REPORT ON THE COLEBROOK CEMETERIES
Colebrook has within its boundaries four cemeteries of which the trustees are responsible for three. The fourth is the private Roman Catholic cemetery on South Main Street just north of the Shrine.
The Cemetery Trustees have the responsibility of being the general overseers of the care and maintenance of the three cemeteries. However, in as much as the bulk of the money raised for the maintenance comes from perpetual trusts, the trustees of the Trust Funds of Colebrook are charged by State law with the task of insuring that the trust money is used as the original donors expected it to be.
Village Cemetery: The Village Cemetery is located on U.S. Route 3 at the northern edge of the village. The bulk of the old cemeteries trust funds are dedicated to this cemetery.
Reed Cemetery: The Reed Cemetery is located in East Colebrook at the junction of the Forbes and Reed Roads. With one exception the rules that apply to the burials in the Village Cemetery apply to those of the Reed Cemetery. The exception is that, due to the limited space available for future burials, only those persons with either a strong family connection to the cemetery or own their lots may be buried in that cemetery.
Titus Hill Cemetery: This cemetery is located on Titus Hill Road, east of the village. Since there are no maps associated with this cemetery and no records exist of where the old graves are located, this cemetery, for all practical purposes, is closed to future burials.
St. Brendan’s Cemetery: This is a private cemetery under the control of St. Brendan’s Catholic Church in Colebrook; with the exception that the town annually provides a sum of money to assist in its maintenance. We exercise no jurisdiction over its operation. All trust funds that were previously held by the Trustees pertaining to persons buried in this cemetery were turned over (with State approval) to the St. Brendan Trustees in the early 1980’s.
Cemetery Trust Funds: There are five different types of trust funds relating to the village cemeteries: perpetual care, cleaning of tombstones, flowers, trees and shrubs, and general maintenance.
NOTE: It should be stressed here that the Colebrook Trustees of the Trust Funds are not bound to accept bequeaths from wills or otherwise perform tasks which they feel are not in the best interest of the Town. (e.g. further flower funds.) The Trustees may reject such bequeaths. Consequently, should lawyers or persons drawing up wills call for advice, it is strongly urged that the Trustees advise the person plainly that any bequests against Trustees policy will not be accepted.
Perpetual Care: This is by far the largest number of trust funds held by the Trustees of the Trust Funds. They can be divided into three types:
RESTRICTED: The oldest and largest number of trust funds. These are set up so that the interest is used only for the maintenance of a specified lot.
NON-RESTRICTED: In the early 1980’s the wording of the perpetual care trust funds was changed to allow the excess interest accumulated from each new trust to be used for the care of the cemetery as a whole.
GENERAL TRUSTS: Starting in 1986, by a vote of the townspeople at the Annual Town Meeting, it was decided to do away with specific trusts. Perpetual care funds are now transferred to a general cemetery trust fund, and except for the year that the money was received, the identity of the trust is no longer kept separate. We do, however, keep a name card on file of these trusts for reference purposes.
Cleaning of Stones: There are three trusts that contain within their instructions wording that call for occasional cleaning of the tombstones. These instructions are to be honored as long as adequate funds are available over and above the general care and maintenance of the lots. No further trusts of this nature will be accepted, as the Cemetery Trustees have initiated a cleaning and reclamation program for the complete cemetery.
Flower Funds: Originally there were twenty-four (24) lots for which flower funds had been established. These called for flowers to be placed on the lots each Memorial Day. These requests have been honored as long as funds were available to maintain the lots and purchase the flowers. Only nine (9) remain with sufficient funds. Annually (just before Memorial Day) the Trustees of the Trust Funds will contact one of the local flower shops and contract the placement of the flowers on the respective lots. No further trusts of this nature will be accepted.
(All lot locations are based on Nancy Dodge’s register of cemetery plots and are all located in the Village Cemetery)
Trees and Shrubs: This fund was established by Elizabeth and Nellie Young to beautify the Village Cemetery. It can be used for the purchase of trees and shrubs, perennials, etc little or nothing of the account had been used over the years, and as a result it has grown to considerable size. Presently, approximately $500 is withdrawn each year to trim the hedges and shrubs.
General Maintenance: Frank Leonard left money for the general care and maintenance of the Village Cemetery. The interest of this fund has been used primarily to paint the wrought iron fence.
Tibbett’s Family Trust: These funds are to be used to create and maintain the Tibbett’s Memorial Park, and such other programs that will add to the beauty of the cemetery. The expenditure of these funds is to be determined annually by the Trustees of the Trust Funds in conjunction with the Cemetery Trustees.
New Cemetery Trusts: The purchase price of a new lot includes both the costs of the lot and the perpetual care. It is paid to the Treasurer of the Cemetery Trustees, who then turns it over to the Trustees of the Trust Funds.