Date of Completion


Thesis Type

College of Arts and Science Honors



First Advisor

Dona Brown


Vermont, New England, Cemetery, Culture, Religion, Economy


West Cemetery, a rural burial ground located in Shelburne, Vermont, contains graves dating from approximately 1790 up to the present. My senior honor’s thesis uses the grave markers of one rural Vermont farming family, the Tracys, interred at West Cemetery between the years 1801 and 1891, as a primary source for historical inquiry. Site visits to the cemetery and documentation of the Tracys’ gravestones served as a starting point for researching the history of the family and their place within a rural nineteenth century farming community. Research about the Tracys included accessing genealogical, vital, land and military records, historic maps, census accounts, and family and town histories. The material culture of the headstones was also analyzed in depth and connected to the family’s historical record. This thesis is a historical sketch of how one Vermont family lived, and was buried, during the nineteenth century in a rural farming town, and how their headstones in West Cemetery can act as historical evidence of the cultural attitudes, economic standing and religious beliefs of the community.