Home Cemeteries Granary Burying Ground – Boston

Granary Burying Ground – Boston

by Jennifer Jones
Old Granary Burying Ground - The Dead History

I’ve always been drawn to the cemeteries of New England. Mostly because they’re among some of the oldest in the United States, and also I love the style of headstones that were popular in the late 1700’s, early 1800’s. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to make it to that part of the country to see for myself. Thankfully, I have great friends who are nice enough to visit creepy places and send me lots of pics.  The Granary Burying Ground is Boston’s third oldest cemetery and is the final resting place of many Revolutionary War patriots, most notably Paul Revere, Samuel Adams, John Hancock, and Robert Treat Paine.

The Old Granary Burying Ground - The Dead History

Founded in 1660, the cemetery has 2,345 grave markers, but it’s estimated that around 5,000 people are actually buried here. Now to the reason why I like these types of cemeteries so much! The Dead History logo is a hint…Death’s Head or Totenkopf.

The image of a skull, either alone or surrounded by wings or bones is one of the oldest symbols of death and a popular motif found in the cemeteries of New England.

John Marhsall - Old Granary Burying Ground - The Dead History

Headstone of John Marshall who died on August 18th, 1719.


Old Granary Burying Ground - The Dead History

Winged Death’s Head with crossbones

Another popular theme among these old cemeteries is the “winged cherub” which symbolizes the soul.

Old Granary Burying Ground - The Dead History

Other common symbols here are hourglasses, sometimes also shown with wings that show time on earth is fleeting.

One of the interesting things I came upon while reading about the Granary Burying Ground is that a forgotten crypt was accidentally rediscovered in 2011. While trying to get a closer look at some headstones, a tourist wandered off the path and broke through an old piece of slate that was hiding a set of stairs leading to a crypt. Believed to be the final resting place of Jonathan Armitage the crypt was found to be 8 by 12 feet and structurally intact.((http://archive.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2009/02/12/burying_ground_yields_a_secret/))

If you know of a great urban legend or a haunted location that you’d like to learn the real history of send me the info and it could be featured on a future Dead History post.




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