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In 1820 the Trustees of Bowdoin College deeded this land to Pine Grove’s first proprietors—Robert Eastman, Nahum Houghton, and Abner Bourne Thompson. It consisted of two acres and was given with the stipulation that the College could take back the land if it were not used as a cemetery. In 1825 the land was selectively cleared. Before 1820, Brunswick’s most significant cemetery was the Old First Parish Church Burying Ground—located next to the meeting house on 12 Rod Road (now Maine Street). When the Church moved closer to downtown Brunswick, a new cemetery was needed. After Pine Grove was laid out, the remains of the first two presidents of Bowdoin College, Joseph McKeen and Jesse Appleton, were moved to Pine Grove from the old cemetery.
The earliest grave has a date of 1794 and there are over 2,491 marker stones. In 1886 and 1973 two adjoining lots were purchased and developed. As a condition of each sale, Bowdoin College was deeded a row of plots to allocate as they wished. They were usually allotted to individuals and families who had given distinguished service to the College. The remaining lots were made available to local citizens. In 2014 another area of the cemetery was laid out and 40 new lots added.
Among the persons buried here are a Congressional Medal of Honor Civil War hero, a pioneer in forensic medicine, Maine’s most famous botanist, parents of a First Lady, two Maine governors, many presidents and professors of Bowdoin College (including the “Father of American Mineralogy”), Revolutionary and Civil War veterans, a former slave, sea captains, inventors, and many other interesting Brunswick residents.