Biddeford Cemetery Scavenger Hunt
A history hunt for all ages! You can do this hunt at ANY cemetery - but we have included some Biddeford-specific bonus questions at the end (from our larger, more accessible cemeteries for those who wish to really explore).
*This hunt prints great from your browser if you want to do it on paper!
*We've also provided a PDF of this for download at (
) and scroll down to CEMETERY SCAVENGER HUNT.*
*Please remember to be respectful as you explore Biddeford's cemeteries, and make yourself aware of the particular rules and regulations at each individual cemetery that you visit.*
VETERANS - There are many veterans in our cemeteries. Some have American flags (but not all), some have special markers, and some have information about their service carved into their headstones. Are there more from one conflict or war than others?
Civil War veteran
World War II veteran
Vietnam War veteran
Bonus! Can you spot someone who served during the Spanish-American War, World War I, or Korean War?
Most (but not all) headstones for Civil War soldiers who died in battle look like this [a small rectangular stone with a sheild outline containing the name and unit of the soldier].
WOMEN SERVED TOO - Though they weren't always allowed to leave home to serve during conflict, women found ways to do their part. Can you find a woman who was a member of an Ladies Auxiliary or Women's Corps? How about combat nurses?
[Image of an iron cross marker for Maine Department, Woman's Relief Corps, Corps 34.]
Bonus! Find a woman who was honored for serving her community some other way
MEMORIALS - Many cemeteries contain memorials to specific groups or events. Look for a flag pole, tall monument, or notice a special path that leads you there. There may be benches or space for quiet reflection there.
Find a war memorial or veteran's memorial
Find a church memorial or religious group memorial
MEMBERS ONLY - In the 19th and early 20th centuries lots of people joined clubs and were very proud of their memberships! You can see many club memberships represented on headstones and in markers.
[Image showing symbols for both the Freemasons and Odd Fellows clubs carved into a headstone.]
Find a headstone of someone who belonged to a club
Find a grave marker for a club
Bonus! Find someone who was a member of mulitple clubs - what's the most number of clubs you've seen on one headstone?
FAMILY MATTERS - In some cemeteries there are large gated family plots, and in others more simple raised areas with steps carved with family names. Some of these plots are full of stones, some are almost empty. Other families are all carved onto a single large stone, or a large monument surrounded by smaller stones.
Find a family plot that has gates around it
Find a family plot that is raised up high and has steps leading up to it
Find a family plot that has stones for MOTHER and FATHER (in any language)
Find a family plot that has more than one parent (either multiple wives or husbands).
Find a family with a parent born in a different country (Ireland, Denmark, Canada, Turkey, Albania)
An example of a mixed family headstone found at Greenwood cemetery.
VARIETY - Headstones come in every shape and size, from the tiny 5x7 placard to the gigantic stone tomb. Popular styles during different eras help you see how a cemetery grew - it can also show you when a stone may be a replacement done at a much later time.
Find a bunch of very large, rectangular headstones - are they from the same time period?
Find a headstone in an unusual color, if you can - is it old or new?
Find an intricately carved headstone - is it old or new?
Find a glossy, polished headstone, or one with a photograph in it - is it old or new?
BONUS SECTION! EXPLORING BIDDEFORD BY CEMETERY:
WOODLAWN CEMETERY (Elm and West Streets)
Find the Hon. George Thacher and family. Thacher was a member of the 1st U.S. Congress. (hint: close to the entry gate)
Find Samuel Peirson and family. Son George built the Octagon House on Hill Street (hint: it's close to Thacher)
Find the Grand Army of the Republic Veterans memorial (hint: look for the flagpole)
Find the Muslim section of the cemetery (hint: it is near the woods)
ST. MARY'S CEMETERY (Elm Street)
Find the Priests Cross monument (hint: look for the tall celtic cross)
How many people who were born in Ireland can you find? Which counties in Ireland?
There are as many French names as Irish names here - are the oldest stones Irish or French?
Find the small burial area that is most exclusively eastern European names (hint: it is in the back corner)
Walk along the rear of the cemetery and to the south to see the newer sections. Are these different from the older graves?
ST. DEMETRIOS CEMETERY (Cole Road)
Find a gravestone written in a language other than English
Find the oldest headstones here (hint: the cemetery is Biddeford's youngest, established in 1915)
Find a headstone with ornate animal carvings on it
Find a headstone for a soldier who died during World War II
GREENWOOD CEMETERY (Cole Road, Elm and Alfred Streets)
Find the row of large family plots overlooking Alfred Street
Find some unusually shaped family plots (hint: they are on the back side of the Alfred Street plots)
Find the curving former lanes of Greenwood cemetery and walk along them to see the many group plots hilled above
Continue to walk the perimeter of Greenwood to see the oldest headstones and family groups - Cleaves, Tarbox, Goldthwaite, Emery, Hooper, Mason
ST. JOSEPH'S CEMETERY (West Street)
Find a gravestone or memorial stone written in a language other than English
Find the Dr. George Precourt tomb (hint: it is a white marble structure near the front of the cemetery)
Find the St. Andre's Parish memorial (hint: it is a white statue in the same area as Dr. Precourt's tomb)
Find the unique pine grove of bench-looking memorials (hint: it's in the back)
Find the memorial to the Soeurs du Bon-Pasteur de Quebec [nuns] (hint: it's behind the large wooden building out back)
~YOU HAVE NOW FINISHED THE SCAVENGER HUNT!~
Thanks for participating in our first local history scavenger hunt! Feel free to let us know what you thought of it below. (Include your name and email address if you want us to get back to you about anything.)
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