Second Family Cemetery

The design of cemeteries in Shaker communities and among the World’s People evolved throughout the nineteenth century. Most important to the Shakers’ relationship with death was their theological belief that there would not be a resurrection of the dead. Though the Shakers handled death in a more unceremonious way than non-Shakers, the Central Ministry at Mount Lebanon, NY believed strongly that there should be a grave marker for deceased Shaker Brothers and Sisters.

Historically, the Shakers buried their members and marked the graves with individual stone or iron markers which listed the name of the person, the age at their death, and the date of death. As the Shakers moved into the twentieth century many of these individual stones were replaced with one simple monument. One of a few exceptions to this trend is the Second Family Cemetery at Enfield. Today, one will find forty carved marble headstones which represent the uniformity of design and simplicity favored by the Shakers throughout most of the nineteenth century.

The Second Family Cemetery is located about a mile from the Museum near the location of the Shaker Second Family. To get to the cemetery from our parking lot, take a left onto Route 4A heading south. Follow the road for about a mile. This will take you past the location of the Enfield Second Family where two Shaker buildings still stand. Turn left onto Bassy Lane, the Second Family Cemetery will be on the right.