Portland’s First Stonecutter

On the evening of Wednesday, July 23, lecturer Ron Romano presented original research exploring the life and times of Portland’s first stonecutter, Bartlett Adams (1776-1828), and revealing the scope and impact of his work throughout Cumberland County.

This this highly skilled craftsman trained in Massachusetts and made his way to Portsmouth, NH advertising his skill and a “flock of Italian marble and Quincy slate stone” in his possession.

After his brief time there, he settled in Portland and married Charlotte Neal in 1804. When he set up shop, he immediately offered people in this area a faster and more cost-effective means to purchase gravestone markers. Prior to his arrival, graves were marked with either a found fieldstone or expensive markers ordered from Boston.

Bartlett Adams and his apprentices are attributed with approximately 700 intricately carved stones at Eastern Cemetery, Portland, and hundreds more throughout Cumberland County.

Ron conducts regular historic tours at Portland’s Eastern Cemetery, including a monthly tour dedicated to the work of Bartlett Adams.