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South End Burying Ground
South End, Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts

south end burying ground
South End Burying Ground

GPS: 42.337961, -71.074105

Washington St.
Boston, MA 02118

Published: June 14, 2016
Total records: 31

South End Burying Ground is owned and maintained by the City of Boston, MA


South End Burying Ground was opened in 1810. It was located on the narrow strip of marshland known as Roxbury Neck, which connected the peninsula of Boston to the mainland.

The gallows stood at the east edge of the burying ground, near the tidewaters of South Boston Bay, leading to the persistent myth that hanged pirates and other criminals were buried here. In fact, it is difficult to know exactly who is buried here. In the nineteenth century, people of modest means had recorded, but unmarked graves. They could not afford elaborate headstones or other types of monumentation. While there are only 20 grave markers, records indicate that over 11,000 are buried at this site.

Successive filling of the marshy site permitted burials in several tiers. It has been reported that South End Burying Ground contains the graves of paupers from the Alms House and inmates from the House of Industry. Mostly, though, this site is known as a working man's burying ground, where families paid a small fee to the City for burials. Interments ceased in this graveyard in 1866.

In 1856, the construction of James Street displaced a row of cityowned paupers' tombs; the contents were removed and reburied on Deer Island. These tombs had been built by the city in 1842 outside the burial ground walls for those interred at the city's expense.

In 1859, Mr. George H. Davis began purchasing the odd-numbered tombs, those lining the northeastern side of the burial ground, to obtain a passageway behind the Hallett & Davis piano factory, which abutted the burial ground on the site of the present Franklin House. Mr. Davis completed his acquisition of all these tombs by 1867, whereupon the piano factory burned and its falling walls damaged the tombs. The site was sold to a Mr. Ballou, who constructed the short-lived St James Hotel in 1868. There are no records to show that any of the tombs' contents were ever removed, and, while constructing the hotel, workers could not avoid digging up bones, which were "carted away with no more respect or reverence than is shown to creatures who are not human." Mr. Ballou later bought and removed the last remaining odd-numbered tombs, up to number 145, to extend a wing of the hotel to the James Street gate. Probably deservedly, the hotel failed soon after its construction, and the New England Conservatory of Music bought the property in 1882. The following year, the Conservatory attempted to buy another 100 x 110 foot portion of the burial ground to build an addition, but, this time, a Special Committee of the Common Council investigated, and the city denied the Conservatory's purchase. Among the comments elicited by the controversy at that time was the description of the burial ground as "neglected" and "desolate", "an eyesore".

Cemetery Records

Records published below were acquired from the City of Boston's cemetery database on June 13, 2016.

, Lot: SE-B-12, d. 4/20/1821
BENNETT, SARAH, Lot: SE-A-3, d. 12/11/1822
BRIGHAM, EUNICE, Lot: SE-B-7, d. 5/18/1813
CUMMINS, ELIZABETH, Lot: SE-B-8, d. 7/24/1814
DERANDAMIE, HARRIET, Lot: SE-C-15, d. 11/5/1821
DUTTON, G, Lot: SE-B-150
FOWLE, THANKFUL, Lot: SE-B-9, d. 6/6/1816
GARDNER, JAMES, Lot: SE-C-14, d. 5/28/1864
LYNCH, CHARLES, Lot: SE-B-13, d. 9/14/1824
TOWNSEND, ANDREW, Lot: SE-A-1, d. 9/21/1819
WASHBURN, SALLY, Lot: SE-B-6, d. 4/7/1814
WHEELER, J, Lot: SE-A-153

Records published below were copied from a tombstone reading commissioned by Boston Redevelopment Authority and performed on August 31, 1984, under the oversight of Rosanne Atwood-Humes and Carol Szymanski...

Andrews, Margaret, d. Aug 20, 1821, age 29, wife of Nathaniel Andrews
Bennett, Elizabeth C, d. Dec 1, 1822, age 2, daughter of Sarah & Abijah Bennett
Bennett, Sarah, d. Dec 11, 1822, age 28, wife of Mr. Abijah Bennett
Brigham, Eunice, d. May 18, 1813, age 38, wife of Jesse Brigham
Cummins, Elizabeth, d. Jul 24, 1814, age 21, same stone with Asa Gould
DeRandamie, Harriet, d. Nov 5, 1821, age 36, wife of C.A. DeRandamie
Dutton, G. D.
Fowle, Thankful, d. Jun 6, 1816, age 30, wife of Parker Fowle
Gardner, James, d. May 28, 1864?, age 32, son of Margaret Gardner
Gould, Asa, d. Mar 26, 1815, age 26, same stone with Elizabeth Cummins
Lovering, Joseph
Lynch, Charles, d. Sep 14, 1824, age 33, same stone with Charlotte Lynch
Lynch, Charlotte, d. Dec 18, 1829, age 66, wife of Dennis Lynch
Townsend, Andrew, d. Sep 21, 1819, age 74
Townsend, Unice, d. Dec 9, 1825, age 76, wife of Andrew Townsend
Washburn, Sally, d. Apr 7, 1814, age 29, wife of Sam Washburn
Washburn, Sam, d. Jul 23, 1821, age 34, husband of Sally Washburn
Wheeler, J.

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