Clay Pit Cemetery

The Clay Pit Cemetery, also known as Claypit, is lies between the Pawtucket Boulevard and Varnum Ave in Lowell’s Pawtucketville neighborhood. To better fix its location, the cemetery is east of the new Market Basket, north of the bowling alley (once Brunswick Lanes), west of Townsend Ave, and south of Varnum Ave. The earliest known burial occurred in 1715 and burials continued into the 1860s. It is thought that about 25 individuals are interred there including several African Americans and a number of military veterans.

For many years, Clay Pit Cemetery was thought to be owned by the town of Dracut even though it is located in Lowell. There is another colonial-era cemetery in Pawtucketville that is owned by the town of Dracut and all of Pawtucketville was part of the town of Dracut before the state legislature annexed it to Lowell in 1874. But Clay Pit Cemetery is not owned by Dracut, at least according to the land records on file at the registry of deeds. While more research is needed to make a definitive statement of current ownership, it seems likely that the cemetery is owned by a number of descendants of the Coburn family (even if they aren’t yet aware of that).

Recently, I’ve been assisting the newly formed Friends of Clay Pit Cemetery which has among its goals increasing public knowledge of the cemetery. Yesterday I had a chance to visit Clay Pit and took the photos below.

The entrance to Clay Pit Cemetery is right next to the new Pawtucketville Market Basket. These two reserved parking spaces are in the MB lot, on the downriver side of Marshalls.

This view is from the back of the cemetery looking towards the Market Basket building.

The future site of a Cambodian temple is on the south side of the cemetery. Beyond the trees is the bowling alley and beyond that is Pawtucket Boulevard and the Rourke Bridge

All of the remaining headstones in the cemetery have been broken off and lay flat.

Chip Hamblett and Rodney Elliott for Friends of Clay Pit Cemetery raise a new American flag over the cemetery which is the burial place of several Revolutionary War veterans.

For more information about the Friends of Clay Pit Cemetery, visit the group’s Facebook page.

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