An abandoned cemetery off Toad Island Road and Bay Road holds the remains of some of the first founders of Norton, but no one knows exactly who is buried there.
Access to the plots in the Lincoln Cemetery is difficult because the land surrounding it belongs to the state Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, but selectman Bob Kimball thinks it is time to make the cleanup and inventory of the historical area a priority. He suggested Thursday that the board appeal to the state to release the property they own to the town, so that a team of residents, officials and Eagle Scouts can work together jointly to uncover evidence of the town’s forbears.
An additional perk could be some extra cemetery property that could be used by the town, Kimball said.
“There are about 31 acres out there – and a lot of it is wet,” he said. “The main core could be developed into cemetery land.”
Kimball said he had already discussed the possibility of an Eagle Scout project with scout representatives, and said because of the amount of work potentially involved, any effort by the Scouts would have to be part of a larger project.
“It would be a joint venture between Norton and the Scouts,” he said. “We have to get a permit from the state to go over their property.” He added the restoration team would have to include the historical society and the conservation commission. “This would be a big joint venture,” he said.
He said the land might be too wet to be used further as a cemetery, but said without easy access and some investigation, no one will ever know.
The heavy equipment that would have to be brought in to clear land and remove brush would have to travel over state owned land, he said, and it would behoove the town to appeal to the state to release the land to the community.
What the cost would be, he said, would be anybody’s guess, but he hoped it would be reasonable.
He added with the current popularity of cremation instead of burial, more remains can be put in the same spot. New Hampshire, where the Kimball family plot is located, allows cremated remains to be interred with existing graves.
“In a single plot, you can bury eight cremated people on top of someone who is already in there,” he said.
The board will contact the state and ask if the land can be transferred to the town.