The Point of Life: Point of Graves

September 10, 2020 — I like my graveyards with an evocative name. A bit of salt in the nose. Some bone for the eyes. And pressed in by history. Point of Graves is all of that.

Point of Graves was established in 1671 on what is now Mechanic Street in downtown Portsmouth, New Hampshire. It’s one of the oldest cemeteries in the state. Its name is derived from its location, at the mouth of the Piscataqua River close to where it joins the Atlantic.

For such a small cemetery (some 125 stones have survived, although it feels like fewer), it features a wealth of macabre imagery on its graves. Namely, half a dozen styles of skull, including one with wings that rise above it to form a heart. The earliest legible epitaphs date back to 1682, one of which belongs to Anne Jaffrey, who died at age 18 after giving birth. She didn’t make it out of her teens. Her stone survived for centuries. Buried here are mariners and blacksmiths, coffin makers and merchants. Husbands and wives and children of early New England.

If you want to see a little more of this little cemetery, catch this episode of Sounds Scary on Amazon Prime, in which I was interviewed there. Only the second time I’ve been interviewed in a cemetery. Feels like it should be more.