Grave Matters: Understanding Life and Death in a Rural Nineteenth Century Vermont Community by Studying a Family Interred at a Country Cemetery
Date of Completion
College of Arts and Science Honors
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.
White, Sophia E., "Grave Matters: Understanding Life and Death in a Rural Nineteenth Century Vermont Community by Studying a Family Interred at a Country Cemetery" (2017). UVM College of Arts and Sciences College Honors Theses. 43.
Available for download on Tuesday, May 11, 2027