Haverhill Accepts Family Gift and Takes Back Maintenance of Old Bradford Burial Ground

Bradford Burial Ground. [Photograph by Magicpiano (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Magicpiano) Creative Commons.]

A $15,000 gift to the city will help ensure the Old Bradford Burial Ground receives some needed repair work and continue to be maintained.

The cemetery, at 326 Salem St., dates back to 1665 and has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 2015. The property has been maintained by descendants of the Tenney family for the past several years.

The Tenney Family Association, now of Laguna Hills, Calif., requested the city of Haverhill take over those responsibilities. Councilor Thomas J. Sullivan explained Tuesday night.

“They want to donate $15,000 which will go into an account with the city, similar to what we have for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Mill Brook Park. That money will be used to maintain and restore monuments as well as do any kind of tree work and perhaps some landscaping improvements,” he said.

Many of the headstones are no longer legible, the Association reports, while others are buried or leaning. Tenney family members expressed hope that work would be completed first.

The cemetery was established by the first settlers of Bradford, which eventually became a part of Haverhill in 1897.

At least 700 people are buried in the cemetery including at least 15 veterans of King Phillip’s War; veterans of the Revolutionary War, including some who fought at the Battle of Bunker Hill; at least four Civil War combatants; and soldiers from the War of 1812.

Councilors voted unanimously to allow the mayor to accept the gift and the city to take over future responsibility for the site.

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