“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Boston in Suffolk County, Massachusetts — The American Northeast (New England)

Seventeenth Century Burials

Seventeenth Century Burials Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, April 14, 2009
1. Seventeenth Century Burials Marker
Inscription. Around you are some of the earliest burials at Granary Burial Ground. “The Oldest Stone” dated 1667 marked the burial of John Wakefield (ca. 1615-1667). Apparently a frugal relative 36 years later had the back of the stone carved for Ann Child (c. 1623-1703), whose daughter married a Wakefield. The nearby stone carries both names.

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 (Houchin) Endicott (ca. 1638-1673), when she was 35 years old. It is probable that the third Mrs. Allen, Sarah (Hawkins) Breck (1638-1710), was buried here as well.

Marker in Granary Burying Ground image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, April 14, 2009
2. Marker in Granary Burying Ground
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 Mary, shown with her in the portrait. John was killed in an explosion on a boat in 1675. Elizabeth remarried to Elisha Hutchinson in 1677 and bore another six children, while raising
Grave of Mary (Mother?) Goose image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, April 14, 2009
3. Grave of Mary (Mother?) Goose
Here lyes y body of
Mary Goose wife to
Isaac Goose, aged 42
years, dec'd October
y 19th, 1690

According to legend Issac Goose's son-in-law, Thomas Fleet, published Songs for the Nursery, or Mother Goose's Melodies featuring stories told by Issac's second wife, Elizabeth, who is also buried here.
the surviving children from both of their marriages. Elizabeth died in 1713 at the age of 71 and joined John in their tomb. Elisha Hutchinson died in 1717 and was buried with his wife and her first husband.

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. Touch for map. Marker is along the walking trail in Granary Burying Ground, near the back of the cemetery. Marker is in this post office area: Boston MA 02108, United States of America.
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 SitesColonial Era
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 1,528 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on May 10, 2009, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.
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