Boston in Suffolk County, Massachusetts — The American Northeast (New England)
Welcome to Copp’s Hill Burying Ground
About the Burying Ground
Copp’s Hill Burying Ground is the second oldest cemetery in Boston. In 1659, town officials became concerned about overcrowding at the Central Burying Ground (now called King’s Chapel Burying Ground on Tremont Street.) Land was bought on Mill Hill in the North End for the new North Burying Ground, later named Copp’s Hill Burying Ground. The cemetery you see today was purchased in four installments:
1659: The first parcel of land was over the crest of the hill toward the Charles River bordering Charter Street and Snow Hill Street (Sections A, B, C and H on the plan.) You will notice that most of the 17th century burials are in this part of the burial ground.
1711: The town expanded the burying ground to Hull Street by buying land from Samuel Sewall (Sections D, E, F and G.) Hull Street was laid out in 1701 and named after silversmith John Hull, Samuel Sewall’s father-in-law.
1809: The town purchased Section J from Benjamin Weld for $10,000. This section is surrounded by a row of tombs.
1825: The City of Boston annexed Section I, called the Charter Street Burying Ground, from Mayor Charles Wells. Wells constructed 34 tombs on this portion of the burying ground.
Today: The burying ground is owned by the City of Boston Parks & Recreation
About Copp’s Hill
In 1630, when John Winthrop’s fleet arrived in Boston Harbor, three high hills dominated the tiny peninsula of land they called “Boston Town;” Fort Hill, in the south end of town near Rowe’s Wharf; the Trimountain, now Beacon Hill, in the center; and Copp’s Hill at the north end. This hill was approximately 10 feet higher in 1630 than it is today, having been cut down in the early 19th century to fill in the Mill Pond near what is now North Station.
The hill was first called Wind Mill Hill or Mill Hill because a windmill for grinding grain was constructed at the top in 1632. Later it became known as “Copp’s Hill,” named after William Copp and his family who settled on the hill around 1635.
Location. 42° 22.023′ N, 71° 3.369′ W. Marker is in Boston, Massachusetts, in Suffolk County. Marker is at the intersection of Hull Street and Hull St Pl, on the left when traveling east on Hull Street. Touch for map. Marker is located along the walking trail in Copp's Hill Burying Ground, near the cemetery entrance. Marker is in this post office area: Boston MA 02113, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this Copp's Hill Burying Ground (here, next to this marker); a different marker also named Copp’s Hill Burying Ground (a few steps from this marker); Gravestone Art: Skulls, Wings, and Other Symbols (a few steps from this marker); Tombs and Monuments (within shouting distance of this marker); Copp’s Hill and the American Revolution (within shouting distance of this marker); From Colonial Burying Ground to Victorian Park (within shouting distance of this marker); Unusual Gravestones (within shouting distance of this marker); Seventeenth Century Copp’s Hill (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Boston.
More about this marker. The center of the marker contains a map of Copp’s Hill Burying Ground showing signs and certain gravestones and tombs. The bottom of the marker features a picture showing a “South View of Charleston, Mass. Drawn by J. W. Barber. Engraved by S.E. Brown, Boston. Courtesy of the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities.”
The right side of the marker contains Copp’s Hill Facts
• It is estimated that 10,000 – 11,000 burials took place at Copp’s Hill between 1660 and 1968.
• On June 30th, 1704, seven pirates were hung at Copp’s Hill (then known as Broughton’s Hill;) Crowds of people gathered on the hill and in boats on the Charles River to watch the execution.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Take a tour of the markers found in Copp’s Hill Burying Ground.
Also see . . . Copp's Hill Burying Ground. Details of the Freedom Trail from the City of Boston website. (Submitted on May 12, 2009, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.)
Categories. • Cemeteries & Burial Sites • Colonial Era •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on May 12, 2009, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 4,054 times since then and 120 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on May 12, 2009, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.