NORRIDGEWOCK — Bad record-keeping in years past has led to a predicament at the town-owned Sunset View Cemetery: Two families have been sold the same burial plot.

“It’s just insane. Nobody looked at the map of the cemetery when they were selling plots,” said Stephen Bishop, who has family members buried there. “Somebody has to take action.”

Bishop first got wind of the problem about a year ago, when he helped his family move the ashes of his brother David, who died as an infant in 1944, from Skowhegan to the cemetery.

While he was there he noticed some changes to the family plot – a new headstone memorializing someone who was not a member of the Bishop family. Beside it was another unfamiliar stone, also memorializing a stranger.

Bishop called a local sexton, who confirmed that the two graves were not for members of the Bishop family.

That was not the only record-keeping mistake at the cemetery, Bishop said.


Bishop said his sister-in-law bought half of the plot in 1997. The following spring his father, Gilbert Bishop, unaware of the existing deed, purchased the entire plot, including the part his sister-in-law had already paid for.

“The point is that’s how screwed up the town records were,” said Bishop. “My father went to buy half the plot even though my sister-in-law already bought it.”

According to property records, Kenneth Field also bought half of the plot in 1988. Two members of the LeMay/Fields families are now buried there. Town officials say they have not been able to get in touch with relatives of the LeMay or Fields families, who are related.

Bishop, 66, first contacted the town about the plot confusion in March 2013. On Aug. 6, the Norridgewock Board of Selectmen approved a plan to offer to move the Bishop family’s remains to a new space at the town’s expense, but he said he hasn’t been contacted about it.

“Personally, I would resist it, but I would have to check with the rest of my family,” he said. “I think they are looking for the easy way out.”

Town Manager Michelle Flewelling attributed the mistake to bad record-keeping.

“At this point I believe we have the pieces in place to prevent this from happening again and have had them in place for quite some time,” she said Thursday.

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