Paying my respects to John Stickney

On a recent trip to the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts with my wife for our third wedding anniversary, I took advantage of being in South Hadley to visit to the relocated Old Burial Ground at the Evergreen Cemetery. Having rushed in preparing for a few genealogical stops on this trip, I didn’t know what the layout of the cemetery was, or where my ancestor’s headstone was in relation to the entrance.

Upon entering the cemetery, I noticed that there were many historic headstones mixed with more recent headstones throughout, so I determined I would have to look at each one in the hopes of finding the right one. After about 20 minutes or so, I thought I would check Find-a-Grave for a picture of the headstone so I would have a better idea of what I was looking for. After doing that, and noting the stones and trees in the background of the posted image, I knew it had to be on the edges.

It was about this time that I noticed over a hill an area that was set aside from everything else with a marker on a large boulder at the entrance of this hallowed ground. Sure enough, this was the relocated old burial ground. After another 20 minutes of seemingly looking at each row twice, and on the verge of giving up since it was hot and my wife and dog were patiently waiting for me on a bench at the entrance of the cemetery, I took a look at one row one last time, and that’s when I saw what I had hoped to find:


I have written about John Stickney, my 6th great grandfather, previously HERE and about the Stickney family more generally HERE. Suffice it to say that he was a pretty incredible man. A veteran and a musician who spent a lifetime teaching others the joys of music. His wife Elizabeth, my 6th great grandmother, was a singer with a beautiful, powerful voice and “travelled with him from place to place” and taught music with him.

South Hadley is a beautiful town with a reinvigorated downtown, and a center for learning right there as well in Mt Holyoke College. After visiting the cemetery, Jena and I drove to the summit of My Holyoke. As I looked at the absolutely stunning 360° view, I couldn’t help but think that John and Elizabeth, along with their son Caleb and other children, took the same hike and looked out over the same areas.

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