The historic Kipptown Cemetery in Greene Township was rededicated on Saturday, June 5, in a ceremony that included a welcome address by Ellen Drake, an overview of the restoration work completed to date by Ed Kramer, and a dedication and prayer led by Pastor Arthur Frey. The event concluded with Amazing Grace sung by Julie Hazelton Gephardt, and Taps played by Ray Farnilli from the Newfoundland American Legion.
Ellen Drake welcomed everyone to what she said felt more like a family gathering in a serene garden-like setting on a beautiful spring afternoon. She spoke about the significance of cemeteries as one of our most valuable historic resources, and reminded us that when the first members of the Kipp family were buried on this verdant hillside overlooking the East Branch, Queen Victoria had just ascended to the throne. Cemeteries are not only a places of memorial for the deceased, they are outdoor museums that help us understand the past and how people used to live—by looking at the headstones and reading details about those who have passed, we can gain information about their families, work, and the social connections they had during their lives. She cited several examples to be found on grave markers at Kipptown, such as the rose, signifying love, and its variations: rosebud, broken rose and two roses joined together, each with its special meaning.
Ed Kramer, who, with his wife, Linda, participates in the Historical Society’s Adopt-a-Cemetery Program, gave an overview of the restoration work he and other volunteers have completed in the cemetery, including resetting toppled and leaning stones and repairing broken stones, removing lichen and moss so the symbols and writings are legible, removing dead trees and shrubs, and regular mowing.
Pastor Frey spoke about the deep connections those who are interred here had to the local community and said each person had a story to tell, relating several personal examples, including Miss Calder, his fourth-grade teacher, and Wilmer Frisbie, the father of his schoolmate and college roommate. He pointed out that the perimeter of the cemetery inside the stonewall was just wide enough for his great-grandfather’s horse-drawn hearse to pass through, taking care not to get stuck in the lower corner during wet weather.
Kipptown Cemetery was rededicated to those who have gone before us as a place of reflection and remembrance, not only for the loved ones of those who rest here but for all of the visitors to this beautiful and quiet place.