The couple building this home in Southwest Harbor is being asked by the town to restore access to a cemetery that dates back more than 170 years. ISLANDER PHOTO BY MARK GOOD

Cemetery access is promised

SOUTHWEST HARBOR — The couple building a new home on the Fernald Point Road are being asked to restore the access road to a historic cemetery that runs through their property.

Town Manager and code enforcement officer Don Lagrange said he is sending a letter to H. Lee Judd and Ann Judd asking them to provide a new description of the easement and restore the gravel road to the Gilley Burying Ground. If the couple fails to comply, the town could begin enforcement actions.

“They did exactly what I told them not to do,” Lagrange said.

On Wednesday, Ann Judd said that soil has been put over the gravel road base and grass has been seeded. “Pins” have been put up to keep vehicles from using the road while the grass grows, she said.

Judd maintains they are in compliance.

There are two issues, Lagrange said.

First, a circular driveway was installed that didn’t follow the straight path of the easement to the graveyard. Lagrange said he is asking the Judds to develop a new description of the easement that takes the new configuration into account. As a result, town crews that maintain the cemetery or visitors must use the Judd’s driveway to access the burial ground.

Secondly, the remainder of the gravel access road has been covered with soil, thereby preventing vehicles from getting to the cemetery, Lagrange said. The Judds are being asked to restore the roadway.

“If someone wants to drive down there today they can do it,” Judd said. “We’ve never blocked access. We’re just asking people to be respectful while we’re trying to grow grass.”

Judd said she spoke with Lagrange about the issue on Tuesday but wanted to wait until she received his letter before commenting about specifics.

Wilbert Terry, who lives near the cemetery, said he became concerned after noticing that access had been blocked.

“My wife’s great-great-grandfather is buried there,” he said.

Terry said he has a copy of the deed for the cemetery which clearly marks the roadway, which he claims is 22-feet wide. He and his wife brought the matter to the attention of town officials.

According to research by the Mount Desert Island Historical Society, the Gilley Burying Ground is on a 100-acre parcel that William Gilley owned in 1808. There are about 40 marked graves and numerous unmarked graves. The earliest death recorded on a marker is 1843. One of the graves is that of a Civil War veteran.

Mark Good

Mark Good

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Mark Good

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