2019 Final Work Day Resets Historic Stone
OPPV had its first work day in Old Parish Cemetery on April 9, 2018, since that time our Work Day volunteers have literally uncovered Norwood history. On that day in 2018, our volunteers unearthed a small old stone on top of the hill which had lain face down for an unknown number of years. That stone marked the grave of Azubah Gay, daughter of Timothy and Azubah Gay. Little Azubah died on December 3, 1741. She was 3 years, 6 months, and 3 days old when she died in 1741.
Old Parish Volunteers cleaned and reset young Azubah’s stone on November 2, 2019, 277 years and 11 months after her death.
In 1741 Parishioner Ebenezer Woodward granted to the South Parish free of charge three quarters of an acre of land, at a place called Sandy Hill, to be “used as a Burying Place forever.” Thus far, Azubah’s stone is the oldest artifact found in our cemetery. Old Parish Volunteers are caring for this "burying place forever".
Azubah Gay stone prior to resetting
Azubah Gay stone reset 277 years after her death.
Rev. Thomas Balch Footstone Restored
We had a productive and historic day at our Old Parish Cemetery as we restored the long missing foot stone to Rev. Thomas Balch's gravesite. The footstone had been in safekeeping at Highland Cemetery for many years and was recently discovered in the attic in the Administration building there. Cemetery Supervisor, Paul Ranalli, hauled it down for our volunteers to reset in its rightful place atop the hill at Old Parish Cemetery. Rev. Thomas Balch was the first pastor in south parish of Dedham, that church today is known as Norwood's First Congregational Church. Appropriately, Barbara Brierly and Irene Ingemi, parishioners in the church today were on hand to see the footstone reset.
Brierly and Ingemi at the Balch headstone. The restored footstone can be seen behind them.
Rev. Thomas Balch footstone prior to resetting.
International Visitors Help OPPV
Old Parish Preservation Volunteers were joined by two international visitors during the Nov. 2, 2019, Work Day. Shirin Pantoja Caldita (Phillipines)and Shwe Mar (Myanmar) are visiting Norwood as part of the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative(YSEALI). This is the U.S. government’s signature program to strengthen leadership development and networking in Southeast Asia. Through a variety of programs and engagements. The YSEALI Professional Fellows Program provides emerging leaders the opportunity to spend five weeks in the United States, including four weeks working directly with American counterparts in individually tailored work placements with relevant private and/or public sector organizations.
Old Parish volunteer, Sue Bartlett, invited Shwe and Shirin to accompany her and the other volunteers in cleaning and resetting gravestones for our last Work Day of 2019.