I was going to be all cool and make my title the Latin for “death in Boston”. After Googling it though, “nex in Boston” just doesn’t have a cool Latin ring and would leave you scratching your heads. So, Death in Boston it is. And we saw a lot of it today. For a city that’s been around as long as Boston there’s bound to be some death.
We visited the Granary Burial Ground yesterday on our guided walking tour and today by ourselves. We actually redid the whole tour today by ourselves in order to go into the buildings that we weren’t able to access yesterday. The Granary Burying Ground sits right next to a church and is very close to Boston Common. Please click on the link to the burying ground; there’s fascinating information about the history of that area. What it doesn’t tell you though, that we read on one of the plaques today, is that the area had natural springs underneath it so when it rained heavily bodies would surface. That’s not creepy, that’s just gross. I’m not sure how they prevented that from happening and why it doesn’t happen anymore.
People buried here include three signers of the Declaration of Independence (Samuel Adams, John Hancock and Robert Treat Paine), Paul Revere, the Boston Massacre victims, Benjamin Franklin’s parents, some French Huguenots, and James Otis.
What’s cool about really old head stones is that they have great art on them. Here is a quote from the Freedom Trail Website about the Granary Burying Ground.
GRAVEN IMAGES Puritan churches did not believe in religious icons or imagery, so the people of Boston used tombstones as an outlet for artistic expression of their beliefs about the afterlife. One of the most popular motifs was the Soul Effigy, a skull or death’s headwith a wing on each side that was a representation of the soul flying to heaven after death. Elaborate scroll work, poetic epitaphs and depictions of the Grim Reaper and Father Time also adorn many headstones.
The next burying ground we visited was adjacent to the King’s Chapel. Mary Chilton, one of the women on the Mayflower, is buried here. She ended up marrying a man and moving to Boston from Plymouth.
We then went to The Old State House.
The Boston Massacre took place outside here in 1770. Read this account by the Freedom Trail Foundation. Five men died in what was to be called a “massacre” by Samuel Adams. Today it’s an intersection in the middle of Boston. These men are buried in part of Samuel Adams’ family plot at the Granary Burying Ground.
And of course, the death isn’t over here. There’s Lexington and Concord and the Battle at Bunker Hill, which we’ll be doing soon.
P.S. You can click on these pictures to see them bigger.