The old Luce Cemetery on the shore of Noman’s Land is at risk of being washed into the sea, and some of the graves may need to be moved farther inland, a representative from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said this week.


Two bids came in over the amount appropriated by voters last spring. The town selectmen said this week they will now take steps to replace only part of the fence.

History is hidden all over the Vineyard. Forgotten gravesites still turn up in backyards. Graves are often discovered when homeowners embark on renovations, or casually turn over a stone that’s always been on the property, finding on the other side a small record of a life once lived.



When John Alley was a kid, his Uncle Fred would pay him to mow the lawn at the West Tisbury cemetery. One day, just as he was leaning over between two headstones, he felt a hand on his shoulder. Young John headed for the hills.

“That was it! I lost the lawnmower and ran,” remembered Mr. Alley, thinking one of his silent friends had come back from the dead. Turns out it was just Prudy Whiting letting young John know that her father’s sheep were on the loose.


Basil Welch

Abel’s Hill cemetery is a place where people who like to keep tabs on their neighbors can do just that — for eternity, as they rest among them. From the gravestones off South Road in Chilmark you can hear the hum of cars speeding down-Island to the grocery store or up for a day at the beach. From the plot nearest the road, on tiptoe, you can just see who is in those cars. It’s a quiet cemetery, but graceful.


Hidden under scrub oak, among beer bottles, rusty lobster pots and piles of clam shells is a cemetery of forgotten souls. Only a few stones still remain, one which marks the death of young man who died at sea and was buried here along the Lagoon Pond marsh.