Sudbury, Massachusetts is one of the great historic Revolutionary War villages in Middlesex County, Massachusetts. It’s Town Center is marked by the Old Burial Ground and the Congregational and Unitarian Churches. The blizzard of 2013 dropped over two feet of snow in Sudbury and left the historic town center “picture perfect.
On the 19th of April in 1775 the church bells rang to summon the Sudbury Minutemen to march to neighboring Concord, Massachusetts to defend the gunpowder stores. This commemorated evry year on the anniversary, when the church bells still ring out to summon the Sudbury Minutemen reenactors. It is an eight mile march to Concord and on that day in 1775 Sudbury’s militia arrived too late for the initial engagement with British troops on the Old North Bridge.
The old graveyards of New England seem to accentuate our connection with the past. They remind us of the building of America and our obligation to the ideals of these early Americans. The denizens of Sudbury’s Old Burial Ground are mostly from the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Across Concord road from the Old Burial Ground is a newer cemetery and the side of the road is marked by crypts containing the remains of prominent Sudbury citizens of the nineteenth century. A second nineteenth century graveyard is to be found about a mile South of the town center.
A problem in the early days, and up until the nineteenth century, was that the ground became too hard in winter for burials. The deceased were stored in undertakers’ sheds until spring when the ground softened. In many Massachusetts towns, such as Concord, here The Burial Ground overlooks Monument Street, may be found built on glacial drumlins because this was the ground first caught the sun and melted first in spring. Such drumlins are a key geological feature of eastern Massachusetts, Sudbury has recently moved the old undertaker’s storage shed to the burial ground and restored it.
Next to Sudbury’s Old Burial Ground may be found the stonework town pound, where escaped domestic animals were placed until they could be reclaimed by their owners. The town has rebuilt the gate to this pen, and its authentic coloration provided a marvelous contrast to the stark, pristine whiteness of the snow.
When one thinks of New England one thinks of snow. So there was something right about the blizzard of 2013 in the way that it set off the countryside. Still there was something quite reassuring to retreating from the cold to a warm cup of coffee.