This historic site, on Dover Point Road, is the oldest cemetery in Dover and the final resting place of the first English settlers who established the Dover Colony, the oldest, permanent settlement in New Hampshire and the seventh settlement in the new world.  This burial ground holds the remains of most of Dover’s founders and initial leaders, and many early church Ministers and Deacons. Burials began here in the mid 1600’s and continued for over 300 years until the late twentieth century.  

Unfortunately, a great number of graves were not marked.  According to Dover historian George Wadleigh, “No monuments exist of the dead for the first hundred years after the settlement of the town. The dead of that early period probably were buried without much ceremony.” Of the headstones that were placed, many have been damaged or have been lost.  Although it is hard to tell by looking at the grounds today, there are at least 112 individuals buried in the cemetery.

The first colonists to settle in Dover arrived with Edward Hilton and Robert Thomas in 1623.  The First Settlers Burying Ground was established c.1633 for the use of those colonists and their families.  Also known as Roberts Cemetery, this graveyard was established by Thomas Roberts from a parcel of his land, and many of his descendants are buried here. Thomas Roberts was the last Chief Magistrate and Governor of the Dover Colony before it came under the rule of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.  He was married to Rebecca Hilton.  His grave is the northeast corner of this Burying Ground, and now has a slate stone, which is inscribed as follows:

Thomas Roberts
Born 1600- Died 1674
Pioneer Settler at Dover Point
With Edward Hilton, 1623
Colonial Governor of Dover

This Historic Preservation project and the work of identifying those interred at Dover’s First Settlers Burying Ground was begun by Joanne Gail Nutter Eaton (1959-2021) of Dover, NH. She was a member of the Margery Sullivan Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR), and a certified genealogist. Having found her ancestor, Elder Hatevil Nutter (1603-1675) buried here, Joanne hoped her research might help others locate their ancestors or delight and inform those curious about this historic site. This page is dedicated to her memory.

In 2021 the Margery Sullivan Chapter NSDAR continued Joanne’s research. With careful and persistent work and with the greatest of diligence, eventually 112 burials were identified, which are included in the spreadsheet below.   The spreadsheet identifies the people buried, the dates of their birth and death, if known, any pertinent information about them that would be useful for genealogical research, along with the sources used for identification.  Although we may never be 100% sure who is buried at First Settlers Burying Ground, the Margery Sullivan Chapter has used all the sources available in creating the spreadsheet and are confident in its accuracy.  As more is learned and proven this information may change.

If you believe you have additional information about a burial in this cemetery, please contact Dover Public Library, the Dover Cemetery Board, or the Margery Sullivan Chapter NSDAR.

Click here to download the spreadsheet!

Dover Public Library