Benjamin Franklin once said: “…show me your cemeteries and I will tell you what kind of people you are.”

The olde rumney marsh burial ground certainly lives up to Franklin’s observation. Rumney Marsh Burying Ground is a historic cemetery on Butler Street between Elm and Bixby Streets in Revere, Massachusetts.

The land was originally owned by Samuel Cole. In 1654 William Hasey purchased it; his descendants sold it to Joshua Cheever, Esq. in 1740. Cheever and the town of Chelsea (of which Revere was still part) agreed on March 7, 1743 that the land would be a burying place and he deeded it to the town on December 8, 1751. The first burials on the site were earlier; the first one recorded was the February 6, 1693 burial of Mary Smith, wife of John Smith, who were early tenant farmers in the village of Winnisimmet. The last burial was in 1929.

People buried in the cemetery include:

* Deane Winthrop, son of John Winthrop, governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Deane Winthrop’s House, also on the National Register, is nearby in Winthrop.
* Phillips Payson, the fighting pastor, hero of the Battle of Lexington
* Sixteen slaves
* Veterans of the Colonial, Revolutionary, 1812, and Civil Wars.

The National Register listing shows Joseph Lamson, a member of the artisans from the Malden/Charlestown areas as the architect. Since there are no buildings on the site and the cemetery was active well before the era of landscape architecture, it’s not entirely clear what work he did. The cemetery was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2004.

“…It is now our responsibility.” -Benjamin Franklin.

The RMBGRC is a firm believer in the historical importance and need for the historic landmark’s preservation/renovation.

Information from: The Rumney Marsh Burying Ground DVD, courtesy of Sound and Vision Media, Revere, MA.

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