By John M. Holman, Contributing Writer

Atlantic News — Thursday, August 14, 1997

The first interment at the High Street in the Hampton High Street Cemetery was that of Charlotte (“Lottie” on the gravestone) Ann Akerman, daughter of Meshech S. and Mary A. (Dow) Akerman. “Lottie” died on December 31, 1858, at age 19 years and 9 months and was buried on January 3, 1859. Engraved on the gravestone are these words, “She is not dead, but sleepeth.”

Meshech S. Akerman, with his family, moved to Hampton from Hampton Falls in March of 1848. He was the railroad station master in Hampton for thirteen years and worked about the station for seventeen years. His wife was Mary A. Dow of North Hampton, who died in Hampton on July 27, 1883 at the age of 69. Mr. Akerman died on October 8, 1866.

The memorial stone, donated by Seacoast Memorials of Portsmouth was set in place by Bill Pray, assisted by Cemetery Superintendent Danny Kenney, and has the words inscribed, designating “Lottie” Akerman as the first interment in the High Street Cemetery, on January 3, 1859.

(Historical footnote from “History of Hampton, N.H., 1638-1892” by Joseph Dow, Volume One, page 332: “Land for the new cemetery, was bought in 1858, by Enoch P. Young, Uri Lamprey and Samuel D. Lane, committee for the town. A portion of it was laid out in 1859, and the remainder in 1866, the fence being extended, to include the whole. In 1868, maple trees were set out on all sides. The western gateway was opened, and the hearse-house built in 1874. The next year, a new hearse was procured, for five hundred dollars; and a hearse for winter use, in 1883.”)

Hampton Cemetery’s First Occupant
Gets A New Memorial

By Jerry Miller, Sunday News Correspondent

New Hampshire Sunday News — August 3, 1997

Lottie's gravestone
Lisa Chick and John Holman

HAMPTON — John Holman never met Charlotte Ann “Lottie” Akerman or any member of her family, but that didn’t keep this self described local history buff from performing an act of kindness. Lottie, the daughter of Meshech and Mary (Dow) Akerman, was the first person buried in the town’s High Street Cemetery following her death at age 19 on Dec. 31, 1858.

The Dows moved to Hampton from Hampton Falls, in March, 1848. Meshech Dow managed the local railroad station for 13 years and died Oct. 8, 1866, while his wife passed away July 27, 1883.

Over the years, Lottie’s marble grave stone has deteriorated badly, making it extremely difficult to read the engraved inscription, which says, “She Is Not Dead, But Sleepeth.”

[Photo at right: MARKING HISTORY — Lisa Chick, manager of “Seacoast Memorials” of Portsmouth, and Hampton historian John Holman stand with the new memorial stone at the grave of “Lottie” Akerman, the first person to be buried in Hampton’s High Street Cemetery. (Jerry Miller Photo)]

“In a few more years and with the help of Mother Nature, it will be impossible to make out any of the words,” said Holman, 69, who is retired after a 34-year career with a grocery chain. (Note: The following year, the Lottie’s gravestone, and other stones of her family, have been cleaned and are now readable.)

Holman, who served from 1970 to 1983 as the curator of the town’s Tuck [Memorial] Museum, said the time had come to pay tribute to Lottie as the first occupant of the cemetery.

“If people don’t choose to remember those who came before us, they will be forgotten … I suppose remembering people like Lottie is really what local history is all about,” said Holman, who has written more than 50 articles about local history for area publications.

Thanks to the efforts of Lisa Chick, manager of Seacoast Memorials of Portsmouth, a memorial stone, worth $300, now sits at the base of Lottie’s grave.

The granite plaque, from Barre, Vt., notes Lottie Akerman as the first interment in the High Street Cemetery, on Jan. 3, 1859.

Chick, a friend of Holman’s said, “He’s wanted to do this for a very, very long time, so we agreed to help. I felt she should have something that would last over time.”

In fact, Holman pursued the idea of a stone for Lottie Akerman for two years, before it became a reality.

“Without a special marker, no one would know Lottie’s significance to the town,” said Holman

The donation was not the first made by Seacoast Memorials and Chick. Several years ago, the company donated a stone which designated a portion of the cemetery as “Babyland,” an area where at least a dozen children are buried.

“They are also a part of this Town’s history and they too should be remembered,” said Holman.

Unearthing History

Hampton Grave Site Story Told

By Donna M. Roveto, Democrat Staff Writer

Foster’s Daily Democrat — Tuesday, July 22, 1997

Lottie Akerman's gravesite before refurbishing
“Lottie” Akerman’s gravesite
before refurbishing.

HAMPTON — People of all walks of life tend to unite when they share a common interest. The recent sailing of the USS Constitution through Marblehead, Mass. illustrates how a nation’s people become captivated with enthusiasm as they watch history in the making.

Closer to home, a grave site at the High Street Cemetery in Hampton recently became the center of attention for John Holman, a local history buff.

[Pictured on left is the grave site of the Hampton High Street cemetery’s first interment, Charlotte “Lottie” Ann Akerman, who was buried on Jan. 3, 1859 at the age of 19 years and 9 months.
(Democrat photo — Roveto)]

Skimming through a passage from an 1893 reprint of “The History of Hampton,” written by Joseph Dow, Holman learned the cemetery’s first grave site belongs to Charlotte “Lottie” Anne Akerman.

Soon after his discovery, Holman mobilized preparations for the installment of a memorial stone for Lottie, as the first interment at the High Street Cemetery.

“I thought that Lottie should have a tribute to her — not just anyone can be buried first,” Holman said.

Dead at the age of 19 years and nine months, Lottie passed away on Dec. 31, 1858 and was buried Jan. 3 of the following year.

Although Lottie was laid to rest more than 100 years ago at the cemetery, she is remembered by the flush-marker at the foot of her original marble gravestone.

After being approached by Holman, Seacoast Memorials in Portsmouth donated the $300 marker.

Lisa Chick, the company’s manager, felt it was vital to uphold Lottie’s remembrance for the generations to come.

“Lottie’s main stone is marble and once it wears away no one would know where she is,” Ms. Chick said. “This is to memorialize it so that she won’t be forgotten.”

Two weeks after Ms. Chick ordered the engraved marker, Hampton resident Bill Pray placed the memorial last Wednesday.

Lottie’s recent recognition parallels Cemetery Superintendent Danny Kenney’s desire to restore the A-section part of the cemetery which includes graves from the 19th and early 20th centuries.

In the past, other volunteer service for the cemetery included Exeter Monument Works, refurbishing 100 grave stones in one week. The market value of each stone restoration is $25, Kenney noted.

“I hope to have the other stones restored in the next few years,” Kenney said, referring to the 1,000 other graves surrounding Lottie’s burial area. [Subsequent to the emplacement of Lottie’s new memorial marker, Chick & Holman have refurbished the stones of the Akerman family.]

Within the town there are nine other cemeteries but the high Street location is the only active burial ground with 13 acres of land remaining for graves.

When the land was first acquired by the town in 1858, officials forecast that in 200 years the cemetery would be completely developed. “We anticipate that by the year 2050 the cemetery will be full,” Kenney said in agreement with the prediction.

Seven-thousand deceased occupy the existing burial ground.