Nevers Tomb

We had driven along this country road in Sweden, Maine, dozens of times, but only now for the first time did we notice a small clearing with a sign, “Nevers Tomb 1837.”    It was getting dark so we didn’t have time for much exploring, but I wrote down the information on the sign and marked the location so I could come back another time.

What I found was this:  Samuel Nevers Jr. was the founder of the town of Sweden, Maine.  He was born in 1766, one of 18 children; his father Samuel Sr. fought in the French and Indian War under the famous commander Robert Rogers (“Roberts Rangers”).

At the age of 17, by then a privateer, Samuel Nevers Jr. was captured at the end of the Revolutionary War by a British warship and spent the next year of his life in forced labor.  He managed to escape when the shipped docked in what today is Manhattan.  He also fought in the War of 1812 and in various fierce battles against the Indians.  He was honorably discharged with the rank of Colonel and given some acreage in what is now the town of Sweden.  He made his way to Maine (which was then part of Massachusetts) and started clearing that land, occasionally traveling to Massachusetts to buy supplies for his property, where he built a log cabin.

On one of these visits to Massachusetts in 1796, he met the love of his life, Esther Trull.  The two were married in Massachusetts but forgoing a honeymoon, they returned by horseback immediately after the ceremony to Sweden.  Amazingly, it is recorded that the young couple raced their horses home in record time, 180 miles in one full day without stopping.  Once back in Sweden, Samuel Nevers began building a stately, elegant home in tribute to his wife, to replace the log cabin of his bachelorhood.  The house still stands today, in very good condition.

Col. Samuel and Esther Nevers home as it stands today (thanks to Christine Morrill, a descendant, for supplying the photos of the house)

The Nevers home as it stands today in Sweden, Maine (thanks to Christine Morrill, a descendant, for supplying the photos of the house).  It was built in tribute to Col. Nevers’ wife Esther, and was considered to be quite luxurious in its day.

Nevers Home at Four corner Sweden, Maine

The mountain views from the home are stunning. All the wood (including the clapboard siding) was logged and milled on site by Col. Nevers.

Meanwhile Nevers was not shy about expressing his love and admiration for his wife, at a time when culturally speaking,  Yankees were not given to overt displays of affection.  He loved her for her adventurous spirit, her hardiness, and of course as the mother of his six sons, three of whom survived into adulthood and some of whose descendants still live in the area today.  Esther preceded him in death by 20 years, and he was consumed by grief, calling her his equal.  In his memoir he wrote that  his wife was his true partner in life and when she died at the age of 71, half of himself was gone.

Nevers Tomb

Nevers Tomb in the Sweden ME woods

The very worn headstone reads,
“Col Samuel Nevers, 1766 – 1857
His Wife Esther Trull 1766 – 1837″

Col. Nevers became a State Representative for Sweden, serving several terms, and was instrumental in the vote for Maine to separate and become an independent state from Massachusetts.  He was also the town’s first surveyor, and built its first roads and bridges; he also built Sweden’s first schoolhouse, church, and meetinghouse, all of which he donated, in addition to a sawmill, which his children later operated as a family business.    He was 91 when he died, survived by his 3 sons,  grandchildren and great-grandchildren, all of whom lived nearby.  He is buried next to his wife at the tomb whose wooded pathway we spotted peeking out from the road.

The church that Col. Nevers built and donated to the town, still in use today.

The church that Col. Nevers built and donated to the town, still in use today.

The Sweden Town Meeting Hall, built and donated by Col. Nevers and still in use today for town meetings & gatherings.

The Sweden Town Meeting Hall, built and donated by Col. Nevers and still in use today for town meetings & gatherings. The sign in front reads “Town of Sweden, Incorporated 1813.”

You can read the memoir of Nevers as written by his grandson William in 1858 by clicking here.

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One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Jeremy on March 22, 2015 at 3:55 am

    Spotted this one also back in 2012 while I was flagging. Registered it with http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=cr&CRid=2386630

    Reply

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