Lincolnville's Thomas Cemetery

By Corelyn Senn | Aug 20, 2014
Courtesy of: Corelyn Senn The headstone of James H. Thomas lies broken in Thomas Cemetery; he was lost at sea while aboard Eliza Ann.

Thomas Cemetery is one of three cemeteries on High Street. It is on land that was settled by Joseph Thomas who, in 1773, claimed land on the south side of Thomas Pond (now Levenseller Pond) in New Canaan Plantation (now Lincolnville) as well as on the west side in Searsmont..

He built a log cabin not far from the cemetery, along the Old Augusta County Road. Joseph was one of the settlers named by General Knox as living illegally on Knox’s lands. There was resistance among the settlers to the challenges to their land but Knox came up with a plan to sell to the settlers the lands they claimed as their own for 65 cents an acre and to do away with the law that forbid the building of a saw mill or lime kiln on the property. Joseph was one of the first to take advantage of this offer and as he was a leader in the community many followed his example. He received a warranty deed for 200 acres. This acreage included about half the shore land of Thomas Pond and there are reportedly the remains of an old mill on the brook out of the pond. In 1802, Joseph bought an additional 50 acres from John Nason.

Joseph moved his family from the log cabin to a house on the corner of what is now Lloyd Thomas Road, again on the Old Augusta Road. In 1815, he sold the entire 250 acres to his sons James and Philip. The sons ran the farm together and apparently all continued to live in the farmhouse with their parents, Joseph and Phoebe, and whatever other of the 14 children were still living at home. The old house was torn down in the late 1800s but the farm buildings continued to be used. Two new houses were built farther up the road. The first one was built by Philip’s family and when it was done James’s family insisted on a better one.

This second home, whose current driveway was the Old Augusta Road, did not look pretentious but inside it had acid etched glass, white ash casings with black mahogany molding and gilt half rounds bead around the valences.

This first house was sold out of the family. However, the second house remained in the family until 1972. Joseph Tyler Thomas, son of James, (grandson of Joseph) and his wife, Lydia Jane Fletcher lived there and left it to their son James Henry Thomas and his wife, Florence Anne Spaulding (Annie). Annie died when her children were young and the oldest daughter, Georgia, and James brought up the children. James died in 1939, leaving the farm to son, Lloyd. The will was not probated until 1969, when Lloyd planned to sell. It was in this sale that the cemetery is first designated. For the first time in 200 years it was out of the family. Lloyd lived here from birth to his death, with a life tenancy even after he sold it.

The cemetery contains 32 graves, most from before the 1880s. All but one are Thomas family members: Joseph and his wife, Phoebe Tyler, their sons and wives, Philip and Lucy Ingraham and Capt. James and Abigail Dunton. Ambrose and Rebecca and their three children who died in 1883 are there. Philip drowned himself in Thomas Pond at age 86. James and Abigail’s son James H. who was lost at sea has a memorial.

Names other than Thomas include Sidney and Jennie Sarah Churchill, daughter of Joseph T. and Lydia Jane, and Alden Marriner -- son of Bethia Thomas and Philip Marriner -- and his wife, Sybel. The grave we know least about is that of 1 ½-year-old Flora Belle Heal who died in 1867. She was the daughter of Gorham and Eleanor Wadsworth Heal. She may have been taken in by Ambrose and Rebecca Heal Thomas.

Lloyd Thomas and his second wife, Elmyra, are the most recent burials. Lloyd left money for perpetual care of the cemetery but an old cemetery takes a great deal of funding to maintain and to repair broken stones. Unfortunately, this historical burying ground is in need of much work.

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