The Straight 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–

Henry Straight was born about (Abt) 1652 and died 6-4-1728.  He and Hannah were married 2-13-1676 by Justice John Heath.  Hannah died 1757.

Violet E. Kettelle’s book The Rural Roads in East Greenwich In the Teens and Twenties of 1900 Their Farms and Owners With Some History, from pages 60 and 61:


Violet E. Kettelle, (Feb.21,1905-June 4, 2004), Spencer historian

“…Henry Straight did not build near the road but a long distance south from the road.  His barn was near his house. His burial ground is nearer west side, east of the Macera farm (former Bill Miller’s in the teens). It was at the west end of a swale.  All graves were marked by fieldstones.  In recent years someone has dug into some of the graves. Henry Straight died in 1727 and his wife in 1757.  E.A.B. (1835-1929) recalled when she was a very small child, some people coming from Providence with a box and corpse to bury in that cemetery over 100 years after Henry died.”


“William Spencer (1723-1777) and wife Mary Manchester (1719-1784) were buried at the west end of the Straight cemetery.  Also daughter Elizabeth who died of scarlet fever and son Richard of smallpox.  E.A.B. (Esther Amanda Briggs, a Spencer) left a diagram showing the location of their graves.  Heads of the graves faced westward.”


Esther Amanda Briggs’ diagram showing the location of the four Spencer graves

Violet Kettelle’s book was typed by Lisa MacDonald in the 1980’s. The book illustrator was Beverly Conde.


Esther Amanda (Spencer) Briggs (1835-1929), local historian and known as “Aunt Mandy” by the Spencer descendents, wrote the following of the Spencer burials in the Straight Cemetery on page 40 of her notebook:


Esther Amanda Briggs’ notebook, page 40, of the 4 Spencer burials in the Straight cemetery


Audrey Mae (née Spencer) MacDonald sketched the following.  By the mid 19th century, the Straight cemetery was referred to as the Over-back Cemetery because it was over the stonewall  and to the back of the newer burial ground, the Spencer family cemetery down by Middle Road.  This newer burial ground became known as the East Greenwich Historical Cemetery No. 9 because it was the 9th historical cemetery to be recorded in East Greenwich, Rhode Island.

As a child, Audrey remembered the Over-back cemetery was also called the Straight Cemetery, but she could not remember ever being told–or asking–about the Straight name or family.


From memory and from facts in Violet Kettelle’s book, Audrey (nee Spencer) MacDonald, in 1992, sketched as well as described the oral history passed down through many generations.