A half-way house for those convicted of drug and alcohol convictions
is now using inmates to recover records of those buried in unmarked
graves at the Sullivan County Farm. Counselor Sara Poisson says, "The
men here, they're young, primarily here for drug offenses either sales
or possession violation of probation and they're kind of at a
crossroads right now. Either this is an opportunity to get your life in
order or just to keep coming back on the merry-go-round."
The graves are part of a turn-of-the-century cemetery lying just across the road from the county farm. The burial grounds are divided into two parts. The front contains remains of prominent families, the great granite headstones still pristine and proper despite time. They are buried by family. But behind those stones lie the remains of the poor, dropped at the farm for infirmity, poverty, insanity, unwed pregnancy, stealing bread, being an orphan, sometimes just a hernia, back when the farm was the county almshouse.
In better times, the pauper's stone has a name and date of death; in leaner times, just a date or maybe just initials. These people were buried in chronological order by date they died, their stones squat and simple, many toppled or just missing.
You can read more in the (Manchester) Union Leader web site at http://tinyurl.com/y92bfj3.