Riverside Cemetery

 

Riverside Cemetery (est. 1850)
274 Main Street, Fairhaven, MA
Open daylight hours year round
Cemetery Office telephone: 508-999-7551
Cemetery website: http://riversidecemeteryfairhaven.weebly.com/

The lovely rural or garden-style Riverside Cemetery was created in 1850 by Warren Delano II, the grandfather of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The cemetery, with its winding paths and a wide variety of trees and shrubs, is a favorite place for a quiet walk. Besides examples of early graveyard art, two prominent architectural features are the Delano family tomb, designed by Richard Morris Hunt, and the Henry H. Rogers mausoleum, designed by Charles Brigham. The cemetery is the final resting place of Capt. William H. Whitfield, Capt. Nathaniel Pope, William F. Nye, artists Lemuel D. Eldred and William Bradford and other well known figures from throughout Fairhaven’s history (see links below).

BRIEF HISTORY OF RIVERSIDE CEMETERY

In the 1830s and 1840s New Bedford and Fairhaven were at the height of their prosperity due to the whaling industry. The local population was growing. Fairhaven’s old burial grounds soon would not be able to accommodate the town’s needs, and the plan for the Fairhaven Branch Railroad would require the closure of part of the old burial ground at the south end of William Street in the town center. About this same time, there was a movement to create rural or garden style cemeteries, a style pioneered by Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, MA, which was opened in 1831. The idea was that the burial place be landscaped more naturally as a place to be enjoyed by the living.

Riverside began in the winter of 1846-47, when Warren Delano II, a Fairhaven native, a China trader and the grandfather of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, purchased a parcel of land that had once been part of the farm of Jonathan Nye. The cemetery was laid out and a corporation was formed in March 1850, with Delano’s father, Warren I, serving as its first president. The cemetery was consecrated on Sunday, July 7, 1850. The first burial, that of Miss Mary E. Delano, took place in August. In 1881, the sexton’s home was built at a cost of $1,800 and Delano added more land in 1889. The trustees have since acquired additional property and the cemetery now totals about 44 acres.

Peter Reid, now the superintendent of Riverside Cemetery, is the third generation of his family to serve in that capacity. His grandfather, Hay Reid, came to Fairhaven from the Delano estate on the Hudson River in 1931. Following Hay Reid’s death in 1948, Peter’s father Norman H. Reid took over and cared for the cemetery for about 47 years, retiring at the age of 87. Norman Reid died in 2005 at the age of 96.

NOTABLE BURIAL SITES IN RIVERSIDE CEMETERY 

Click on each name below for photos of grave sites and brief biographies.

ATKINS ADAMS

EVERETT S. ALLEN

RUBY ALLEN & STEPHEN MERRIHEW

JOSEPH BATES SR.

ELI BENCE

WILLIAM BRADFORD

JOHN I. BRYANT

CIVIL WAR MONUMENT

DELANO FAMILY TOMB

LEMUEL D. ELDRED

CHARLES GIFFORD

ELIZABETH I HASTINGS

RHODA AND HENRY HUTTLESTON

AHIRA KELLEY

WILLIAM F. NYE

NATHANIEL POPE

HAY B. REID, NORMAN REID

HENRY H. ROGERS & FAMILY MAUSOLEUM

WALTER SILVEIRA

GEORGE H. TABER

MARY ANN TRIPP & CAPT. LEMUEL C. TRIPP

DR. CHARLES WARREN WHITE

THOMAS W. WHITFIELD

CAPT. WILLIAM H. WHITFIELD

CAPT. ALEXANDER WINSOR

BANCROFT & BEATRICE WINSOR

WALTER P. WINSOR

 

The Office of Tourism has produced an 8-page guide with a map, which is available at the Fairhaven Visitors Center. Several guided Riverside Cemetery Walking Tours are given each year between May and October.

A brochure and map for self-guided walks is available to download as a PDF here: Riverside Brochure.

Note: Parking is allowed on the roads inside the cemetery, however two or three car lengths must be left open directly inside the gate. There are no public restrooms in the cemetery.

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