Signs of the Times
New signs are popping up around Sutton thanks to the Sutton Historical Society, and their efforts to keep history alive in town. As the finishing touch to the Sutton Center Cemetery Restoration Project begun in 2019 by the Sutton Historical Society Cemetery Restoration Crew, and continuing for three long, labor-intensive years, signage was installed to clearly identify this historic cemetery which is the oldest in Sutton. This cemetery is the final resting place for several of Sutton’s founding settlers/families, Revolutionary War, and Civil War veterans, with most burials occurring during the 1700’s and 1800’s. The last burial was in 1936. The primary aspiration and goal of everyone who participated in the cemetery’s restoration was “to help preserve Sutton’s heritage, to honor those who came before us, and for all generations to cherish and have pride in our community”. This project received generous financial support from the Dudley Gendron Post 414 American Legion, for which we are very grateful, as well as several accolades from the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor Volunteer-in-Parks program.
The custom bracket and sign were designed and manufactured by Bob Rochon, Creative Signworks, and the 10-foot granite post was purchased from Swenson Granite in Shrewsbury. The final installation of the sign was completed in December. This sign is very impressive, clearly identifying this historic cemetery. In addition to the great efforts of Historical Society members, John Belculfine, Dave Pizzi, Brian Stevenson, and Ross Weaver, special recognition is given to Bob Rochon, Jim Smith, Sutton Town Administrator, and Matt Stencel, Manager, Sutton Highway Department, for their support in making this project a success.
A second sign installed in the cemetery on a donated 6-foot granite slab contains a QRcode which directs visitors to a landing page on our website linking them to a map of the cemetery and burial information on Find-a-Grave. The QRcode signs throughout town were made possible by a grant from the Sutton Cultural Council, a local agency, which is supported by the Mass Cultural Council, a state agency, and Historical Society Secretary, Christine Watkins, who designed the signs and added the historical content to our website, suttonhistoricalsocietyinc.org. These QRcode signs are on all six of the historical properties owned and/or maintained by the Society as well as ancillary properties of interest, including the Manchaug Diorama, created by Gene Zabinsky, located in the Manchaug Mills, and the WWI memorial in the vestibule of the Town Hall. These signs allow visitors to complete self-guided tours.
With the completion of the Sutton Center Cemetery, as well as the full restoration of the Dodge Cemetery located on Leland Hill Road, the Restoration Crew is moving on to the Armsby Road Cemetery in the Spring 2023. As a kick off, repairs to the Armsby Road Cemetery sign were made by Society member, Dave Pizzi, which included installation of pressure treated wood posts, vinyl post sleeves and caps, and PVC trim on the back of the sign to make the sign weather and rot resistant.
Finally, thanks to Dan Desjardin, of Dan’s Carpentry, for recent repairs made to the Society’s sign hanging at the M. M. Sherman Blacksmith Shop.
The Sutton Historical Society is a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to preserving the history of Sutton. New members and volunteers of all ages are always welcome. With over 30 cemeteries in town, this Cemetery Restoration Crew is always looking for help. Donations are generously accepted. For more information, visit suttonhistoricalsocietyinc.org or reach out to us at [email protected]