Copp’s Hill Burying Ground


Portrait by Artist to Come




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Founded in 1659 as North Burying Ground and later named after William Copp, a shoemaker who once owned the land, Copp’s Hill Burying Ground was the cemetery for merchants, artisans, and crafts people who lived in the North End. It is Boston’s largest burial ground.

Notable interred are Cotton Mather and his father Increase Mather, associated with the Salem witch trials; sexton Robert Newman, who hung the lanterns on the night of Paul Revere’s ride; and Edmund Hartt, builder of the USS Constitution.

Because of its height, the British used Copp’s Hll as the vantage point to train their cannons on Charlestown during the Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775.

Part of the Freedom Trail™.

Associated People

More than any other figure who strode across the revolutionary stage, [Joseph] Warren gave his devotion to the American cause simply because he believed in it. Others believed as passionately, of course; but for Samuel Adams political agitation was a profession which had rescued him from a debtors’ prison; James Otis had deep grievances against the royal government because of their mistreatment of his father; John Hancock was a millionaire merchant who made much of his money from smuggling and owed the British Revenue Service over £100,000 in fines; as a lawyer, John Adams was naturally drawn into the political arena. Warren, as a doctor could have remained aloof, as many of his fellow physicians in Boston did. They were the only class in Massachusetts who were not pressured to join the cause.

Thomas Fleming
Now We Are Enemies: The Story of Bunker Hill (1960; reissued 2010)