Tag Archives: Massachusetts

Copp’s Hill Burying Ground

Copp’s Hill Burying Ground which is in the North End of Boston, Massachusetts, is named after shoemaker William Copp from whom the town purchased the land. Located on a hill, it overlooks the harbour and the banks of the Charles River, and because of its height, the British used this vantage point to train their cannons on Charlestown during the Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775. The epitaph on Captain Daniel Malcolm’s tombstone at Copp’s Hill is riddled with the marks of British bullets.

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As Boston’s second oldest burying ground, it contains more than 1200 marked graves and 272 tombs, and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. Most of the stone markers were placed before 1825. The quality of the engravings depended on the skill of the carver and the budget of the person buying the memorial stone. In 1838 new walking paths were installed and the gravestones were arranged in rows. Consequently, many of the gravestones no longer mark the location of their owner’s grave.

O my Friends remember that the Lord giveth
& taketh away, & blessed be the name of the 
Lord. O my Husband & Children, dry up 
your tears, & remember that you must all follow 
me sooner or later, where we must all lie till Christ 
our Saviour bids us arise; for thy will must be done. Amen

80% of the gravestones have a Death’s Head carving used as a symbol of death and mortality since medieval times. Winged skulls evolved during the 18th century and reflected the Puritan religious influence.

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Winged effigies were common in the latter part of the 18th century.

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The urn is a classical symbol for death and the weeping willow is associated with mourning. These two images which are found together became popular during the American Revolution.

Example of the Urn-and-Willow Design
Example of the Urn-and-Willow Design

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Heraldic symbols and coats of arms are also found on headstones within the grounds. The tomb of William Clark, seen here, was later taken by Samuel Winslow, who had his name carved on the gravestone.

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Here Lyes The Mortal Part/ Of / William Clark Esq. The legend is almost illegible describing Clark as An Honorable Counsellor for the Province, and A Despiser of Sorry Persons and Little Actions.

Central Burying Ground

Boston, MA, USA

This cemetery is an open flat ground in the center of the city also known as Boston Common Burying Ground. It is located on Boylston Street between Tremont Street and Charles Street.

Source: Wikimedia
Source: Wikimedia

The town purchased the land for a cemetery in 1756 to alleviate overcrowding at King’s Chapel, Copp’s Hill and Granary Burying Grounds. Brick and stone tombs which were built on the Boylston Street side beginning in 1793 are still in evidence. The earliest burials were likely those of foreigners (early Roman Catholic immigrants) who died in Boston. During the American Revolution, the British dead from the Battle of Bunker Hill, and soldiers who died of disease, were buried in a trench on the northwest corner of the burying ground. Many poor people and young children are also buried here.

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Hail sweet repose now shall we rest
No more with sickness be distressed
Here from all sorrow find release
Our souls shall dwell in endless peace. 1789

In 1826 the cemetery was closed and no new burials were permitted until 1836. That same year, a corner piece of land was reclaimed to connect Boylston Street with Tremont Street. It would become known as the Boylston Street Mall (a walkway lined with trees on both sides). The displaced remains were entombed in a series of vaults known as The Dell. Graves that were not claimed were buried under the walkway.

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidberkowitz/3078646570/in/photostream/
Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidberkowitz/3078646570/in/photostream/

No flat ring marble rules the traveler here
The spot is sacred to affections tear
He was in life what artful men pretend
Companion, parent, neighbor, Christian friend. 1802

When construction of the Tremont Street subway under Boylston Street was begun in 1894, the remains of about 910 people were unearthed. These remains were re-interred in a mass grave in 1895 in the northwest part of the grounds. A slate tablet with three boundary stones marks the spot.

Source:
Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/25897810@N00/3078646808/

Here Were Interred / The Remains Of Persons / Found Under The Boyston Street Mall / During The Digging Of The Subway / 1895

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Erased

These gravestones have been wiped clean due to weather erosion, or from damage. A life once lived, now even the words of memorium are erased from the stone…

St. Nicholas Church, Dalkeith,  Midlothian, Scotland
St. Nicholas Church, Dalkeith, Midlothian, Scotland

Meek and gentle was her spirit
Prudence did her life adorn
Modest she disclaimed all merit
Tell me am not I forlorn
Yet I must and will resign her
She’s in better hands than mine
But I hope again to join her
In the realms of love divine.

St. Nicholas Church, Dalkeith,  Midlothian, Scotland
St. Nicholas Church, Dalkeith, Midlothian, Scotland

Of such is the kingdom of Heaven
Often I stood as you stand now
To view the dead as you do me
Ere long, and you shall lie as low
And others stand and look on thee.

St. Nicholas Church, Dalkeith,  Midlothian, Scotland
St. Nicholas Church, Dalkeith, Midlothian, Scotland

Tho’ lost to sight
To memory clear.

St. Nicholas Church, Dalkeith,  Midlothian, Scotland
St. Nicholas Church, Dalkeith, Midlothian, Scotland

Tis but a little tear is shed
For one to mem’ry dear
The tribute of my childhood days
Is but a little tear.

Lasswade Cemetery, Lasswade, Midlothian, Scotland
Lasswade Cemetery, Lasswade, Midlothian, Scotland

As you were, you will always be
Treasured forever in our memory.

Copps Hill,  Boston, MA, USA
Copps Hill, Boston, MA, USA

Come near my friends and cast and eye
Then go your way, prepare to die,
Learn your doom, and know you must
One day like me be turned to dust. 1876

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