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

The Americans ... revolted not to create but to maintain their freedom. American society had developed differently from that of the Old World. From the time of the first settlements in the seventeenth century, wrote Samuel Williams in 1794, every thing tended to produce, and to establish the spirit of freedom. While the speculative philosophers of Europe were laboriously searching their minds in an effort to decide the first principles of liberty, the Americans had come to experience vividly that liberty in their everyday lives.

Gordon S. Wood
The Idea of America: Reflections on the Birth of the United States (2011)