. Congregation founded by those seeking religious freedom. Vermont's legislature designated this church "Vermont's Colonial Shrine"; adjacent cemetery "Vermont's Sacred Acre". Bridget Harwood, born in Concord, Massachusetts in 1715, mother of 10 children, was the first burial in 1762. Over the years she has been joined by several Vermont governors, a U.S. Congressman and Senator. Robert Frost is here. His poem, In A Disused Graveyard, captures the essence of our organization: The living come with grassy tread, To read the gravestones on the hill; The graveyard draws the living still, But never anymore the dead.
In the self-guided tour1 of St. James Cemetery in Arlington, Vermont we discover:
The founders of the town of Arlington were members of the King’s army, which came from Connecticut to fight against the French in the north in what was known as the French and Indian War. On their return they camped along the Battenkill (River) in the vicinity of what was to become Arlington.
In 1749 the King of England authorized Benning Wentworth to sell land in what was named the New Hampshire grants in order to populate the area to keep the French out. Israel Canfield and some of the men... Read on...