History of Rumney Marsh Burying Ground

Ye Olde Rumney Marsh Burying Ground

This First Period cemetery serves as the final resting place for settlers of what was once the village of Rumney Marsh, settled in 1630 and named after Romney Marsh, a wetland area in south-east England. The first recorded internment was in 1693, the last in 1929. Here lie buried numerous veterans of the Colonial, Revolutionary, and Civil Wars, as well as the War of 1812.

Rumney Marsh Burying ground sat on the north edge of the Cole Farm, which was purchased by William Hasey in 1654. His sons William and Joseph were some of the first to be buried here. In 1740, the Hasey family sold Rumney Marsh Burying Ground to the Cheever Family and in 1748, RMBG was bequeathed to the town of Revere.

Historically important gravestone styles and motifs of RMBG:

Dark Slate, Marble, Limestone and Granite are the types of stones that are located in the burying ground. Winged skull motifs were prominent on gravestones of the late 17th century, and persisted into the 18th century. Winged cherubs gradually replaced the skulls in the mid 18th century, and they were in turn replaced by the willow and urn. Stylized borders featuring fruit, leaf, and floral motifs were also common.

Some significant people buried in RMBG:

  • 7 veterans of the Colonial Wars.
  • 20 veterans of the Revolutionary War.
  • 4 veterans of the War of 1812.
  • 13 veterans of the Civil War.
  • Dean Winthrop, son of John Winthrop, the third governor of Massachusetts
  • Rev. Phillip Payson, the “Fighting Pastor” of the Revolutionary War. Reverend Payson was also known for his advocacy for separation of church and state during the writing of the constitution.
  • 16 slaves. Their graves are unmarked but they are forever memorialized on two plaques that mark their burials along the north wall.
  • Samuel and Sarah Cary, successful merchants and owners of the Bellingham / Cary House in Chelsea
  • Sarah Doolittle Floyd, whose husband John was among the accused in the Salem Witch Hysteria

Some additional facts about RMBG and Revere, MA:

  • It is the resting place of 545 of Revere‚Äôs earliest settlers
  • The 3 x 2 wall was built as a WPA project from the 1930s.
  • The inscriptions are facing west and bodies east towards the rising sun.
  • In 1739, Rumney Marsh was considered a part of Chelsea and became a part of North Chelsea in 1846. In 1871, the name was officially changed to Revere.

Information from: The Rumney Marsh Burying Ground DVD, courtesy of Sound and Vision Media, Revere, MA. and The History of Revere (1938) by Benjamin Shurtleff.

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