A piece of local history may soon fall into place, thanks to a new law and some diligent research by townspeople.

If the theory of Corelyn Senn, a Lincolnville cemetery trustee, is correct, one of the town's 23 cemeteries may be at least five years older than had previously been thought, and the first grave site of one of its founders may shortly be located.

Gen. George Ulmer served in the Revolutionary War and rose through the ranks to become a general in the War of 1812. According to an article written by Senn, he was a businessman and prominent citizen in early Lincolnville. As an agent for Gen. Henry Knox, he bought nearly 3,000 acres of land in the county and held positions in county and state government.

He was also a shipbuilder, lumberman and merchant, according to Senn's information, with a mansion on Lincolnville's first town road, Cobbtown Road.

After a while, the general's fortunes waned, Senn said. He lost two of his ships in 1797, and his mansion burned. The same year, his 4-year-old daughter, Sukey, drowned in the Ducktrap River. She was buried in Ulmer Cemetery, above Ducktrap Beach, which was created for her and other Ulmer family members, Senn said.

Senn's article shows that Ulmer sold his remaining business interests to his son-in-law, John Wilson, in 1807, and moved to the other end of Cobbtown Road, across from what is now known as Kendall Farm.

Senn suspects Ulmer and his wife, Mary “Polly” Tanner Ulmer, were both originally buried in Kendall Cemetery, off North Cobbtown Road. She cites three sources to support her hunch. The first of these is a letter written in 1975 by Samuel and Eleanor Beverage of North Haven to Elizabeth Griffin, which is now at the Lincolnville Historical Society's Schoolhouse Museum. The letter refers to information given to the Beverages about where George Ulmer was buried: “near the SE side of Pitcher Pond…”

Then there is an email sent to Senn by Wendell Wilson, of Tucson, Ariz., a relative of Harriet Huse Wilson, whose 1830 grave is the earliest one known in Kendall Cemetery. Wendell Wilson wrote a history of his family, from which his email quoted a description of how two of George Ulmer's grandsons provided for him and his wife by granting them “the use of the Grist mill, and Saw mill together with all machinery on the dams, or in the mills, with the use of as much land as they choose to improve during their lives” at the Kendall Brook property formerly owned by George Ulmer's son-in-law, John Wilson.

After George's death in 1825, says Wendell Wilson's email, “His widow, Mary Tanner Ulmer, lived with her daughter, Mary, and son-in-law, John Wilson, on that property.

“Therefore, … I think it is highly likely that they were both originally buried on the Wilson property on Kendall Brook where Harriet Wilson was buried, and that Mary Tanner Ulmer is still there.”

It is known that George Ulmer's body was moved from Lincolnville to Mountain View Cemetery in Camden in 1901 by the Amity Lodge of Masons, which he helped start, as part of the lodge's celebration of its centenary.

The final piece of evidence supporting Senn's belief that the general was originally buried in Kendall Cemetery is a letter to The Republican Journal from 1900.

The letter, under the headline, “The Grave of Gen. George Ulmer,” is signed by a Geo. A. Quimby. In it, Quimby says, “through the courtesy of Jason Hill, Esq., of Lincolnville I was shown where the general is buried.”

After giving some biographical information about Ulmer, the letter states, “On a sunny slope in a green field near the old homestead (now the Kendall House) the general lies buried… .”

When a friend sent her a copy of Quimby's letter last June, Senn said, everything fell into place in her mind, and she felt certain George Ulmer had once been buried in Kendall Cemetery.

The cemetery is located on private property now owned by David Patullo.

Senn was instrumental in getting the law changed regarding maintenance of ancient burying grounds – cemeteries founded before 1880. Previously, municipalities were required only to maintain the graves of veterans in ancient burying grounds. Under the amended law, they must maintain all such cemeteries, with special requirements for the maintenance of veterans' graves.

For some time, Patullo has denied the town access to Kendall Cemetery, since there was no information that any veteran was buried there, according to previously published reports. Now, with the new law in place, when a cemetery is on private property, the landowner must either allow the municipality access to it, or take on the responsibility of maintaining it to certain specifications.

Senn said the town is now in talks with Patullo about gaining access to Kendall Cemetery in order to maintain it. A phone call to Patullo was not returned before press time.

Senn emphasized what is exciting to her is that Kendall Cemetery may be the original burial place of one of the town's early prominent citizens. She hopes to get into the burying ground to see whether the general's wife, Mary Tanner Ulmer, is still buried there. She expects that to be the case, because she has found no authorization to move Mary's body, such as she found for the removal of the general's body to Mountain View Cemetery. If his wife's body is buried there, Senn thinks there is good reason to believe he was once buried there as well. And if that is the case, the cemetery dates at least to 1825, and may actually have been started for the general.

“We probably can't prove it,” Senn acknowledged.

Besides the Ulmers, there are the dozen or more others buried in Kendall Cemetery, many whose names are not known, as it has been many years since the burying ground was cleared of vegetation.

“I've wanted to get into that cemetery for years to honor the people who are buried there,” Senn said.