Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday ~ Locke Burial Ground, Rye, New Hampshire

There are five Locke family burial grounds in Rye, New Hampshire.  This one is located on the corner of Locke Road and Old Beach Road, in a triangular shaped lot bordered by old stone walls.  There is a large boulder with a bronze plaque memorializing John Locke along Old Beach Road, and a small opening for pedestrians to enter the burial ground.  Captain John Locke (about 1627 - 1696) is my 9th great grandfather, an original settler in Rye.

According to several notebooks by Louise Tallman on file in the reference section of the Rye Public Library, Captain John Locke and his family, and perhaps a few more generations of Lockes are buried inside this small cemetery.  I had visited this location before to take a photo of the historical markers to Captain John Locke, but I did not know about the burial ground right behind the stone wall. 

After driving around the neighborhood several times,
we parked the little red convertible and peeked over the stone wall.
Yes, it appeared to be a burial ground,
but there were no recognizable tombstones inside. 

Inside the burial ground the graves are marked by simple headstones and footstones made of field-stone
They are not inscribed, and most appear to be broken.

When we visited in June 2013 the graves appeared to be marked with small yellow flags

You can see that the burial ground is small.
I'm standing by the front wall with the memorial and
the back wall is only about thirty feet behind this. 

ABOUT 1640
AUGUST 26, 1696

Please click on these links to read previous blog posts about Captain John Locke:

An Indian Without a Nose   http://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2010/01/indian-without-nose.html

John Locke  http://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2012/07/john-locke-he-cut-off-indians-nose-with.html

This webpage has information about Louise Tallman's surveys of the family burial grounds in Rye:

Copyright 2013, Heather Wilkinson Rojo


  1. Hi Heather,

    The little yellow flags are from the most recent ground penetrating radar survey done by the Locke Family Association. While an earlier survey seemed to indicate that the site was "full", this most recent survey only found graves where we see more obvious fieldstone markers. What is also interesting is that there do appear to be similar markers outside the wall on both sides of the adjoining property's driveway. We did not have permission to survey that property.

    There is a story of people from a shipwreck being buried in/near this graveyard and we have wondered if those folks might be buried in the unmarked area (graves found in the first survey but not the second) or outside the wall near that driveway.

    It is a beautiful site to visit.

    --Rob Locke

    1. Wow! Thanks for the information Rob. I should have asked you first. I'm looking forward to the Locke Family Reunion August 3rd. I just received the last newsletter.

  2. Guess that makes us cousins! He's my 9th great grandfather as well. Had a feeling they'd be a connection somewhere ;)

  3. I notice the plaque was erected in 1934. Someone in the 20th century did some excellent genealogical research to find out the place where he was killed by the Indians. Everybody probably asks you this, but do you suppose he is any relation to the philosopher John Locke whose ideas underlie the Declaration of Independence? Who wrote "An Essay Concerning Human Understanding"? Probably Locke is an English name . . .

  4. No, Capt. John Locke is not connected to the philosopher of the same name, altho Capt. John was English. He lived in the same area of Locke's Neck as did many of his descendants whose houses still remain along the length of Locke Rd. in Rye, NH. You may read about him in Langdon Parsons, History of Rye 1623-1903, available in a number of sources.

  5. thanks for sharing this beautiful post.