Mt. Pleasant Cemetary- Part Two

Joy Hollowell

Updated 2 years ago

It’s believed there are at least 50,000 lots in Mt. Pleasant Cemetery in Bangor.A number of them have been neglected, simply because of time.A group of Catholic parishioners is making it their mission to restore the cemetery.They have identified 2,000 headstones that are in need of some TLC.This small but dedicated group of volunteers is doing its best to preserve the past.=====John Frawley knows just about every inch of ground at Mt. Pleasant cemetery. “Now you can see probably there’s somebody buried here because you can tell that the ground is settled. But we don’t even know whether there was a stone here or not,” says Frawley.For the better part of 15 years, he and a handful of other Catholic Church parishioners have been restoring headstones at the Bangor burial ground. They’re known as the Cemetery Angels.”There’s really four of us right now that have been fairly active,” says Frawley. “That’s the most we’ve ever had. For a long time, it was just two of us (smiles)”Frawley is the former city engineer for Bangor. That expertise and an “in” with some local excavators has led to dozens of grave markers being placed back in their rightful positions.”Well, these two stones here were the first two large stones that we reset with equipment,” says Frawley. “And that was quite a job.”In the older section, many of the headstones are cracked and knocked over. Some are nearly covered by years of dirt.Frawley took us to what at first glance looked like a grove of trees. But as we got closer, you could see headstones hidden among the pine trees.”Over the years, this became sort of a forgotten area,” says Frawley. “These trees have since grown in. It’s amazing to me how they could bring these stones down here, some of them weighing well over a ton, and erect them on these steep slopes.”Frawley says no one is to blame for the neglect. In most cases, descendants have long moved away. Others became lost in the family tree. Money for the restorations comes from donations to the church. The cemetery angels also hold fund raisers throughout the year. Frawley says the work can be downright grueling at times, but he knows it’s not just a stone they are refurbishing, it’s eternal dignity.”They all have a message,” says Frawley. “And some of them, messages of tragedy and others are maybe message of hope, if they had a big family, a prosperous family, you can only imagine a lot of it, and it’s really a big part of Bangor’s early history.”====Anyone interested in helping the Cemetery Angels with their restoration work can contact St. John’s Catholic Church in Bangor. That number is 217-6740.


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