American Legion Post 1 Commander Raymond Peavey Jr. speaks to the participants gathered at the Langley Cemetery during the dedication ceremony on Saturday morning. (Karen Bobotas/for The Laconia Daily Sun)
Resting place of Revolutionary War veteran rededicated
By WARREN D. HUSE, for The Laconia Daily Sun
LACONIA — In a simple yet poignant ceremony Saturday morning, Langley Cemetery on the Weirs Boulevard was rededicated following its restoration and repair.
Representatives of the American Legion and Daughters of the American Revolution conducted the brief exercises at the 200-year-old family burial ground overlooking Paugus Bay from Resort on the Bay, 591 Weirs Boulevard.
Although the cemetery fronts on Weirs Boulevard, most travelers don’t see it, as it is several feet higher than the highway.
The small cemetery is the final resting place of Winthrop Langley, who served in the American Revolution at Great Island in 1775; and at West Point in 1780.
Legion Post No. 1 Commander Raymond C. Peavey Jr. conducted the ceremony, along with a color detail from the Legion post and Adele Bausor, regent of Mary Butler Chapter, DAR.
Bausor and Florence Merrill, DAR chaplain, presented a wreath for Langley’s grave and offered remarks.
Peavey recalled that the graveyard had suffered some disrepair over the years. The Langley cemetery is one of 14 that the Legion Post decorates with flags, each year, he said.
In his remarks, Peavey recalled, “We owe Mr. Langley and his comrades a debt of gratitude that we can never repay. They gave us not only freedom but a free country where the people govern themselves with justice and equality — a new republic which the world had never seen before. It is important that we remember their sacrifices and honor their memory.”
Ending the ceremony, the group recited the Pledge of Allegiance and Ryan Fogg sounded Taps.
Herman Chamberlain, senior vice commander of Post 1 and his wife Brenda, auxiliary president, acted as color bearers.
Rich Tilton, representing the Tilton Family, owners of the property, acknowledged the assistance of two seasonal residents of the Resort on the Bay cottage colony, Robert Kotarba and Robert Travers, both of Dracut, Mass., who had straightened, repaired and painted the railings around the cemetery, along with a general cleanup.
Kotarba is an Army veteran who served at Cu Chi during the Vietnam War.
Tilton expressed appreciation, on behalf of the Tilton Family, for the turnout at the ceremony and for the work that had gone into renovation of the cemetery grounds.
Also recognized was Shawn Dudek, whose No Limits Metalworks, on nearby White Oaks Road, produced new plaques for the cemetery, with graphic design by his wife Casandra.
Frank Merrill, historian of the New Hampshire Veterans Association, represented that organization.
Winthrop Langley came from Newmarket to settle in what was then still part of Gilmanton in 1775.
At that time, there was no Paugus Bay as such, since it was not until 1851 that a dam at Lake Village created today’s body of water by that name. Instead, the Winnipesaukee River meandered through a swampy area, with farmland on the dry portions, between The Weirs and Folsom’s Mills, as Lake Village was then called.
Not only was there no Paugus Bay, there was also no Weirs Boulevard then, the land sloping down from White Oaks Road, first to farmland, then to the swamp and river. The boulevard was not built until 1899, along with extension of the tracks of the Laconia Street Railway to The Weirs. For quite a long time thereafter, the highway was a narrow and primitive dirt road.
Some years after his Revolutionary War service, Langley married Achsah Quimby in 1813.
Back in June 1935, Laconia Post, 1670, V.F.W., installed the fence around the cemetery.
According to an article in The Citizen at the time, “The Veterans of Foreign Wars take a great interest in remembering the graves of departed comrades of all wars and feel it is a disgrace to see a cemetery all covered with brush and stones where our soldier dead are buried.”
The 1935 article noted that the Laconia VFW had recently cleaned up, in the Laconia district alone, “six of these private cemeteries.”
The committee in charge, then, besides the commander Guy Colby included W.D. Kempton, Winfield Pearson, Bill Reister and Custer Sanborn.”
Over the years, the Resort on the Bay had long been known as Prescott’s Bay View Park, owned by John Prescott, who later sold to Robert and Bertha Tilton. Richard and Joanne Tilton took ownership in 1989, adopting the new designation, Resort on the Bay.
(Langley Cove Motel and Cottages is next door, at 563 Weirs Boulevard.)
At the dedication ceremony held at Langley Cemetery on Saturday morning. (Karen Bobotas/for The Laconia Daily Sun)