EAST DIXFIELD — Since October, when the Sun Journal published a story about an East Dixfield man finding a long-lost cemetery on Canton Mountain, people have been contacting Nelson Coolidge to tell him his ancestor was a Minuteman.

Canton Mountain Cemetery, or The Burying Place, as Coolidge’s ancestors called it, is believed to be the final resting place of Simon Coolidge, Nelson’s sixth great-grandfather, who was the first settler in Canton and Jay in the late 1700s.

Nelson, 69, lives on Severy Hill Road off Route 17 with his wife, Beverly. In October, he told the Sun Journal he saw the cemetery years ago while hunting on the mountain with his father. They could see the graves’ indentations in the ground.

Nelson said he would like to see the 20- by 30-foot cemetery cleaned out and restored to what it was when it was in an open field instead of overgrown with woods. And now that he’s learned Simon Coolidge was a Minuteman who fought in the American Revolution in Cambridge, Mass., it’s even more important to him.

Beverly Coolidge said recently by email that, after reading the Oct. 13 story, American Legion representative Don Simoneau of Fayette wrote them, stating that Simon Coolidge was a guard at Cambridge and a Minuteman.

“We are getting some great information,” she said. “We have had some wonderful info given to us because of the article.”


Simoneau said on Dec. 20 that Gail Slade of East Livermore and the Livermore/Livermore Falls Historical Society tracked down the information for Simoneau. She said Simon junior’s parents were Simon Coolidge senior and Abia Sanderson.

Simon Coolidge Jr., Slade said, served as a private in Capt. Samuel Barnard’s company in Col. Thomas Gardner’s regiment, which marched on the alarm of April 19, 1775 — the first battle of the Revolutionary War fought in Massachusetts.

Records show that Coolidge Jr. served two days at that time.

Simon Jr.’s nephew, Joseph Coolidge, served under Col. Gamaliel Bradford in the 14th Regiment of the Continental Army in 1780.

Raised in Boston on Sept. 16, 1776, the 14th Regiment saw action at the Battle of Saratoga and the Battle of Monmouth.

Beverly Coolidge said she and her husband also learned that an ancestor of Simon senior and junior, John Coolidge, fought in the King Philip’s War and received a land grant.


Nelson Coolidge was also contacted by Ray Hamilton of Canton, the director of The Ancient Ones, a 17th-century reenactment group that portrays life in Colonial America.

“They want to buy a grave marker and have a ceremony to honor the American Revolution veteran,” Beverly Coolidge said.

She and Nelson Coolidge have also been asked to take a friend up to the cemetery to record its GPS coordinates.

Simoneau said he was happy to help provide Nelson Coolidge with information about his veteran ancestor and would love to visit the long-lost Canton Mountain Cemetery, where Simon Coolidge is likely buried.

“I’m tickled to death they found it,” Simoneau said of the cemetery. “I just wish my wheelchair had four-wheel drive, because I’d love to go up there.”


Comments are no longer available on this story