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Question #1

Dear Association of New Brunswick Cemeteries,


I’m a cemetery historian and gravestone researcher from Portland Maine.  A few years back I “discovered” an unusual form of gravestone, produced only from the 1830s to 1880s.  They usually consist of large oblong marble slabs elevated off the ground on granite posts. Many variations exist, but that’s the basic form.  Because they reminded me of those large oblong highway or roadway signs, I named them “Billboard Monuments,” and that name has seemed to become the accepted one among US taphophiles.  After identifying 38 in Maine, I wrote a book about them…then 4 more were discovered as a result of the book.  After criss-crossing the northern New England states a few times last year I found 4 in New Hampshire and 27 in Vermont.  With 3 in western Massachusetts, it brings the regional total to 76.  


So I’m writing to see if you recall ever seeing any of these in New Brunswick’s old cemeteries, or if you have a newsletter or website that we might put out a brief description that describes them and asks if anyone’s seen them in New Brunswick?  With easy border crossings in the 1800s and the itinerant nature of many stone-cutters and marble workers, I’m hopeful that some Maine makers headed to Canada and made a few of these while there.


As a result of the Vermont and New Hampshire monuments, I wrote a Volume 2.  I’m hoping to find enough others to produce a third volume — so if there are any in Atlantic Canada I’d love to include them.  (I’m similarly reaching out to the other provinces of Atlantic Canada to search).


To help you visualize these rare monuments, here are a few photos, and the covers of the two volumes.  I’ve written and presented on these monuments quite extensively here in the states and happy to provide other documents or photos if you’d like to see them.


Many thanks for reading this, and hopefully we’ll identify a billboard monument (or more!) in NB…


Ron Romano

Curious Gravestones in Northern New England (2022)

Billboard Monuments of Maine (2020)

Portland’s Historic Eastern Cemetery (2017)

Early Gravestones in Southern Maine (2016)


Photos are: 

  • covers of both volumes (the monument shown on volume 1 is in the Penobscot River Valley - near Bangor Maine — and the other one is in Irasburg Vermont, quite close to the Canadian border).

  • The large white marble billboard with the scalloped top and masons symbols is over 7 feet long and weighs 450 pounds.  Located in Yarmouth Maine

  • The one with the granite capstone is one of a dozen found only in the northeast of Vermont — most likely from one shop or a small group of stonecutters who created this unique design

  • the one with the large chunky granite posts is inscribed on two sides and found in Livermore Falls, Maine

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The purpose of this new page is to help people who have  questions to do with cemeteries. If you can help them please respond to them using their Email . 


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