Sunday, May 4, 2008

Old cemetery poses grave dilemma for buyers of Vt. farm

Thanks to my colleague Norman Stein for pointing me to this case of cemetery law.  From the AP story:

The 130-acre property was exactly what Michel Guite and his family wanted: an old Vermont farm with mountain views, rolling hills and meadows.

There was, however, one wrinkle: The property included a small family cemetery — with the grave of a War of 1812 veteran — surrounded by a fence on a scenic knoll. ...

"I've got nothing against any of those people," he said. "I'm only going to buy this if a judge says `This is now your land, it's your private property, you're allowed to do whatever you want with it. We hope you look after it well, God bless you for it, and nobody has any right to go on your property than they have to go on every other Vermont farm's property.'"


Guite wants to move three graves that he said are registered with the town, those of War of 1812 veteran Noah Aldrich II, who died Jan. 15, 1848 at age 61; and Aldrich's two grandchildren, who died within a day of each other in 1850 during a flu epidemic.

More on these issues in my paper on "grave matters: the ancient rights of the graveyard."

Alfred Brophy

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