Harwich, Massachusetts has come a long way from its founding in in 1694. Once the ports were filled with whaling ships. Now the docks are mostly filled with visitors coming to enjoy the 22 salt and freshwater beaches scattered across the seven villages. Cod fishing was once the heart of the local economy, but now our cranberry bogs and lavender farms are the pride of our town.
Tourists come and go, but many of our year-round residents have family history tracing back for centuries. A visit to any of our community’s old cemeteries will reveal familiar Cape Cod names: Chase, Doane, Eldridge, Lothrop, Nickerson, Snow, and of course many others. From founding colonists to Revolutionary War heroes to musicians and scientists, the people whose lives have shaped our history are memorialized here.
As a Cape Cod funeral home, Chapman Funerals & Cremations is honored to serve Harwich families in their time of need, and to contribute to the legacy of this beautiful and historic place.
Harwich Cemeteries Past and Present
In addition to some historic burial places where plots are no longer available, the Town of Harwich maintains 11 active cemeteries across the seven villages:
- Evergreen Cemetery in East Harwich
- Hawks Nest Cemetery in East Harwich
- Old Methodist Cemetery in East Harwich
- East Harwich (Union) Methodist Cemetery in East Harwich
- Island Pond Cemetery in Harwich Center
- Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Harwich Port
- North Harwich Cemetery in North Harwich
- Kelley Cemetery in North Harwich
- South Harwich Cemetery in South Harwich
- Baptist Church Cemetery in West Harwich
- Pine Grove Cemetery in West Harwich
Many of these are quite old, with a continuous history reaching back into the 1700s. Several historic cemeteries offer walking tours, both guided and self-guided, so visitors can gain a new perspective on local history.
For example, Pine Grove Cemetery on historic Route 28 is the final resting place of many, including founding members of the West Harwich Baptist Church, and entrepreneurs like Caleb Chase and James Solomon Sanborn who founded the popular Chase & Sanborn Coffee Company.
If you stop by to visit, keep an eye out for the newly restored Job Chase, Jr. obelisk, which honors one of our community’s great philanthropists and thirteen generations of Chase family members who still call Harwich home.
When we are helping families plan funerals for their loved ones, one thing we advise is the power of a lasting memorial. Whether you choose burial or cremation, having a permanent place to return and remember is powerful—for your family now, and for future generations who will look back and feel a connection to their history in this community.
The Natural Beauty of a Final Resting Place
The importance of a final resting place has never changed. For hundreds of years, we’ve set aside a sacred, quiet place for the dead to be honored, so loved ones always have a place to remember their loved ones and younger generations can reflect on their history.
But cemeteries have changed with the times, too. Traditional burials have become less common, with more people choosing cremation. Where once rows of upright markers in a bare churchyard were the standard, more modern cemeteries are designed as parks and gardens, serving the dual purpose of nature reserve and quiet place of mourning. Cremation gardens, where ashes can be buried or scattered, have also become more common.
Island Pond Cemetery, established in 1778, has kept up with the changing times by becoming an arboretum, or botanical garden of trees and local flora. There are 18 acres of natural plant life growing among the graves, providing ample shade and places for birds, butterflies, and other local animals to shelter. There are also walking trails in the adjacent conservation area.
Whether you choose to bury your loved one at a park cemetery like Island Pond, a more traditional church graveyard, or scatter their ashes at sea, there are many beautiful and meaningful ways to lay a loved one to rest in Harwich. We can help you with understanding your options and making arrangements for the burial, memorial marker, and other details in your time of need.
Our Harwich Funeral Home Location
Our Harwich funeral home location on 678 Main St Ext. was originally founded as Eaton & Blute Funeral Home, later known as Morris, O’Connor & Blute. It became part of the Chapman Funerals & Cremations family in 2016, but the founders remain involved in the day-to-day operations and their deep relationship with the families who make up their friends and neighbors in the village.
If you have experienced a death in the family or are anticipating a future loss, our team is here for you, as we have been for more than 150 years. Call us at (508) 432-6696 to begin planning a service. We will help you with every detail, from the funeral service to cremation or burial assistance, to ensure your loved one is memorialized with the care and dignity they deserve.