Copp’s Hill Burying Ground


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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

C. Vann Woodward has written of Jefferson, It fell to the lot of one Virginian to define America. It was in his private life that Jefferson defined the relationship between blacks and whites in America, acting out in the most specific sense the psychosexual dilemma of the whole nation. Other great men in history have loved unlettered women, among them Rousseau and Goethe, each of whom lived for years with virtually illiterate mistresses and then in the end married them. But Jefferson’s dilemma was peculiarly American. So savage were the penalties of this kind of love in the New World that he could neither admit it nor defend it without fear of social ostracism, and he had to keep up an elaborate pretense that it did not exist. He could not openly, and perhaps even privately admit his paternity to Sally’s children.

Fawn M. Brodie
Thomas Jefferson: An Intimate History (1974)