Following document was transcribed by Bob Kipke, October 2002. This softcover book, 6" x 9", 32 pages, 6 B&W plates, was found and purchased in San Diego, California, October 2002.
This document was transcribed as closely as possible to remain true to format (including capitalization & punctuation), spelling, and page numbering. Due to the spelling conventions of a different era, "Spell Check" could not be used, and each page had to be checked manually. Also, please note the extensive use of hyphenation.
--- NOT FOR COMMERICAL USE---
COPP's HILL BURYING GROUND
Ye ANCIENT EPITAPHS
Hull Street, Boston
Hull Street Entrance, Copp's Hill Burying Ground
COPP'S HILL BURYING GROUND
BY JOHN NORTON
Hull St., Boston
Fifteenth Edition, 1919
HISTORY OF COPP'S HILL
In early days the well-to-do of Boston dwelt largely in the North End, a very pleasant and convenient part of the peninsula. Until the time, just succeeding the Revolution, the North End retained its social prominence; then the notables and fashionables began to leave it. It was quite natural, therefore, in accordance with the custom of the time, that the town should early provide a burying-ground in this comparatively well settled section. In 1659 there was bought a lot of land on the summit of Copp's Hill, which formed the nucleus of the present ground. (Suffolk Deed, lib. 53, fol. 153)
Copp's Hill was an eminently suitable spot for the purpose. Although lower than Beacon Hill and Fort Hill, it was scarcely less commanding and seemed equally a topographical feature. The rectangular plateau on the summit easily lent itself to burial needs. Wood, among the first travellers to record his impressions of Boston, says in his "New England Prospect" (London, 1634); "On th eNorth side is another Hill, equall in bignesse (to Fort Hill), whereon stands a Winde-mill."
This was the first windmill erected in the colony. These old windmills, in the days when corn was legal tender, were useful servants to the community and were a feature of the landscape. Winthrop records a mill built on Windmill Point in 1636, and three others were put up by 1650. After Boston had become a city, the two last surviving windmills still stood on Windmill Point. On July 31, 1643, the town granted Henry Simons, John Button and others all the land between the Town Cove and the marshes beyond, on condition that they erect "one or more corne mills, and maynteyne the same forever." The "south" and "north" mills were accordingly constructed on the shore of the Mill Pond, and others gradually followed, including later a sawmill and a chocolate mill.
During the first century of its existence the ground was called the North burying ground, this name giving way to that of the hill itself. On the hill, in turn, three names were successively bestowed.
At first it was generally known as the Mill Hill, and the entire district about the hill was also known as the "Mylne field" or "Mill-field," being frequently so named in grants and conveyances of land. The early settlers in Watertown had there built a windmill; and Governor Winthrop notes in his
diary that on August 14, 1632, "the windmill was brought downe to Boston, because (where it stoode neere Newtown) it would not grind but with a westerly winde." It was set up on the summit of Copps' Hill, where for years it ground corn for the settlers and served as a landmark to skippers working into the harbor. The windmill also gave its name to "ye Myline Field."
As the old windmill thus lost its uniqueness, the name it had given the north hill also lost its hold, being supplanted by that of "Snow Hill." This title is now kept only in Snowhill street near by. The name may be due to the drifts that successive northeasters left piled upon the hill late into the spring, but is more probably derived from a certain Snow Hill street in London.
In its turn this second name gave way to Copp's Hill, so called after William Copp, who from about the time of the settlement owned and dwelt upon a half-acre lot on the southeast corner, near Prince street. The possessions of William Copp, who was a worthy shoemaker and an elder in Dr. Mather's Church, as set forth in the Boston Book of Possessions, were "One house & lott of halfe an Acre in the Mill northeast: the marsh on the southwest: & the River on the Northwest." The date of this change in name is not precisely known. Some of the maps made at the time of the Revolution have the name Copp's Hill attached to that part of the hill northwest of Snowhill street, where Copp dwelt.
The present aspect of Copp's Hill and its surrounding differs considerably from that of the early days. Like the other two hills, Copp's Hill was quite bare, there being scarcely a tree on the peninsula. Dr. Snow, in history of Boston, gives following description of the hill as it appeared in the early days: "The hill at the north, rising to the height of about fifty feet above the sea, presented then on its north-west brow an abrupt declivity, long after known as Copp's Hill steeps. Its summit, almost level extended between Prince and Charter streets towards Christ Church; thence south a gentle slope led to the water, which washed the south side of Prince street below, and the north side above Thacher street as far as Salem; eastward from the church, a gradual ascent led to the North Battery, which was considered the bottom of the hill. Southeasterly the slope was still more gradual, and terminated at the foot of North Square, leaving a knoll on the right, where at present stands the meeting-house of the Second Church."
"On the southerly slope of this hill," says Dr. Shurtleff in his "Topographical Description of Boston," "was Stanley's pasture, extending to Hanover street, and covering the large tract of land lying between Prince and Charter streets, the
westerly end of Bennet street at its junction with Salem street being the centre of the lot." The owner, a tailor, who died in March, 1646, deserves to be remembered as the first person to bequeath the town property for the support of public schools, one of the items of his will reading, "I give to the maintenance of the free schools of Boston a parcell of land lying neere to the waterside & foure roads in length backward."
In the early days, Copp's Hill and the land around its base were formed almost into an island by the two coves running up into the peninsula -- Mill Cove or Pond, or North Cove, as it was first called, on the north, and Town Cove on the south. The North Cove stretched over to the point extending northwest from the Tramount, or Beacon Hill, and high tides often swept over the intervening lowlands. The Town Cove, on the other side, reached inland almost to the foot of Brattle street.
At the foot of the headland was a small stretch of beach, where Commercial street (formerly Lynn street) now runs, the material for the street being taken from the summit of the hill, where Snowhill street was cut across.
Three of the half-dozen points then prominent in the shore were grouped in the Copp's Hill promontory. Where the gasometer now stands, Windmill, later Wheeler's Point, projected. At the junction of Charter and Commercial streets was "Ye Mylen Point," so called in 1635, and later known as Hudson's Point, whence Francis Hudson, the fisherman who became a ferry-man, ran his ferry to Charlestown and Chelsea. Merry's Point, whereon the famous North Battery was built, was situated between the Winnisimmet Ferry and Battery Wharf, and was so called after Walter Merry, the firt Boston shipwright, who there built his wharf a few years after the settlement.
Around these points gradually grew up a considerable ship-wrighting industry, many grants to "wharf out" being recorded by 1660. Most notable of the shipyards was that of Joshua Gee, as prominent a ship-builder in his day as later was "Billy" Gray. In 1698 Governor Bellomont said that Boston owned 194 good ships, or more than were possessed by all Scotland and Ireland.
A great change in the surroundings of Copp's Hill was inaugurated by the chartering on March 9, 1804, of the Boston Mill Corporation, successors to Simons, Button, and others, for the purpose of filling up the Mill Pond. After 25 years' work, an area of 70 acres was thus added to the town. Beacon Hill was mainly resorted to for filling, but beginning with 1806 earth was also taken during several years from Copp's Hill, lowering its height about seven feet.
At the northeastern base of the hill dwelt Boston's first colored colony, then called "New Guinea." Inland, as far as the
neck crossed by the Mill Creek, ran the quaint, garden-fringed streets of Old North End, the good end of the town. It was then of limited area, containing, according to Shurtleff, but 680 houses at the beginning of its social decay at the end of the Revolution, and measuring but 803 yards in length and 726 yards in breadth. From this territory, during a century and a half, came most of the tenants of Copp's Hill.
The burying-ground itself comprises four successively acquired parcels of land, and is the largest in the city proper, the total area aggregating 88,800 square feet, or about two streets, the exact boundaries being as follows: on the north-east, about 314 feet by Charter street; on the north-west, about 324 feet by Snowhill street, above which the burying ground rises twenty feet, being supported by a granite wall; on the southwest, about 330 feet by Hull street; on the northeast about 120 feet by Marshall place and about 127 feet by private property; and on the southeast, about 123 feet by private property and the Hull-street Primary School.
The land for the North Burying-Ground was purchased of John Baker and Daniel Turell, and in 1735 the transaction is recorded as follows, under date of February 20, 1659, in the Suffolk Deeds, lib. 53, fol. 153; "John Baker and Daniel Turell, sell to the Selectmen of Boston, a lot of land, 294 feet on the northerly side, 252 feet on the southerly side; in breadth on the easterly end 126 feet. Butting on the way that leadeth from the new meeting-house in Boston towards Charlestown Ferry, the land of John Baker and Daniel Turell, easterly; and on the way that leadeth from Senter haven to Charlestown Ferry, westerly."
The North Burying-Ground is thus second in point of time to King's Chapel, although the Granary is practically contemporaneous with it. Concerning the piece of land that had been bought, the town passed the following order November 5, 1660: "Itt is ordered that the old burying place shall bee wholly deserted for some convenient season, and the new places appointed for burying onely be make use of." The only entrance at the time was from Charter street until the next addition was made, forty years later.
By the beginning of the eighteenth century, enlargement had become necessary, but, as was usual with the town burying -grounds, was effected only with difficulty and when it could no longer be postponed by overcrowding the existing space. The town had voted for enlargement some time before it was accomplished, appointing a committee which seems rather to have neglected its duty. It was discharged and another appointed, consisting of Hon. Thomas Hutchinson, Timothy Thornton,
and Edward Martyn, by whom the necessary land was promptly purchased, January 7, 1708. It was sold to the town by Judge Samuel Sewall and his wife Hannah, and formed a corresponding section to the old ground on the southwest, fronting on Hull street. It was part of the pasture which Mrs. Sewall had inherited from her father, John Hull, master of the mint. The deed is dated December 17, 1711 (Suffolk Deeds, lib. 26, fol. 97). The tract thus added was nearly square in shape and on three sides was bounded by streets. It was included in the old North Burying-Ground. The principal path on the east hill, east of the tool house and parallel to Charter street, follows approximately the boundary separating the Sewall purchase from the original burying-ground.
The tract long known as the New North Burying-Ground, and now called simply the Small Ground, was added by purchase in 1809. The deed is recorded as follows under date of December 18, 1909: "For $10,000, Benjamin Weld, and his wife Nabby, sold to the Town of Boston a parcel of land, bounded south-west on Hull street 148 feet; north-west on the burying-ground, 148 feet and 6 inches; north-east on land of Goodwin and others, 153 feet; south-east on land of Jonathan Merry, 123 feet; being land conveyed to Weld by Merry, October 21, 1809, recorded lib. 230, fol. 191."
This lot also is nearly square, and somewhat less than one-half the size of the old yard. It comprised part of Jonathan Merry's pasture, Merry selling it to Mr. Weld, who disposed of it to the town. It was long known as the New North Burying-Ground, and is now called the Small Ground.
In 1814 Hon. Charles Wells, later mayor of Boston, built 52 tombs around the sides of this enclosure, and in 1827 Edward Bell built 15 more on the site of the gun-house of the Columbian artillery. The new ground was laid out symmetrically in tiers and several bodies were interred in each grave. The first internment was that of John Richardson, July 6, 1810, who had been drowned a few days before.
Again, in 1819, Hon. Charles Wells became the owner of a small tract, usually called the Charter-Street Burying-Ground, between the old and new grounds and Marshall place and fronting on Charter street. The purchase is recorded as follows in Suffolk Deeds, lib. 262, fol. 296; "June 3, 1819, John Bishop, of Medford, sold to Charles Wells, for $1,051.30, land in Charter street, bounded north-east on said street 20 feet; north-easterly on the burying-ground 20 feet wide; then continuing 50 feet more, 28 feet wide; south-west 28 feet on land formerly of Dr. Wm. Clark, but now a burying-ground; then south-east 50 feet, 28 feet wide, then continuing 70 feet more, 20 feet wide, on land formerly owned by William Fowle;
being the land which Stephen Gorham, as administrator of Nathaniel Holmes, sold to said Bishop, December 14, 1791, recorded lib. 184, fol. 59."
This small lot Mr. Wells had fenced in, and upon it, with the consent of the town, he erected 34 tombs. The intervening fence was later removed, and the yard became part of the old cemetery.
In 1832 a final purchase was made by Mr. Jacob Hall and others of a strip of land adjoining the northwestern side of the old burying-ground, which was given the title of "Hull-Street Cemetery." In 1853 this section was discontinued, and the bodies it contained removed to Mt. Hope in February, 1861. This strip was on the present site of the gasometer and contained several rows of tombs. The proprietors at the same time relinquished certain rights of way to that part of Snow-hill street, from Hull to Charter street, which had been merely a private foot-passage, and the City agreed to maintain here a public walk 33 feet wide.
A similar private burying-ground of much more ancient date and of smaller extent is still kept intact in the very centre of the cemetery. Judge Sewall and his wife, on January 7, 1708, sold to Joshua Gee, the noted ship-builder, a small portion of their pasture "one rodd square, in consideration of two and thirty shillings paid them, being part of their pasture adjoining to the north burying-place, in which parcel of ground Mrs. Mary Thacher now lyeth buried; bounded northerly by the said burying-ground and on all other sides by the land of the said Samuel and Hannah Sewall, with no right of way except through the old burying-place.: Mr. Gree bought it at the urging of his wife, who did not care to be buried among the common multitude. The only restriction was that he should maintain one-half the fence. The Mrs. Thacher who lay buried therein was the wife of Judah Thacher of Yarmouth, and had died November 30, 1708, aged 68. Her gravestone is standing in the northeast corner of the little plot.
This enclosure later became the property of Deacon Moses Grant, one of the leaders of the Boston Tea Party. It is yet held in the family, being in possession of the heirs of the late Moses Grant, the temperance lecturer, and contains the remains of three generation. The spot is still private property, quite exempt from control of the burying-ground authorities.
By 1840 burials on Copp's Hill had become comparatively infrequent, and there was no further need of expansion. Beside the changes during 180 years, there were minor alterations in the appearance of the burying-ground.
When Snowhill street was cut through the edge of the old bluff and extended northerly to Charter street it encountered a row of old tombs, having a walk leading from end to end, with
COTTON MATHER TOMB (See page 12.)
steps at each extremity. The entrances to these tombs and the tablets thereon were transferred within the fence. About 1837 the whole western slope beyond Snowhill street was dug away and the existing heavy granite wall erected to protect the burying-ground.
During the period from the Revolution to 1830 the burying-ground began to be neglected, until on May 27, 1833, the city appropriated $50 for the purchase of trees to ornament the grounds. To-day there are almost 200 trees in the ground. New walks were laid out in 1838, and many stones were then or since removed or altered in position with the same mistaken efforts at symmetry that have been remarked in the case of King's Chap Ground.
By 1878 the hill had again fallen into decay, and become subject to all kinds of depredations.
Two hundred and twenty-seven tombs are contained within the burying-ground. Two of the number belong to the City, one for adults near Charter street, and one for children near Hull street, built in June, 1833. Nearby is a large tomb, set aside about 1840 for mariners. The oldest tombs were built in 1717, shortly after the Sewall purchase, and front on Hull street. In 1722 a new range of tombs, running north, was started at the southeast corner on Hull street. The selectmen's records down to 1806 contain numerous grants of permission to erect tombs, almost invariably with the provision that "the brick wall thereof be carried up so as to be a sufficient fence." In 1805 were constructed the tombs on Snowhill street, and in 1807 those fronting on Charter street. We have already recorded the later erection of tombs in 1814, 1819, 1827, and 1832. The latter date practically ends the growth of the burying-ground.
During the century to 1760, it is estimated that one-fourth the population of the town was buried on Copp's Hill. The decaying stones form a rude epitome of most of the North End's history.
That part of the ground near Snowhill street was at first reserved for slaves and freedmen. The remainder contains generations of the old North Enders, some of them famous in local history, other simple folk who have left merely a name.
The date of the first interment is unknown, although probably occurring around 1660, and there is some doubt as to the identity of the oldest stone. Apparently it is that erected to the memory of Grace Berry, wife of Thomas Berry, who according to the inscription, died May 17, 1625, or five years before Boston was settled. The stone is of old Welsh slate, well preserved and with the carving quite distinct; the edges are ornamented with curves and at the top are carved two cherubs and the angel
of death. There is also cut a shield, without quartering of arms. The marks of British bullets are visible, this stone, like many others on the hill, having been a target for the British soldiers during the siege of Boston.
It has generally been held that the true date on the Grace Berry stone is 1695, a boyish freak of Mr. George Darracott having led him to change the figure 9 with his jack-knife into the figure 2; in the same fashion the date on the stone of John Thwing in King's Chapel Ground was altered from 1690 to 1620. In like manner the dates upon the stones of John White and of Joanna, the six-months-old daughter of William and Anne Copp, has been altered to 1625, and that of Abigail Everden's death to 1626. Like vandalism is evident in the old Charles-town burying-ground.
There is little likelihood that the trouble would be taken, in the early days of perilous travelling, to transport the remains of a person of no particular note over the long journey from Plymouth to Boston, and at a date 35 years after interment. Beyond this, moreover, the fact is that Grace Berry, who was the daughter of Major John Jayman, a rope-maker, was living in the flesh with her husband, Thomas Berry, in their house near the Ship Tavern, at the junction of Ship (North) and Clark streets, very many years after her reputed death in 1625.
The oldest stone, accordingly, is one bearing the date 1661, which was found buried beneath the surface in 1878. It stands near the Shaw monument, and preserves the memory of the grandchildren of William Copp in the following inscription:
DAVID SON TO DAVID
COPP & OBEDIENCE HIS
WIFE AGED 2 WEEKS
DYED DEC 22
THOMAS, SON TO DAVID
COPP & OBEDIENCE HIS WIFE
AGED 2 YEARS & 3 QUARTERS
DYED JULY YE 25
Near the centre of the yard is erected the stone commemorating the Kind children, long supposed the oldest stone, but really second in point of age by some six months. It was dug up in the 40's by Mr. Glidden, and reads:
DIED YE 15 OF AUGUST
AGED ABOUT 1 YEAR DYED
YE 14 OF FEBRUARY
THE CHILDREN OF ARTHUR AND JANE KIND
William Copp, who gave his name to the hill, is buried in this ground, but no stone to his memory is now extant, and not much is known of him. In his will, dated October 31, 1662, and proved April 27, 1670, made after he had become "sick and
weak," he terms himself a cordwainer, or shoemaker, by trade, and leaves his property to his wife "Goodeth," of Judith. The inventory shows property of the respectable sum for those days of almost £110, including houses, outhouses, orchard, garden and land, to the value of £80.
The stone erected in memory of his wife Judith may be found in the northern part of the yard, between the Shaw monument and the Grant tomb. It is small in size, and extends but a few inches above the ground.
Many of the name of Copp were buried here. Beside that of little Joanna Copp, however, and the two grandchildren mentioned above, only eight stones still remain. David Copp was the most notable member of the family. He was an elder in Cotton Mather's Church, and of considerable prominence in the Cotton Mather's Church, and of considerable prominence in the North End, dwelling in a brick house at the head of Hull street. He died November 20, 1713, aged 78. Amy, his second wife, died November 28, 1718, at the age of 82. The stone is left standing to record the name of his first wife, who was Obedience Topliff. At his funeral Judge Sewall notes that there was present a distinguished company, with "a pretty many Men, but few Women."
The Colony record show that William Copp was made a freedman on June 2, 1641, and David on October 11, 1670. The other children of William Copp are recorded as follows: Jonathan, born August 23, 1640; Rebecca, May 6, 1641, and Ruth, September 24, 1643. In later days the Copp family removed to Connecticut.
A long list might be made of the tenants of Copp's Hill who possess claim to mention, as being at least of local note --- divines, scholars, and patriots.
Doubtless the most famous tomb in the ground is that near the Charter-street gate, containing the remains of the Mathers, Increase, Cotton and Samuel -- the "Mather dynasty," comprising three generations of divines. The tomb is of brick, plainly built, and is surrounded by iron railings. A great slab of brown stone forms the lid, in which are set two squares of slate, of different dates. On the more ancient, in almost illegible lettering, is carved the following inscription:
THE REVEREND DOCTORS
& SAMUEL MATHER
were intered in this Vault.
Tis the Tomb of our Father's
MATHER -- CROCKERS
I DIED Augt 27th 1723 Æ 84
C DIED FEB 13th 1727 Æ 65
S DIED June 27th 1785 Æ 79
Here lie together the three eminent figures in Boston's ecclesiastical history between 1664 and the Revolution, men of great general learning, of emphatic temperament and of remarkable influence in the affairs of the age. Their history needs no recounting. They were buried with great solemnity. Six of the leading ministers formed Cotton Mather's pallbearers, while in the funeral procession walked the public dignitaries. The narrow streets were thronged, and the "windows were filled with sorrowful spectators all the way to the burying-place."
Many of the numerous descendants of the Mathers also rest in this tomb. Cotton Mather, for instance, had fifteen children by the first two of his three wives. When the tomb was last opened sixteen years ago, for the interment of one of the Crocker family, the remains of generations of the family were found heaped in great disorder.
The Hutchinson tomb, in the southeast corner, was built about 1711. Here were buried Elisha and Thomas Hutchinson, father and grandfather of the governor. Thomas Hutchinson, who died December 31, 1789, built at his own expense the first school-house in the North End. On the sandstone slap covering the entrance of the tomb is beautifully carved the family coat of arms. Thomas Lewis purchased the tomb and the name of Lewis is engraved on this slab.
Another notable stone is that commemorating the patriot, Capt. Daniel Malcom. It is of hard blue slate, well preserved, and bears the following inscription:
Here lies buried in a
Stone Grave 10 feet deep
CAPT. DANIEL MALCOM MERCHT.
who departed this life
Aged 44 years.
a true son of Liberty
a Friend to the Publick
an Enemy to oppression
and one of the foremost
in opposing the Revenue Acts
The above is referred to in O.W. Holmes' "Grandmother's Story of Bunker Hill."
"You may bang the dirt and welcome, they're as safe as Dan'l Malcolm Ten foot beneath the gravestone that you've splintered with your balls."
The stone grave, however, is built of brick.
Malcom was a merchant, and his store on Fleet street was a favorite resort of the haters of the revenue acts. He was also a warden of Christ Church and vice-president of the Charitable
MALCOLM TOMB. (See page 12.)
Irish Society. In February, 1768, aided by friends armed with clubs, he smuggled in at night a cargo of sixty casks of wine from a vessel anchored five miles down the harbor. A little later he presided over a meeting of business men, at which it was resolved to import no more English goods, except those needed for the fisheries, for a year and a half. Some months afterward he was one of the leaders in the mob which resisted the seizure of John Hancock's sloop "Liberty" by the boats of the British frigate "Romney." He was decidedly obnoxious to the King's officers, and six years after his death the British soldiers made his tombstone a particular target, the bullet marks being very conspicuous.
In the northwestern part of the ground is the stone of Capt. Thomas Lake, bearing the following inscription:
Aged 61 Yeeres
An EmineNet Faithfvll
ServaN of God & One
Of a Publick Spirit Was
Perfidovsly Slain By
ye Indians At Kennibeck
Avgvst ye 14th 1676
HERE Interred HE 13
Of March Following
The story runs that the deep slit cut into the stone was filled with melted bullets taken from his body. The knives of relic hunters, however, have left no vestige of the lead.
Captain Lake was a man of fortune, being one of the earliest proprietors of lands in Maine and New Hampshire and actively engaged in commercial pursuits. He commanded the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company in 1662 and 1674. He served in the early part of King Philip's War, then departing for Arowsick Island, Maine, which he owned jointly with Captain Thomas Clarke. His body was not discovered until seven months after he had been slain, his fate being meanwhile unknown.
Not far from the Lake stone is a large slate block preserving the memory of Nicholas Upshall, who died in August, 1666, aged about 70. He is notable as furnishing one of the good examples of religious toleration in the early days, and although a man of much property and influence, as well as a prominent member of the church, he fell a victim to the intolerance of his fellow townsmen. He owned land in 1637 from Hanover street to the waterside on the northeast side of Richmond street, and was the twenty-third original member of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company. His main offence was his kindness towards the Quakers, who were zealously prosecuted by certain authorities from Governor Endicott down. For bribing the
jail-keeper to supply two imprisoned Quaker women with food he was fined £20 and banished. He resided in Rhode Island during the remaining six years of Governor Endicott's rule, and on his return gave the Quakers the free use of a room in his house, which for a long time subsequent was known as the "Old Red Lyon Inn." He is referred to as follows in the "History of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company": "property, moral worth, public services, wife, children, friends, cannot preserve a man from the ruthless fangs of religious persecution. The respectable Quakers of the present day (Lynn) have recently reclaimed the remains of their former brethren from the old Quaker burying-ground lest rapacious hands of speculation should trespass further. Why do they not redeem the ashes of those who may be considered among the first martyrs of their sect?"
In December, 1878, there was discovered among five stones closing the entrance to an old tomb one with the following inscription: "Recompense Wadsworth, A.M. First Master of ye Grammar Free School at ye North End of Boston. Aged about 25 years; Died June ye 9th, 1713." The establishment of this school was voted at a town meeting on March 11, 1711-12, and on March 9, succeeding, the selectmen were "empowered to introduce Mr. Recompense Wadsworth at the North End, and to allow him sixty pounds for one year." The young teacher died after teaching for six months in the new schoolhouse which was built on Bennet street in 1713.
One of the most finely carved armorial bearings in the cemetery is that chiselled on the well-preserved slate stone over the Clark tomb near the main gate. The inscription reads:
HERE LYES THE MORTAL PART
(William Clark Esqr.)
An Eminent Merchant of this Town, and
An Honorable Counsellor for the Province;
Who Distinguished Himself as
A Faithful and Affectionate Friend
A Fair and generous Trader;
Loyal to his (Prince), Yet always
Zealous for the Freedom of his Countrey;
A Despiser of Sorry Persons and fiecle Actions,
An Enemy to Priestcraft and Enthusiasm
Ready to relieve and help the Wretched;
A Lover of good Men of Various Denominations
And a Reverent Worshipper of the (Deity)
William Clark was one of the wealthiest ship-owners of the time and an original member of Christ Church. His brick mansion on the corner of Garden court and Prince street, later occupied by Sir Henry Frankland, the collector of customs, was among the finest in town. In the French wars he suffered the
loss of forty ships, which, with other reverses, is said to have hastened his end.
One Samuel Winslow, sexton of the First Baptist Church, bodly appropriated the tomb, ejecting the occupants, and inscribed his own name above that of the rightful owner.
In the adjoining tomb sleeps Dr. John Clark, brother to the merchant, a very worthy physician according to the Latin eulogy upon his finely carved tombstone. The seven succeeding generations of the family each produced a physician of the same name.
Among the most illustrious by birth of the burying-ground's tenants were the Mountforts, long a prominent North End family. Tomb No. 17, on the Hull street side, built in 1711, bears the name of John Mountfort; and No. 59 erected in 1724, that of Jonathan Mountfort, together with the family coat of arms. The two were sons of Edmund Mountfort, who fled from London in 1656 on account of political offences. He married a granddaughter of Nicholas Upshall, and died in 1723,being buried in the Granary. The Mountforts traced their descent to an ancient Norman family, scions of which came over with the Conquest. Turstain de Mountfort, 1030, is mentioned in Dugdale's "History of Warwickshire."
Jonathan Mountfort was a wealthy physician and apothecary, his shop being long known as "Mountfort's Corner," and was of a decidedly eccentric temperament. He was one of the seceders from the New North Church in 1719, and helped build the "New Brick" or "Weathercock" Church, of which he was chosen treasurer.
John Mountfort was a member of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company in 1696, and owner of Mountfort's wharf. His descendants long resided on Prince street.
Another tomb emblazoned with family arms is that of the family of Joshua Gee, one of the most famous of the old shipwright, who as we have noted, purchased the small private lot in the centre of the ground. The inscription on his tomb reads simply: "The Arms and Tomb belonging to the family of Gee." The noted Gee shipyard was located on the southwest side of Prince street, while the family mansion stood on the corner of Salem and Prince streets, known as "Gee's Corner." The adjoining lands were also in possession of the Gees. Judge Sewall frequently mentions dining with the Gees.
In the western part of the yard is the Mariner's Tomb, "Dedicated to the Seamen of All Nations, by Phineas Stowe, Pastor of the First Baptist Bethel Church, Boston, 1851." It
contains the remains of Emily, wife of Dr. Stowe, who died on the day the monument over the tomb was completed and also those of four sailors. The cost of erection was met by contributions from seamen and their friends, the crew of the United States sloop-of-war Albany giving $52.
A tragic history is told by the large triple stone near the tool-house, which preserves in intricate lettering the memory of George Worthylake, aged 45; his wife Ann, 40, and their daughter, Ruth, 13. Worthylake, who had been brought up on George's Island, was the first keeper of Boston Light. On November 3, 1718, the family set sail for Noddle's Island, but the craft capsizing, they "took in heaven by the way," according to the old historian. Franklin, then a printer's apprentice to his brother, at the latter's urging; took this incident as the theme for a street ballad, called the "Lighthouse Tragedy." Although "wretched stuff," according to the author, and severely criticised by his father, it had a considerable sale. Unfortunately no copy is now extant.
In the northern part of the ground, in a plain brick vault, lie the remains of Chief Justice Parker. Near the northwest angle is the much more pretentious monument to Charles Jarvis, a noted local politician, who died in 1870, aged 59, "a Statesman, Patriot, and an honest Man, whose dignified Deportment, sublime Eloquence, unbounded Philanthropy, and other Virtues endeared his memory to his Fellow Citizens." A few feet away is the vault once owned by Governor Christopher Gore.
Perhaps the most ornate monument in the ground is that erected by Isaac Dupee, and bearing a beautifully carved coat-of-arms, together with the following tribute in verse:
MY NAME FROM THE PALMS OF HIS HANDS
ETERNITY WILL NOT ERASE;
IMPRESSED ON HIS HEART, IT REMAINS
IN MARKS OF INDELIBLE GRACE.
YES, I TO THE END SHALL ENDURE,
AS SURE AS THE EARNEST IS GIVEN,
MORE HP-Y, BUT NOT MORE SECURE,
THE GLORIFIED SPIRITS IN HEAVEN.
This inscription owes its oddity to the fact that the four couplets are taken from different parts of the Bible and put together in good sense rhyme. The quotations are respectively from --- I Cor. xv, 49; I John lv, 8; Matthew v, 9; Ephesians i, 9, 10.
A simply inscribed stone records the death in 1778, at the age of 66, of Dr. Andrew Eliot, the well-beloved pastor of the New North Church. A beautiful coat-of-arms, said not to belong to the family, is carved on the obverse side. Dr. Eliot's
house is still standing at the corner of Hanover and Tileston streets.
Timothy Thornton, who died Sept. 19, 1726, aged 79, was one of the committee which negotiated the Sewall purchase. He was also prominent in town affairs, being several times town commissioner and selectman, as well as in the General Court and serving on the committee appointed to issue bills of credit to pay the debts incurred in the French and Indian wars -- the first paper currency issued in Massachusetts.
Edward Martyn, another of the committee, sleeps at the right of the Hull-street entrance. His tombstone bears an elaborate coat-of-arms. He commanded the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company in 1715, and once owned most of the land from Hanover street to the sea.
Beside the Ellis tomb and monument in the northeast corner of the ground for over forty years grew a willow tree of interesting origin. It was brought as a slip from the willow that shades the grave of Napoleon at St. Helena by Capt. Joseph Leonard in 1844, and here transplanted by Roland Ellis. It was destroyed by the great gale of 1888.
In the centre of the yard stands the tombstone of one of the foremost of the Quakers, William Mumford, who died in November, 1718, at the age of 77. He was a stonecutter and builder, and on July 10, 1694, bought a lot in Brattle Square, whereon he erected the first Quaker meeting-house, which was as well the first brick church built in the town. In January, 1708, he purchased another lot on Congress street, and there built a second meeting-house, to which the Quakers repaired after selling the earlier edifice. Part of this lot constituted the Quaker burying-ground, until the remains contained therein were removed to Lynn in 1825.
On the northern slope of the ground is the monument erected in 1848 to Major Samuel Shaw, by his grandson, Robert G. Shaw. The story of the soldier's life is briefly told by the inscription, which runs:
(MAJOR SAMUEL SHAW,)
third son of
Francis & Sarah, served as an
Officer in the Revolutionary War,
from its commencement to
On the 22d of Feb. 1784, he sailed
from New York in the Ship
Empress of China, for Canton, as
Supercargo & part owner;
this being the first vessel that
sailed from the U. States for
he was appointed by Washington
Consul to China, which office he
held until his death in 1794
Near the front gate sleeps a fellow-soldier, Major Thomas Seward, who "gallantly fought in our late Revolutionary War and through its various Scenes behaved with Patriotic Fortitude and died in the Calms of domestic Felicity as becomes a Universal Christian, November 27th, 1800, AE 60."
The following commanders of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company are interred in the ground: Capt. Thomas Lake, Capt. Ralph Hart, Col. John Carnes, Capt. Caleb Lyman, and Capt. Edward Martyn.
On the western slope of the hill is the stone recording the name of Deacon Shemm Drowne, Hawthorne's famous carver in wood, who wrought the grasshopper on the Faneuil Hall vane. He died in 1774 at the ripe age of 90.
Nearby rests Captain John Pulling, died January 25, 1787, at the age of 51, after whom was named the headland in Chelsea fronting on the water.
Another noteworthy stone is that erected in memory of Prince Hall, first Grand Master of the colored Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts.
A rather pathetic inscription is that on a stone near the Snow-hill-street path, reading:
In memory of
Wife of David Darling,
died March 23d, 1809 Æ 43
She was the mother of 17 children, and around
her lies 12 of them, and 2 were lost at sea.
please leave a clear birth for me
near by this Stone.
The request was not heeded, as Mr. Darling, who was sexton of the North Church and also grave-digger in the yard, was buried in another part of the ground.
Mention should not be neglected of a tiny stone in the northern part of the yard, reading:
aged 9 years
July ye 5 1690
This little lass is one who daubed with ink at the papers of Cotton Mather, moving the worthy divine to great wrath.
These are a few of the more notable stones that claim the attention of the rambler in Copp's Hill. Almost equally noteworthy are the old epitaphs, many of them, as is usual in old burying-grounds, quaint and curious, some incoherent and ungrammatical. Doubtless the oddest and most puzzling is that over the grave of Mrs. Ammey Hunt, who died in 1769. We
have no clue to the neighborhood gossip hinted at in these peculiar lines:
A sister of Sarah Lucas lieth here,
Whom I did Love most Dear;
And now her Soul hath took its Flight,
And bid her Spightful Foes good Night.
Even more amusing is the tradition connected with the following conventional stanza on the stone of Mrs. Mary Huntley:
Stop here my friends & cast an eye,
As you are now, so once was I;
As I am now, so you must be,
Prepare for death and follow me.
A young wag is said to have added in chalk:
To follow you I'm not content
Unless I know which way you went.
Miss Mary Boucher, died Sept. 2, 1767, aged 18:
Some hearty Friend may drop a tear
On these dry bones and say
These limbs were Active once like thine
But thine must be as they.
Some of the other more interesting epitaphs follow:
Henry D. Emerson, d. Aug. 16, 1840, aged 4:
"Like a bright flower he was cut down."
Peter Gilman, April 12, 1807, aged 42:
"Stop my friends, and in a mirroir fee
What you, though e'er so healthy, soon must be,
Beauty with all her rosebuds, paints each face;
Approaching death will strip you of each grace."
Mrs. Betsey Pitman, 1784, aged 27:
"Haste: haste he lies in wait, He's at the door.
Insidious Death: should his sstrong hand arrest,
No composition sets the prisoner free."
Elijah Swift, May 9, 1803, aged 73:
"A wits a feather, and a chief's a rod;
An honest man's the noblest work of God."
Miss Polly Tidmarch Baker, died Sept. 24, 1798, aged 17:
Sleep on, dear Youth, God saw it best
To waft you to eternal Rest
Mrs. Eliza Fuller, Sept. 16, 1806, aged 22:
"An angel's arm can't snatch me from the grave,
Legions of angels can't confine me there."
On an old monument near the Winslow tomb:
"A SAMUEL returned to God in Christ
After a short abode on earth
To shun earth's harmes and crimes
Was here well put to bed betimes
The grave's as short as you prepare
Lest thy death come at unaware."
Miss Polly Bill, died Aug. 30, 1782, aged 21:
The Sweet Remembrance of the Just
Shall Flourish when they Sleep in Dust.
James Seward, died 1792, aged 6 months:
"He bore a lingering sickness with patience, and met the King of
Terrors with a smile."
The prophecy contained in the following inscription on the stone of Major John Ruddock, who died in 1772, was literally fulfilled, the words having almost entirely disappeared:
"Time may efface this monumental stone,
But time nor malice can his worth dethrone
For villians living oft may buy a name,
But virtue only swells posthumous fame."
The following lines are carved on an old foot-stone, without name or date, probably erected about 1700:
"What is t fond mortal yt thou wouldst obtain
By spining out a painful life of cares;
Thou livest to act thy childhood ore again,
And nought intends but grief and seeing years,
Who leaves this world like me just in my prime
Speeds all my business in a litel time."
Mrs. Eliza Meria Revere, died 1804, aged 28:
"Death with his dart has pierced my heart,
When I was in my prime;
When this you see grieve not for me,
Twas God's appointed time."
Capt. Rbert Newman, died 1806, aged 51:
"Though, Neptune's waves and boreas's blasts
Have tost' me to and fro:
Now well escap'd from all their rage,
I'm anchor'd here below,
Safely I ride in triumph here,
With many of our fleet,
Till signals call to weigh again,
Our admiral Christ to meet.
O may all those I've left behind
Be wash'd in Jesus's blood,
And when they leave the world of sin
Be ever with the Lord."
THE ISAAC DUPEE MONUMENT (See page 16.)
Elizabeth Kenney, Sept. 10, 1807, --- 42.
In the cold mansions of the silent tomb,
How still the solitude, how deep the gloom,
Here sleeps the dust, unconscious close confin'd
But far, far distant dwells the immortal mind.
Miss Elizabeth Furber, died May 10, 1790, aged 41:
Christ the Redeemer is my Deliverer
from chains, & the Power of Death
Jesus, amid the conflagration will shine
forth, as a Conqueror for me over Sin
Destruction & the King of Terors.
Miss Ellsy Gardner, died Nov. 17, 1800, aged 5 yrs., 9 mos.:
Sleep on sweet babe and take thy rest,
To call the home God saw it best.
Mrs. Hannah Giles, died Aug. 12, 1805, aged 26
Surviving friends dry up the falling tear
A little while our Savior will appear;
Prepare to meet with joy at Christ's right hand,
Where free from sin each saint will perfect stand.
Eliza Starr, died June 8, 1800, -- 6 yrs. 3 mos.
Nor Youth nor Innocence could save,
Eliza from the insatiable Grave!
But cease our Tears; no longer weep.
The little Maid doth only sleep:
Anon she'll wake and rise again,
And in her Saviour's arms remain.
John Crease, Dec. 8, 1800, -- 33.
How lov'd how valued once, avails the not
To whome related or by whome begot;
A heap of dusts alone remains of thee,
Tis all thou art and all the proud shall be.
Rebecca Perkins, March 16, 1802, -- 19 yrs. 7 mo.
My friends and Parents do not mourn,
Nor drop one tear now I am gone;
Where I am gone, I am at rest
Pray think me number'd with the blest.
John James, Dec. 22, 1903, -- 47.
Tho worms destroy this Body's skin,
Yet I shall see my Lord;
He'll build my Body up again,
For I believe his word,
My God that lives above the skies
Shall safely guard my clay,
Till he shall bid it to arise
At the great Judgement day.
William N. Steel, Dec. 21, 1815, -- 3 mo. 6 ds.
Just like an early rose,
We've seen an infant bloom,
But sadder oft before it blows
Death lay in the tomb.
Susanna Gray, July 9, 1798, -- 42
Stranger as this spot you tread,
And meditate upon the Dead;
Improve the moments as they fly,
For all that lives must shortly die.
Stephen Kent Chadwick, Apr. 27, 1790, -- 2 yrs. 8 mo.
Beneath this Stone doth lye
as much Virtue, as could dye,
Which when alive did vigor give,
to as much Beauty as could live.
Mrs. Jerusha Caddall, died Nov. 14, 1771, aged 30:
O cruel death that would not to us spare
a loveing wife a kind Companion Dear
great grief it is to friends that's left behind
but she we hope eternal Joys did find.
Mrs. Jane Carter, died July 28, 1772, aged 57:
In death's cold Arms our Bodys Lays,
Until we hear the Sound:
Then shall we rise our God to praise,
And leave the meaner Ground.
John Goff, Feb. 26, 1807, -- 44.
My glass is run, my life is spent
My earthly temple was but lent;
Why should I wish a length of years,
To spend in such a vale of tears.
Hannah Newhall, Apr. 29, 1785.
O cruel death that would not to me spare,
A loving wife a kind companion dear,
She now her saviour's beauty does behold,
And joins to sing his praise on harps of gold.
Elizabeth Brown, Dec. 11, 1803, -- 35.
When the last scene the closing hour drew nigh,
And earth receded from her swooning eye,
Tranquil she left this transitory scene,
By faith she fix'd her ardent hopes on high
In Jesus mercies, and in him did die,
So shall her grave with rising flowers be drest,
And the green turf lie lightly on her breast;
Here shall she morn her earliest tears bestow;
Here the first roses of the year shall blow,
While angels with their silver wings o'er shade
The ground now sacred by her relics made,
Then rest in peace beneath this sculptur'd stone,
Till Jesus' trumpet call thee to his throne.
Nathaniel Lewis, May 12, 1778, -- 42.
What's Fame, a fanc'd life in other's breath
A thing beyond us ev'n before our Death.
A Wit's a feather and a Chief's a rod
An honest Man's the noble Work of God.
Sally Goodwin, Aug. 23, 1781, -- 25.
My hope is fix'd my Spirit's free,
Longing my Saviour for to See;
Such joy and bliss, doth fill my soul,
Nothing on earth does me control,
My loving Husband and Infant small
My Parents dear I leave you all;
My Soul doth wing the heavenly way.
My Saviour's call I must obey,
Read this and weep but not for me,
Who willing was to part with thee;
That I may rest with Christ above,
In peace and joy and endless love.
Elijah Adams, Aug. 25, 1798, -- 61.
O Death thou hast conquer'd me,
I by thy Dart am slain,
But Christ will conquer thee,
And I shall rise again.
4 Children of Jabez & Lydia Sweet, aged 4, 10, 12 & 14 mos.
Stay gentle reader, view this spot of Earth
Sacred to virtue, innocence, and worth
Four infant roses, budding in the morn,
Shed their sweet fragrance in life's early dawn,
Entwin'd their parent stems, so fond cares'd
Each gave one smil, to glad the pensive breast,
And dropp'd and wither'd, died! Here seek repose,
Till Christ transplant them in the groves above,
To bloom immortal in the joys of love.
John Buckley, Jr., Aug. 23, 1798, -- 23.
In Peace here rests a Traveller's Dust,
His Journey's at an End;
He priz'd Esteem among the Just,
A Censure from a Friend,
"Broke loose from Time's tenacious Chains,
And Earth's revolving Gloom,
To range at large in vast Domains,
Of radiant World's to come."
Mr. Caleb Dinsdale Champney, died Oct. 4, 1802, aged 26:
To part with worth invaluable,
to feel regret mantled in sympathy;
To lose the richest treasure Heaven
bestows; to realize the agonizing
Pang of separation, and still bear
Misfortunes cruel lash;
Is the lot of man, But resignation
tempers every scene
And points our warmest, fondest hopes to Heaven.
Mrs. Sarah Champney, died Oct 13, 1800, aged 60:
The joys of faith triumphant rise,
And wing the soul above the skies.
Mrs Deborah Blake, d. in 1791, aged 21 years:
"Friend, as you pass, suppress the falling tear;
You wish her out of heaven to wish her here."
Mrs. Martha Cabot, d. in 1809, aged 60:
"So unaffected, so compos'd a mind,
So firm, yet soft, so strong, yet so refin'd,
Wasteing disease and pain severely tri'd,
The saint sustain'd it, but the woman di'd."
Capt. William and Mrs. Mary Burke, d. 1787:
"They were lovely and pleasant in their lives,
And in their deaths they were not divided."
Mrs. Mary Hughes, d. in 1765, aged 46:
"Time, What an empty vapour t'is,
And days, how swift they flay:
Our life is ever on the Wing,
And Death is ever nigh.
The Moment when our Lives begin,
We all begin to die."
Mr. Prince Chew, died Oct. 21, 1803, aged 38:
Depart my friends dry up your tears
I must lie here till Christ appears.
Mrs. Ann Clough, died April 2, 1772, aged 52:
My Parent gone, Great Heaven, oh tell me where
Where may I drop my unaffected Tear.
In filial Gratitude where may I weep
In grateful Silence lull my Soul to sleep
May I awake in Heaven and find her there
Where endless Rapture quell each rising Care.
Timothy Gay, d. in 1799, aged 36:
He was diligent in business, faithful
to his friends, and affectionate to his family.
"Life little Stage is a small Eminence,
Inch high the Grave above; that Home of Man,
Where dwells the Multitude: We gaze around;
We read their Monuments; We sigh; and while
We sigh, we sink, and are what we deplor'd."
Mrs. Abigail Cogswell, died Jan. 19, 1782, aged 42:
To those who for their loss are griev'd
This Consolation's given,
They're from a world of woe reliev'd
We trust they're now in heaven.
Mr. Isaac Cole, died Oct. 20, 1801, aged 9 mos.:
Sleep on sweet babe & take your rest,
God call'd you home, he thought it best.
WINSLOW TOMB. (See pages 14 and 15.)
Mrs. Sarah Collins, died March 29, 1771, aged 62:
Be ye also Ready for you
Know not the Day nor hour.
Mrs. Johanna Connor, died Dec. 29, 1799, aged 45:
Go home my friends, dry up your Tears
I must lie here till Christ appears.
Mr. John Lambard Cooper, died Nov. 17, 1805, aged 60:
Here rests the dead, from pain & sorrow free;
He's gone to Heaven, we trust, O god to thee;
His bright examples, may we make our own
So far in Christ, as he himself was known.
Mr. Elijah Corlew, died May 25, 1804, aged 31 yrs.:
Lo! soft remembrance drops a piteous tear
And holy friendship stands a mourner here.
Levi Cutler, died Jan. 7, 1821, aged 6 mos., 6 days:
Altho death so soon has laid his frame
To moulder here beneath the sod
The little spark of heavenly flame
Now dwells in paradise with God.
Mrs. Eliza Davis, died Feb. 14, 1806, aged 24:
She's gone from pain & sorrow free
To rest to all eternity
Isaac Howard Davis, died May 8, 1807, aged 20 mos., 28 days:
Sleep sleep sweet Babe Death's done no harm
Christ Jesus calls there to his arms.
Miss Emmy Dillaway, died October 11, 1813, aged 34:
Sleep sweet Soul thy days are ended
All thy mourning days below;
Go by Angel guards attended,
To the sight of Jesus go.
Mrs. Mary Farmer, died Nov. 4, 1798, aged 68:
Stop here my friend and cast an eye
Consider well that you must die
Wisely conduct that so you may
Triumph in Christ at the last day.
Miss Mary Fitzgerald, died Sept. 30, 1787, aged 19:
Virtue & youth just in the morning bloom
With the fair Mary finds an early Tomb.
Capt. Nathaniel Glasier, died May 27, 1812, aged 30:
Long may his grave with riseing flowers be drest
And the green turf lie lightly on his breast.
Mr. Edward Grant, died June 28, 1797, aged 78:
When the last trumphet breathes the rending sound,
And wakes the sleeping nations under ground,
Then shall you in the ranks of saints appear,
And in your hand a golden sceptre bear.
Mrs. Mary Harvey, died May 2, 1782, aged 63:
Mark Traveller, this humble stone
'Tis death's kind warning to prepare
Thou too must hasten to the tomb
And mingle with corruption there.
Mr. Holton Porter Johnson, died Jan 16, 1814, aged 20:
Dear brother rest in quiet slumber,
Till the resurrection morn,
In thy Saviour's second coming
He will raise the from the tomb.
John S. Johnson, died Sept. 9, 1829, aged 6:
See the lovely blooming flower,
Fades and withers in an hour
So our transient comforts fly,
Pleasure only bloom to die.
Miss Hannah Langford, died Nov. 19, 1796, aged 15:
Nor youth, nor innocence, could save
Hannah from the infatiable Grave
But cease our tears, no longer weep,
The little Maid doth only sleep;
Annon she'll wake, and rise again
And in her Savior's arms remain.
Miss Rosetta Jane Lewis, died Aug. 10, 1812, aged 12:
Adieu my dear b'loved child
I give the back to God;
With flowers I'll deck thy early grave,
And kiss the chastening rod.
Mrs. Lydia Mason, died Dec. 30, 1803, aged 29:
Her peaceful Soul has fled
From this vain World of Sin,
With her two Infants dear are laid
Soon to rise never to fall again.
Mrs. Martha McClintock, died Oct. 13, 1798, aged 67:
Time was like thee I life prosest
And time shall be when you shall rest.
Mrs. Ann McMillian, died Feb. 28, 1805, aged 81:
Happy soul thy days are ended;
All thy mourning days below;
Go, by angel guards attended,
To the sight of Jesus go.
Mary Morgan, died Jan. 16, 1815, aged 3:
She left a world of
sorrow sin & pain
Wish not to call her
back to life again
Mr. John Polley, died, Oct. 3, 1787, aged 23:
May guardian Cherubs watch their sacred trust,
Till recent life reanimates his dust.
Mrs. Hariot Jacobus, died, May 27, 1812, aged 20:
Stop here my friends as you pass by,
As you are now, so once was I;
As I am now, so you must be,
Therefore prepare to follow me.
Mr. Nathaniel Richardson, died Sept. 10, 1815, aged 34:
My tender wife don't mourn for me,
Tis here my earthly sorrows end;
Prepare yourself in youthful days,
In silence here to meet your friend.
Mr. Henry Roby, died Nov. 9, 1807, aged 85:
Supported by that hope which as an anchor
to the soul, is sure and steadfast, he desired
to depart, and be with the Lord Jesus Christ.
Thomas Valentine Sullivan, died Oct. 29, 1795, aged 10 mos.,
He came forth like a flower
and was cut down;
he flew also as a shadow, and continued not.
Mrs. Lucy Swier, died Oct. 11, 1795, aged 63:
And though after my skin worms destroy
yet in my flesh shall i see god.
Mr. George Tompkins, died Oct. 21, 1801, aged 25:
Beneath this humble Stone here lies a youth,
Whose Soul was Goodness, and whose Heart
Crop't like a Flow'r he wither'd in his
Tho' flattering life had promis'd Years to come.
George Wardell, died Dec. 5, 1802, aged 2 yrs., 7 mos.:
Here rests sweet innocence and love
His soul is fled to joys above.
Miss Frances Clark Bryant, died April 14, 1814, aged 18:
Though early frost has nipt the blooming flower
She is not lost but only gone before.
Mrs. Hannah Brown, died March 29, 1810, aged 50:
Mother and friend, our heavy loss is thy eternal gain;
Thou'rt run thy race, hast borne thy cross
And art releas'd from pain.
May we whom thou hast left below
Like the fulfill our part,
Like the when Jesus bids us go,
Be ready to depart,
Living like the, resigned like the
Be reunited in eternity.
Mrs. Nancy Brown, died Oct. 3, 1804, aged 25:
Here sleeps the precious dust, she shin's above,
Whose soul was harmony, whose soul was love
What were her virtu's? all that Heaven could spare,
What were her graces? all divinely fair;
Mingling with Angels, they admire a guest,
As spotless good & lovely as the rest.
Mr. George Cabot, died Feb. 5, 1804, aged 20:
After a long and distressing sickness which he
bore with meekness and resignation in hope of a
Mr. Henry Blake, Sr., died Oct. 25, 1805, aged 56:
Why do we mourn departed friends
Or shake at death's alarms?
'Tis but the voice that Jesus sends,
To call them to his arms.
Mr. Joseph Blake, died Dec. 2, 1805, aged 26:
In life respected
In death lamented.
Capt. Ralph Beatley, died Oct. 16, 1804, aged 42:
While holy friendship drops the precious tear
And mournful garlands deck the hallow'd bier,
Can bounteous Heav'n a greater solace give
Than that which whispers "Friends Departed Live."
Mr. Daniel Bemis, died Sept. 30, 1818, aged 59:
In peace his ashes rest beneath this sod,
His soul has flown to meet its saviour God,
Where joy celestial reigns for evermore,
And all the toils of this vain life are o'er.
Miss Jemima Adams, died March 14, 1773, aged 25:
Be ye also Ready for at such an Hour as
you think not the son of Man cometh.
Mrs. Abigail Barker, died Dec. 19, 1812, aged 37:
My work was short, I sweetly rest;
God took me home, when he saw best;
I am not lost, I shall arise
When Christ descends the lower sky.
Mr. William Brazer, died Dec. 17, 1813, aged 39:
Calmly he welcomed death, his soul resign'd
To him who shed his blood to save mankind.
Miss Elizabeth Ann Bruce, died March 12, 1815, aged 19 mos.:
Death's shadow pass'd the spirit flies,
On Angel's wings through crystal skies
Up to the ever living throne,
Where Misery forgets to moan.
A great deal of local history and tradition is connected with Copp's Hill, but so fragmentary in character that no proper sequence can be found in the narration.
It is presumed that in 1621 the Plymouth folk landed under the shadow of the hill, as told by Prince in his "Chronology": "The Governor chuses 10 men with Squanto and two other savages, to go in the shallop, Tuesday, Sept 18; at midnight, the tide serving, we set sail; next day got into the bottom of Massachusetts Bay, about 20 leagues north from Plymouth, and anchor next morning, we land under a cliff. The sachem of this place is Obbatinewat."
The Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company is associated more or less with Copp's Hill. The company once claimed ownership of part of the hill, under the terms of an old mortgage, and tried to prevent the transfer of the Sewall purchase. The matter was adjusted, and after the evacuation of Boston by the British, when the company again laid claim, the obligation was satisfactorily discharged. While the British troops were still in Boston the company was forced to use Copp's Hill as a parade ground, instead of the Common, as thus told in the company's minutes:
"In 1775, before the Artillery Company suspended its meetings, the Common was occupied by the British army, and the Artillery Company were refused admittance. Capt. Bell, therefore, marched to Copp's Hill. Soon after the bridge over Charles River was built, there was a complaint against the street at the foot of this hill. It was supposed the proprietors of that part of the hill enclosed from Snowhill street ought to repair the wharf and street at their own expense. This led to inquiry, in town-meeting, to whom it belonged; some one said it belonged to this company. Col. Jackson, their Treasurer, was sent for, and declared he considered it their property, a mortgage upon it to them having long run out, and that Capt. Bell, with his company, had taken possession of it in 1775. Capt. Bell was then interrogated by Col. Dawes, the Moderator: Why did you march your company to Copp's Hill? Answer: I was prohibited from entering the Common; conceiving this hill to be the property of the company, I marched them there, as a place no one had a right to exclude them from. Question by Moderator: Supposing a party of British troops should have been in possession of it, and should have forbid your entrance, what would you have done? Answer: I would have charged bayonets, and forced my way as surely as I would force my way into my dwelling-house, if taken possession of by a gang of thieves. The late Col. Wm. Tudor, who was then present, said:
'Mr. Moderator, the hill clearly belongs to that company, and I wish they would execute a quit claim deed of it to me at a fair price.' The Mortgage was discharged afterwards, and the street repaired by the town."
Closely connected with the history of the hill is the famous North Battery beneath it on Hudson's point. It was built by Major-General John Leverett in 1646, twenty years earlier than the erection of its twin, the South Battery, or Sconce, at the foot of Fort Hill. It was built on the petition of the North enders, and at their expense, they praying that they might "for the future be freed from all rats and assessments to what other fortifications be in the towne untill such time as the other part of the towne not ioynninge withus herin shall have disbursed and layd out in equall porporcion of their estats with our as by true Acount may apear."
A committee of inspection reported on both batteries in May, 1666, saying: "Wee also tooke survey of another worke on the north side of Boston, called Merrjes Point, raysed with stones.
The foundation is defended from the violence of the sea with spyles & plancks; the wall of a considerable thicknes, yet lesse safe then the other, by reason of the sharpe edges next the cannon & widnes of the ports within, which beinge faced with strong timbers, as is intended, will be much better."
Capt. Edward Johnson of Woburn, in his "Wonder Working Providence of Sion's Saviour, in New England," speaks of the "very strong battery built of whole timber, and filled with Earth at the descent of Hill in the extreme poynt thereof."
Daniel Neal, in his description of Boston in 1719, says: "There are two Batteries at the North and South Ends of the Town, which command the whole Bay, and make it impossible for an Enemy's Ship of Burthen to ride there in safety."
In 1706 the battery was extended 120 feet, with a breadth of 40 feet, at an expense of £1,000. It was finally sold to Jeffrey and Russell, and became Jeffrey's Wharf between 1787 and 1796. To-day it is appropriately called Battery Wharf.
The site of the North Battery was, possibly, where Winthrop's company landed, and where Anne Pollard, the first white woman to tread on Boston soil, jumped ashore. Here, too, was Francis Hudson's ferry landing. From the Battery, also, the 52d, 43d, and 47th British regiments, together with detachments of grenadiers, light infantry and marines, embarked for Bunker Hill; and here, after the battle, the wounded were brought ashore. At the time of the evacuation, the Battery was armed with seven 12-pounders, two 9-pounders, and four 6-pounders, all left dismantled. In the old days of short range guns, the North Battery was regarded as of great importance, because covering the harbor, the mouth of the Charles, and the entrance to Town Cove.
In May, 1644, while the civil war was raging in England, a parliamentary man-of-war of 24 guns, Capt. Thomas Stagg, sailed into the harbor and demanded the surrender of a Bristol ship of 100 tons then in port. All the townspeople assembled on Windmill Hill to watch the expected hostilities. The Bristol craft, however, prudently surrendered.
In June, two years before, the windmill was struck by lightning, shattering the sail, breaking the standard and riving off the boards of the sides, beside setting on fire the sacks in the mill. "The miller, being under the mill upon the ground chopping a piece of board, was struck dead; but company coming in found him to breathe, and within an hour or two he began to stir, and strove with such force, as six men could scarce hold him down. The next day he came to his senses, but knew nothing of what had befallen him."
The surrender of Quebec was celebrated by a great bonfire on Copp's Hill. "45 Tar Barrels, 2 Cords of Wood, a mast, spars, and boards, with 50 Ibs. of powder were set in a blaze; this, with a similar illumination of Fort Hill, was paid for by the province, together with 32 Gallons of Rum and much Beer."
In 1765, the year of the repeal of the Stamp Act, Copp's Hill was the scene of the part of the celebration of the anniversary of the powder plot on Nov. 5, as thus told in the Massachusetts Gazette: "About noon the Pageantry, representing the Pope, Devil and several other Effigies were brought in stages and met at King-street, where the Union (between the factions from the north and south ends) previously entered into by the leaders, was established in a very ceremonial manner, and having given three huzzas, they interchanged ground." After parading, they "proceeded to the Tree of Liberty, under the shadow of which they refreshed themselves for awhile and then retreated northward, agreeably to the plan. They reached Copp's Hill before six o'clock, where they halted, and having enkindled a fire, the whole Pageantry was committed to the flames and consumed. This being finished, every person was requested to their respective houses." This was the customary observance of the day.
On January 24, 1793, a barbecue was held on Copp's Hill in honor of the French Revolution. After the feast the horns of the ox were fixed to a pole sixty feet high and triumphantly raised in Liberty Square.
Copp's Hill figured quite conspicuously in the Revolution. Works were erected by the British on the summit, near the southwestern corner of the ground. They were hastily thrown up and never completed, comprising but a few barrels of earth arranged as parapets. There was a small earthwork to the rear designed as a shelter for infantry. The battery consisted of
three 28-pounders, on carriages, which were left spiked after the evacuation. Here Clinton and Burgoyne witnessed the Battle of Bunker Hill and directed the fire of the little battery.
One of the shells from Copp's Hill, aiding the fire of the ships in the harbor, is said to have started the conflagration in Charlestown. Traces of the works remained on the hill until the summit was lowered in 1807. It was from the North Battery below, that Clinton rushing down the hill when he saw his veterans quailing, took boat and crossed over to the Charlestown shore to aid Howe.
On the south corner of the new burying-ground, added in 1809 and fronting on Hull street, stood the old gun-house of the Columbian artillery, afterwards removed to make room for tombs built in 1827. At the celebration of the completion of the bridge from the old ferry landing to Charlestown in 1786, salutes were fired from Copp's Hill, as well as from the Castle and Breed's Hill.
The gas-works at the foot of Copp's Hill, the most prominent feature of the neighborhood, were erected in 1828, and gas first made in December of that year. It was not used to illuminate the City in general until 1834.
All this time the change in the character of the surroundings of Copp's Hill which we described in the beginning has been slowly going on, the old houses decaying or being replaced and all but a few of the old families removing far from the vicinity. There still dwell on Copp's Hill a number of the Dodds, Goddards, Pitmans and Adamses of the early days, but the place generally has acquired a new and changing appearance.
Perhaps the earliest example of the term "Copp's Hill," in our printed records, is found in the "Selectmen's minutes of January 21, 1725-26."
NEWMAN TOMB (Snowhill Street Side.)