The Over-back Cemetery

“Historical Cemetery, East of Carr’s Pond Road, 36 burials with 0 inscriptions, On Macera’s place (the old Straight Farm). The Straight cemetery is all fieldstones. The Spencers buried 4 people on the west side of this cemetery. … Henry Straight’s family and others are buried here…”
–database cemetery description–


When Middle Road came through, the Spencers discontinued the use of the Straight Cemetery and began a new burial plot, 1383 feet to the north, down by the new road. Thereafter, the Straight Cemetery was called the Over-back Cemetery as it was over the stone wall and to the back of this newer Spencer family cemetery on Middle Road.  “Over-back describes a location that is some unspecified distance away in a direction toward the rear of a property”.

From memory and from Violet Kettelle’s book, Rural Roads, Audrey Mae (nee Spencer) MacDonald, in 1992, sketched and wrote the following information.


Audrey Mae (nee Spencer) MacDonald’s sketch of the four Spencer burials in the Straight (aka Over-back) cemetery

The Spencers were buried on the west end of yard, next to the west wall, and heads facing west.  As a child, Audrey (1912-2007) remembered the Over-back cemetery was also called the Straight cemetery, but she did not know anything about the Straight family.  Oral tradition had kept the Spencer family descendents aware of the father (William) and the eldest son (Richard) dying of small pox in October of 1777 while the second son (John) was fighting in the American Revolution. The wife, Mary (nee Manchester) and mother buried her husband and son in the Straight cemetery and then wrote to General Washington, Commander-in-chief, to send her second son home to run the farm.  He refused saying all men were needed in the war.  She then sold some land to pay Samuel Davis to take her son’s place in Col. Greene’s Regiment.


@1918: Audrey Mae Spencer and her uncle, Alfred E. “Ern” Spencer

Audrey remembered her father and uncle often going to inspect the Over-back cemetery.   Audrey’s husband, Milton MacDonald, would mow the land in the new Spencer family cemetery on Middle Road while his father-in-law, William J.B. and his brother Alfred E. (aka uncle Ern) would walk a short distance south from the Spencer family cemetery and then jump over the stonewall to inspect the Over-back cemetery. To illustrate how important this cemetery was to the Spencer brothers, William J.B. brought his grandson, Spencer MacDonald, to see the Over-back cemetery when Spencer was a young teen.



@1916: Audrey Mae Spencer and an older childhood friend, A. Rathbun

Audrey knew the Over-back cemetery was straight back from the Miller house on Carr’s Pond Road where Elsie Miller–a childhood friend of Audrey–lived.  The land is now called Macara’s place because Elsie Miller married into the Macera line.  Therefore, the above Straight cemetery location on Macera’s place is really Miller’s place.  Elsie Miller’s family farm–now called Macera’s place– was to the west of the Spencer farm. Audrey and Elsie went to the same grammar school.  Elsie would walk down from Carr’s Pond Road to the Spencer homestead on Middle Road and meet Audrey and they would walk to school together.  Audrey believed that by this time in history–the beginning of the 21st century–the Miller descendents (aka Macera) were still living on the Miller farm land on Carr’s Pond Road .

Another description of the location of the Over-back cemetery was “where the valley narrows”.  We could not figure out what that meant and Audrey’s parents, William J.B. and Mary (nee Vaughn) Spencer, were gone by the time we were discussing this, so we had no one to ask.