~ Elaine Giacomo

Anyone who has visited any of the Nelson or Munsonville cemeteries appreciates these historic and beautiful treasures. The feeling of peace and serenity is palpable, and reading the headstone of residents who lived here more than 200 years ago is a humbling experience.

Honoring these forebears and helping today’s residents purchase their own graves are the two main goals of the Nelson Cemetery Board. Its five members meet monthly to make sure that the existing cemeteries remain safe and well-maintained, sell grave sites, answer cemetery-related questions, and move forward with our plans to expand into a much-needed new cemetery.

Cemetery 1

The town currently has three cemeteries. The original Nelson Cemetery (now called Cemetery 1) dates back to the late 18th century. The town common was originally located here, as was the town hall. The graves of many Revolutionary and Civil War veterans can be found throughout the cemetery; many Nelson men gave their lives for their country. Cemetery 1 is located on Cemetery Hill Road, just up from the present town common.

The newer Nelson Cemetery (now called Cemetery 2) abuts Cemetery 1. It opened in the early 1960’s when Cemetery 1 no longer had any graves available for purchase. It has a lovely view of Center Pond and is accessible through the Cemetery 1 entrance. 

Munsonville Cemetery

The Munsonville Cemetery is located on old Route 9, about a quarter mile from the Route 9 exit ramp. This lovely cemetery dates back to the early 1800’s, and Is known for the large Munson family monuments as well as the armless Foster memorial – dedicated to the memory of a gentleman who is an ancestor of current Cemetery Board member Al Stoops.

The town of Nelson currently has a problem – we are almost out of grave space. Cemetery 1 and the Munsonville cemetery have been closed to new grave purchases for many years, and Cemetery 2 is almost full. This necessitates the need for a new cemetery. Fortunately for the town, the late Henry Fuller donated a five acre parcel across from the two Nelson cemeteries some years ago, so we have a site. The Cemetery Board’s current task is to develop this property into a new cemetery, and do it in a timely, yet mindful manner.

Our goal is to design a cemetery that honors the past while addressing the burial needs and desires of today. We are investigating environmentally friendly burial options as well as traditional burials. Recent studies indicate that close to 65% of all burials today are cremated remains, rather than full body burials; we must consider this trend when designing the new cemetery.

The Nelson Cemetery Board is comprised of five volunteers who are elected to three year terms. Elaine Giacomo is currently the board chair; the other members are Al Stoops, Harry Flanagan, Linda Cates and Marty French. Marty’s term is expiring this year; we thank him for his years of service to the town. There is no one on the town ballot for the opening, but keep your eyes peeled for any write-in candidate; there will be at least one.

If anyone is interested in purchasing a grave, the process is quite simple. Call Elaine at 603-847-9019. She will tell you what graves are available and show you the site. If the site is satisfactory, the next step is to see Town Clerk Karen Castelli in the town hall. She will prepare a deed for the grave, which is then signed and notarized. Karen also has copies of the cemetery rules and regulations; we are currently in the process of updating them, but make sure to get a copy from Karen – the document will probably answer many of your questions. 

A video tour of the cemeteries