The Blackinton Cemetery located on Massachusetts Avenue is one of the oldest known burial grounds in North Adams. It was originally a 100-acre farm owned by Deacon Otis Blackinton. He was the father of Sanford Blackinton, whose mills served as the heart of the Blackinton community in the nineteenth century. Most of the headstones in the Blackinton Cemetery are made up of crude fieldstone markers or marble, and many have suffered from weather and neglect.
The earliest known death date is said to be from all the way back to 1788, yet there are no more specifics on this gravestone. One of the original settlers of North Adams, Jeremiah Wilbur, is buried in the Blackinton Cemetery. The earliest death date with more specifics on the stone dates back to March 30, 1813.
Many of those who rest in the cemetery were brought to the village of Blackinton by Sanford Blackinton, the wealthy mill owner. Many of those who worked in the Blackinton Woolen Mill were “Yankees,” with a few Scottish, Irish, English and Welsh. Although these families were not much in number originally, Sanford Blackinton made his way over to Europe, specifically Wales, and recruited Welsh families in need of jobs and brought them back to North Adams to work at his mill.
After some time, word of these job opportunities spread and more Welsh families migrated to North Adams. The families and descendants of those recruitment workers from Wales now make up many of those whom are buried in Blackinton Cemetery.
By the 1960’s most family members of the deceased had moved away from North Adams. This made it harder to maintain the cemetery. In October, 1960, the cemetery had become so overgrown that 40 North Adams citizens started a committee that would speak about and organize what needed to be done in order to keep up with maintenance of the cemetery. These members consisted of Daniel C Barton, chairman, Hurbert Rudman, Stewart H. Lamon and Mrs. Stackpoole.
In recent years, the problem of maintaining the hilly and overgrown grave sites has resurfaced, and the City of North Adams has agreed to mow the cemetery. Headstones are now being cleaned and straightened by volunteers.