The Lady Knox Chapter of the DAR has received a $2,000 grant from the Elsie and William Viles Foundation for work to be done at Tolman Cemetery on Lake Avenue.

Among other purposes of the foundation, which was founded in 1990, is funding “projects that promote and preserve Maine history and culture.” The Viles money brought the chapter to an initial fundraising goal that will allow it to receive $5,000 in matching funds that was previously awarded by the city of Rockland.

Tolman Cemetery is the resting place for 24 men who did service for their new country during the Revolutionary War and 15 veterans of the War of 1812. Family members of these patriots are also interred there. These were the settlers of what was called Blackington Corners, once part of Thomaston, later separated to become part of Rockland. Businesses and farms were begun by the founders of the area. The names of these families are still prominent in the Midcoast: Achorn, Adams, Barrows, Blackington, Brewster, Brown, Calderwood, Dexter, Dinstow, Fales, Gardiner, Gregory, Arrington, Healey, Hosmer, Jennison, Keen, Killsa, Knight, McDougle, Morey, Mosman, Nutt, Packard, Rankin, Remilly, Robbins, Robinson, Shepard, Soule, Spear, Ulmer, Woster (Wooster) and, of course, Tolman.

A local Vietnam-era veteran brought to the chapter’s attention the declining conditions at this cemetery, Rockland’s oldest public burying ground. After a review of the situation and conversations with the city of Rockland, chapter members launched a comprehensive project to restore and preserve headstones at the cemetery. The chapter is serving as agent for necessary repair funds estimated at $20,000.

Many gravestones at Tolman are cracked and broken; others have fallen to the ground and are overgrown with sod. Several of the stones, broken from their bases, are propped up against a tree or at another gravesite. The 1993 listing of the cemetery provided by the Rockland Historical Society,shows that some grave markers are no longer present.

The chapter encourages descendants of those interred at Tolman Cemetery, area historic and veterans' organizations, and all citizens of Midcoast Maine to contribute to the project. Donations may be made to Lady Knox Chapter DAR and mailed to: Treasurer Anne Maurais, 1044 Finntown Road, Warren, ME 04864. Note ‘Tolman Project’ on the check. The Lady Knox Chapter is a 501-c-3 organization. All contributions are tax-deductible and a receipt will be mailed in return.