Like much of Massachusetts, Bridgewater is steeped in history. Originally granted as an inland plantation to Duxbury, it became a town of its own in 1656. Its identity has changed over the centuries, becoming at various times a center for shoemaking and ironworks, a university town, and a family-friendly suburb of bustling Boston to the north.
However much it’s changed over the years, some things are as true of Bridgewater today as ever. For one, it’s a beautiful place to raise a family and build connections in the community. It’s also a town that understands the importance of honoring and memorializing the dead.
Ancient Cemeteries in Bridgewater
There are several very old cemeteries in the Bridgewater area. As the Massachusetts colonies were first settled, each built its community around the same essential locations: a church, a meeting house, and a cemetery. Honoring and burying the dead was important enough to hold a place of honor in the center of town.
In the case of Bridgewater, the land for the meeting house and cemetery was deeded in 1719. Old Graveyards in East Bridgewater and West Bridgewater date back further, to 1682 and 1683 respectively. The Old Graveyard in East Bridgewater is no longer in use, but it shares a border with Central Cemetery, which has been in continuous use since 1845.
A visit to any of the old cemeteries can tell a story of the community’s history. Buried here are founding families, Revolutionary War heroes, Civil War soldiers, and others who have helped shape our town.
One famous grave to visit is the memorial for Francis Davis Millet, a renowned sculptor, painter, and writer who worked out of a studio in East Bridgewater. He was a passenger on the RMS Titanic in 1912 who helped women and children onto lifeboats before calmly returning to a game of cards as the ship sank. His body was later recovered and cremated, and now anyone who wishes can stop by Central Cemetery to pay their respects.
Burials in Bridgewater Today
Many of our friends and neighbors have family members buried in Bridgewater's historic and modern cemeteries, and as funeral directors, we've helped to arrange many of those burials.
There are numerous cemeteries throughout the Bridgewater area, many of which are maintained by the town or protected as historical sites. A few of the older burial grounds still have lots available, like Scotland Cemetery on Pleasant Street, which was founded in 1753. Other active cemeteries include Mount Prospect Cemetery, Raynham South Street Cemetery, and the private Saint Thomas Aquinas Cemetery.
In many cases, families will purchase funeral plots in advance as a way to keep loved ones together even after death. If you don’t already have a plot reserved, deciding where to bury your loved one can feel overwhelming. But you don’t have to make that decision alone. Your funeral director will help you decide on a plot and handle all of the arrangements involved in laying your loved one to rest.
Our Bridgewater and East Bridgewater Funeral Home Locations
Our Bridgewater funeral home has been family-owned and operated since 1860. It became part of Chapman Funerals & Cremations in 2008. Our Prophett Memorial Chapel is named for that founding family, honoring their generations of commitment. We also maintain an East Bridgewater location, originally founded by the town philanthropists Michael and Ellen Roach.
At all of our Massachusetts funeral home locations, we maintain the same focus on care and dignity as we help our friends and neighbors navigate the storm of grief. Call us at (508) 697-4332 to begin planning arrangements for your loved one’s funeral service and final resting place.