Boston in Suffolk County, Massachusetts — The American Northeast (New England)
Seventeenth Century Burials
The Neal Children: The “Oldest Date on a Gravestone” (1666) is that on the marker of four of the children of Andrew (ca. 1624 – 1684) and Melicent Neal (d. 1687): Andrew (d. 1672 aged 18 months), Elizabeth (d. 1666 aged 3 days), Elizabeth (d. 1671 aged 2 weeks), and Hannah (n.d.). It was not unusual for colonial parents to name a new child after one that had died. Andrew Neal was the innkeeper of the Starr Inn.
The James/Allen/Ebenezer Wells Tomb has the “oldest date on a tomb” of 1667. James Allen (1632-1710), minister of the First Church, was “very humble and very rich.” He built this tomb and buried his first wife, Hannah (Drummer), here in 1667 when she was 21 years old and his second wife, Elizabeth
The Myth of Boston’s Mother Goose
Nestled together near a tree are the gravestones of three generations of the Goose/Vergoose family, Mary (Balstin) Goose (ca. 1648-1690) gave birth to at least 10 children with her husband, Isaac Goose (also known as Vergoose) (d. 1710), a carter and scavenger. After Mary Goose’s death Isaac married Elizabeth (Foster) of Charleston, who bore him five children. Their daughter, Elizabeth (Goose), married Thomas Fleet (c. 1685-1758), publisher of the Boston Evening Post, whose printing shop was at The Sign of the Heart and Crown. In the 19th century a story circulated that Thomas Fleet was the first publisher of Mother Goose stories and these tales were told by his mother-in-law. No copy of Mother Goose tales published by Thomas Fleet has been found. Though Thomas Fleet is buried near Mary Goose, there is no record that Elizabeth Vergoose, his mother-in-law, is buried at Granary.
The Freake Tomb
The Tomb of Elizabeth and John Freake, showing their coat-of-arms, is another early tomb marked with a slab set in the ground. John and Elizabeth (Clarke) married before 1662 and Elizabeth bore eight children, including
Governors, Merchants, and Slave Traders
Five of the nine Massachusetts governors buried in Granary are in this section of the grounds including, William Drummer (1677-1761), Tomb 168; John Endecott (1589-1665), Tomb 189; and Increase Summer (1746-1799), Tomb 180. Governors Richard Bellingham (1592-1672) and James Sullivan (1744-1808) are both buried in Tomb 146. Bellingham was infamous for secretly conducting his own marriage ceremony in 1641 to his second wife, Penelope Pelham.
Massachusetts’ colonial economy depended on the Atlantic trade between Britain, the West Indies, Africa, and the American colonies. In 1687 one visitor observed that most houses in Boston had one or two slaves. Brought to Boston by 1638, African slaves were an important commodity in the West Indies trade of Boston merchants. Most of the colonial governors owned slaves, while prominent merchants such as Hugh Hall (1693-1773), Tomb 144, and David S. Greenough (1752-1826), Tomb 170, imported and sold slaves and owned plantations in the West Indies.
Location. 42° 21.455′ N, 71° 3.712′ W. Marker is in Boston, Massachusetts, in Suffolk County. Marker can be reached from Tremont Street, on the left when traveling north. Marker is along the walking trail in Granary Burying Ground, near the back of the cemetery. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Boston MA 02108, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Colonial Craftsmen (a few steps from this marker); Josiah and Abiah Franklin (within shouting distance of this marker); Family Memorials (within shouting distance of this marker); Gravestone Carving (within shouting distance of this marker); Huguenots, Women, and Tories (within shouting distance of this marker); Victims of the Boston Massacre (within shouting distance of this marker); Samuel Adams (within shouting distance of this marker); Paul Revere Buried in this Ground (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Boston.
More about this marker. A partial map of Granary Burying Ground, showing the location of the marker, appears at the center of the marker. The right side of the marker features pictures of Elizabeth Freake and her daughter Mary, John Freake, Gov. James Sullivan and Gov. John Endecott.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Take a tour of the markers found along the walking trail in Boston’s Granary Burying Ground.
Also see . . . Granary Burying Ground. Details of the Freedom Trail from the City of Boston website. (Submitted on May 10, 2009, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.)
Categories. • Cemeteries & Burial Sites • Colonial Era •
More. Search the internet for Seventeenth Century Burials.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on May 10, 2009, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 1,579 times since then and 9 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on May 10, 2009, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.