If Walnut Grove Cemetery was consecrated in 1844, why do the Danvers vital records say some of my ancestors who died well before that (for example Nathaniel Putnam who died in 1800) are buried there (G.R. 11)? Was there an older cemetery that was incorporated into Walnut Grove?
It is not very uncommon for a family to remove burials from another family lot, and rebury them in a new cemetery location. This often occurs when a family plot was purchased in the 19th century. An example of this I found with the Evergreen Cemetery in Stoughton, Massachusetts when I transcribed it. There was a gravestone dated 1799, and this cemetery was not laid out until 1857. Also the name and date on a gravestone may in fact be a cenotaph. A cenotaph essentially memorializes an individual when they are not buried there. To my knowledge there was not an older cemetery pre-dating 1844 at the Walnut Grove Cemetery location.