Deerfield Old Burial Grounds
Dwelling — Deerfield Old Burial Grounds
End of Albany Road in historic Deerfield,
Tourist season is from April 16—November 27.
The Old Deerfield Burial Ground is open during daylight
Open daily from 9:30a.m.–4:30p.m.
Go down Old Main Street, to the town
common. Albany Road is an offshoot to the left of Old Main Street,
running east down the left side of the Town Common. Going East on
Albany Road, the visitor will pass Deerfield Academy, and other old
homes. At the very end of Albany Road, the burial ground is on the
left side of the road.
Also known as the Old Albany Cemetery, this
lovely, historic, tree-lined/shaded cemetery sits up on a hill,
overlooking Deerfield Academy's playing fields. Tom and I visited
this historic burial ground. Just inside the entry gate, there is
an informative sign, listing all who were buried here. Being owned
and maintained by the town of Deerfield, Massachusetts, it is in
terrific shape, with well-cared for green grass, that grows around
many beautiful and one of a kind grave stones, marking the final
resting place of folks who lived and died during a large period of
time; from the town's formation in the 17th century, through to the
end of the 18th century. It is a very peaceful place, with benches
for visitors to sit on and rest.
From the very young, to the very old,
several generations of various families are laid to rest together
in this lovely little cemetery. Walking around this burial ground,
the visitors see graves of those who succumbed from causes that
have longed plagued human beings in this world, including women who
died in childbirth, people of all ages who died of natural causes
and the common deadly diseases of the day, as well as those who
died at the hands of others in a rather violent manner.
In the late 1600s, Deerfield Village was
founded on the former site of the English settlement, Pocumtuck,
that had been destroyed in 1675 by French and Indian attack because
of the first French and Indian War, known as King Phillip's War.
While the site was ideal for a farming town, it was on the edge of
British settlements, the frontier, about fifty miles from nearest
help. Knowing full well of the risks of settling here, Deerfield
Village British settlers created a close-knit farming community,
hoping to stand up together against any trouble from England's
political enemies. Around the early years of Deerfield Village,
trouble was a brewing, brought on by a long-standing power struggle
between the British and the French. There were 4 French and Indian
Wars in America, from 1689-1763, mirroring what was going on in
Like many British colonists in Britain's
American colonies, Deerfield Village suffered an attack from French
and Indian raiding parties, at a time of year that they thought it
was safe to let down their guard a little; in the winter. Disaster
hit Deerfield Village on a cold day, February 29th, 1704, just two
years after the very beginning of the second French and Indian War,
called Queen Anne's War (1702-1713). One source thinks that Rev.
John Williams, who was installed as pastor in Deerfield in 1686,
was the main target for ransom, because Boston authorities were
holding in jail a Canadian, by the name of Jean-Baptiste Guyon.
Another cause of the attack was the pressure put on the French by
their Indian allies, who were really annoyed with New England
settlers, taking over their land. So, they picked a settlement on
the far western edge of British settlements in the area.
The Indians were allowed to treat enemy
captives in the customary way that they usually did with their
enemies, according to their own customs, with no interference from
the French; Death by scalping and tomahawk, and taking captives for
ransom money. Indians looked at colonists as pests who usurped on
their lands, and had no qualms in causing bodily harm and
suffering, no matter what the age of the colonist. They were just
commodities to be harvested, good for their scalps, for their
ransom value, and kept as slaves/replacements for dead loved
The people of Deerfield Village were
overrun by 200-300 French soldiers and Abenaki and Mohawk warriors,
in an early morning raid, bringing a horrible, savage death to 56
men, women and children. The surviving 242 villagers were taken
captive. 110 of these villagers were left in Deerfield, with a
garrison of 10 French soldiers, while 112 others were forced to
endure a 300 mile hard winter march to Canada, so a ransom could be
paid for their release. Stragglers and the weak were disposed of
quickly by a tomahawk; no mercy was shown. Twenty-one of the
captive villagers of a variety of ages were killed or died along
the way to Canada:Three babies(out of the 4 infants), four children
(out of 35 youngsters), four men (out of 26 gentlemen) and ten
women (out of 26 ladies). The only age group that suffered no
deaths on this march, were the 21 teen prisoners.
The bloody remains of 56 men, women and
children killed in this raid were put into a mass grave by the
surviving townspeople allowed to stay. There is a stately marker on
top of the mound, simply labeled, "The Dead of 1704". When
Massachusetts Governor Dudley paid the ransom money to the Indians
and French two years later, 90 of the survivors, minus several
young girls who bonded with Indian and French families, came back
to what was left of Deerfield Village.
Reverend John Williams, who is buried in
the Williams family section, next to his wife, Eunice in the Old
Deerfield Burial Ground, was one of these 90 surviving captives who
returned, and he wrote a book about their ordeals, and how they got
through it all. They encouraged each other, and stood fast to their
faith, despite efforts to get them to convert to Catholicism. The
book was called, "The Redeemed Captive Returning to Zion". He
purged his emotional feelings and negative reactions by writing a
book about the horrible treatment the captives received on their
long trek to Canada. Plenty of violence hurt his own family. He
lost his wife, his two youngest children, and a daughter who
decided to stay with the Indians, young Eunice, who was adored by
her adoptive tribe.
After returning to Deerfield, the former
captives rejoined the Deerfield Village, rebuilt their homes and
carried on bravely with life. They mourned their dead loved ones,
picked up the pieces of their lives, forever changed in how they
look at life. For example, Reverend John Williams married his
wife's cousin, and had 5 more children. Other former captives did
the same in rebuilding their lives.
This grueling experience bonded the
survivors into a strong unit, who were able to teach their children
and influence future generations, promoting the faith and
perseverance needed to survive other trials and tribulations, that
happened throughout the many years. Descendents faced and tackled
such issues as being on guard for other Indian attacks, locust
attacks, floods, fires, disease outbreaks and hard economic
realities; making lemons out of lemonade. Even today, this faith
and perseverance is evident. When The Deerfield Inn suffered a
damaging flood because of Hurricane Irene, they have resolved to
rebuild and make their inn even better, with support from the
Deerfield Town Association.
It is not surprising then that the town of
Deerfield has been able to preserve and restore all of the
structures in this historic village, drawing tourists who take the
various house tours, see the museums, and spend money to help the
town's economy. They also have a private school in town, Deerfield
Academy. They have found ways to carry on life in this small
village of Deerfield.
HISTORY OF MANIFESTATIONS:
People who die a violent, painful, death at
the hands of another, suffering loss and dying before they were
ready, sometimes are restless spirits, trying to make things
different, still mourn and are filled with "IF ONLY" regret, or
seek justice in this world.
River Raisin Battlefield * Little
Bighorn Battlefield * Lizzie Borden House * Opera singer - Liberty Hall Mansion )
In the Williams home, there was an
underground tunnel leading to the Deerfield River. When the Indians
attacked the Williams' home, their black pregnant maid escaped with
two of the youngest Williams children through the tunnel. However,
when they were soon caught, the two children that the maid was
responsible for were slain probably in front of her. One of them
might have been the newborn Williams baby. The maid who had been
looking forward to having her own child, was tortured by being
scalped alive and while still breathing, her baby was killed while
she was being hacked to death with a tomahawk, either by a
Frenchman or an Indian.
Women who unexpectedly die before, during
or after giving birth, have been known to be unable to leave this
world, and mourn and/or worry for their children.
for Women * Maysville
Hospital * Carleton House )
Eunice Williams had just given birth a week
or two before the attack. She was in a weakened condition when the
villagers were forced to begin the march to Canada. When she
stumbled in the Deerfield River, an Indian killed her quickly with
his tomahawk. She had really wanted to be with her husband, and
comfort their 5 children who were on the march She also must have
been worried about what had happened to her two other missing
children who had been with the maid.
What is fascinating is that out of all the
people who were killed in the raid, only two spirits remain with
issues in this world, that spend a little time in the Old Deerfield
Burial Ground. However, as just about all the historic homes in
Deerfield are listed on Deerfield's 2011 'SPRING PARANORMAL TOUR",
perhaps some of the murdered Deerfield villagers have decided to
stay in the homes or other buildings in historic Deerfield instead,
living out what should've been their lives if they had not been
murdered. ( Menger
Hotel * Legare Street House * General
Wayne Inn * Kelton
Female Entity of
Though the remains of Eunice were rescued
from the Deerfield River, and buried properly, she is a restless
spirit, still upset at her sudden, untimely death in the river,
unable to help her husband comfort their 5 surviving children.
Eunice perhaps is looking for her other two children, missing with
She perhaps looks around the graveyard,
trying to find the graves of her two youngest children.
People crossing the bridge over Deerfield
River, see a woman, almost see-through, standing in the water. When
they approach her and ask if she is alright, she disappears.
A fisherman was standing on the bank of the
river, when he saw a woman standing on the opposite bank. He looked
down and then up again, and she was gone. As he continued to fish,
she suddenly appeared right next to him, in a solid, human-like
state, before fading away. Perhaps she wanted to ask him if he had
seen her children?
Entity of the black
On every February 29th, the sound of
bereft, mourning cries of this grieving soul can be heard coming
from the burial mound, all throughout the cemetery. The good news
is that she has found some peace, but still has the need to mourn
for her unborn child's death, and the death of the other two
children, the loss of the life she had with her husband, as well as
her own violent end every 4 years on the 29th of February.
For years, residents of Deerfield have been
witnesses to the mourning cries of the murdered maid, on every leap
year, February 29th. The Old Deerfield Burial Grounds is listed on
Deerfield's 2011 "SPRING PARANORMAL TOUR," as this haunting is
Many visitors and residents have seen the
spirit of Eunice Williams in the River, and on the banks; so much
so that the people of Deerfield have tried to make Eunice feel
better, by naming the covered bridge that runs over the river, The
Eunice Williams Memorial Bridge, and have erected a plaque in her
honor by the Deerfield River as well.
Probably so, though no hard evidence has
been presented. Hopefully, on some February 29th, a paranormal
investigator with a psychic can record the maid's cries, or even
talk to her.
While the maid is the only reported
haunting at the burial ground, just on February 29th, it seems that
Eunice Williams, though properly buried next to her husband, Rev.
John Williams, in a beautiful spot in the burial grounds, is still
restless, and has bee seen around the river. Apparently, she is
still upset about her own brutal death, the loss of her family and
perhaps still looking for her two missing children, maybe not
knowing that they were killed, and/or doesn't know where they are
buried. Eunice may also be looking in the burial grounds for the
remains of her lost children too, though this claim hasn't been
by Thomas D'Agostino
Schiffer Books, 2007