Another notable family of Revere’s early days is the Eustis family, who lived adjacent to RMBG. There are eleven recorded Eustis burials in RMBG, most of which have stones that are intact and legible. They are as follows:
- Abigail, died 6/27/1736, age 2
- William, died 2/16/1736/7, age 75
- Jonathan, died 9/3/1738, age 62 or 63
- Abigail, died 12/10/1744, age 5
- Sarah, died 6/28/1748, age 81
- Thomas, died 6/28/1752, age 48
- William, died 5/29/1757, age 65
- Abigail, died 8/18/1798, age 91
- Elizabeth, died 9/22/1802, age 52
- William, died in 1818
- Elizabeth, died in 1821
The gravestones of William (1736/7), Sarah, Thomas, Abigail (1798) and Elizabeth (1802) can be found all in a row a little further than halfway back into the cemetery near the Butler Street side. The two young Abigails can be found by walking about halfway down the path from the entrance, turning left and walking a few paces among the graves. Their smaller gravestones can be found among Floyds and Spragues. William (1818) and Elizabeth (1821) are on the “known burials without gravestones” list of 1938, and while Jonathan had a grave as of 1938 it has been lost. The surviving Eustis gravestones display the odd Colonial practice of spelling names as they were heard – one can see Eustis, Eustes, and even Uestis, sometimes with the long colonial S that resembles a lowercase f.
The earliest Eustises in Revere seem to have been William and his wife Sarah (maiden name Cutler) who had ten children. One of their sons, Thomas, married Abigail Chamberlain and they had nine children, among them another William who bought the land adjacent to RMBG in 1805. In 1938 Benjamin Shurtleff described the transaction and the Eustis land:
In January 1805, Joshua Cheever conveyed to William Eustis 2 1/2 acres of his land near the meetinghouse except a strip of land east thereof which was reserved for a burying ground … These 2 1/2 acres formed the Eustis homestead. It was land on the south side of Beach Street at the east of the meetinghouse and joined the land on which the church stood. William Eustis built a house on this piece of land about 1805. The house is still standing and is the one next to the Masonic Temple on the east. On November 18, 1812, he sold to the town for a road to the Cemetery a strip of land between his home and the church.Benjamin Shurtleff’s History of Revere, 1938
It should be no surprise that the current neighborhood is not quite the same as it was in Shurtleff’s era. Eustis Street now runs through what was the Eustis property, and the small section of Cary Ave on the south side of Beach Street may once have been part of the cemetery road William sold to the town. The meetinghouse is now 250 Beach Street, the North Suffolk Mental Health Association. In spite of all the differences William Eustis’ house still stands, just as reported by Shurtleff in 1938. Now a private residence, it sports a large sign proclaiming it the “Olde Eustis House.” The building has undergone renovations, and I’m unsure if any of the original structure still exists or if the house served any other purposes over the years.
Other moments in Eustis history:
In 1709/10 William Eustis joined a group of men in signing a petition against the establishment of a new meetinghouse. Their objections (with the original spellings) were as follows:
1. We are in our infency not able to stand alone but must be upheld.Benjamin Shurtleff’s The History of Revere, 1938
2. Our number is small.
3. We are under great infirmity great divisions being among us.
4. Our incommodeous sittiuation for it .9 or .10 miles distence, that many do now & its likely will chouse to goe to other places adjacent, And where it was offered (1) that at our meting we wanted roume, we answere since maldon ch is setled with a minister we want hearers more than roume. (2) it was objected that our children were in danger to be brought up in ignorence the objection is great, but we should be vary glad to see our children like to goe beyend thire predecessers.
Their petition was unsuccessful and the meetinghouse was built.
In 1775 William Eustis appears on the roll of the Chelsea company under the command of the famous Captain Samuel Sprague. His last name appears on the roll in yet another spelling variation, Eustice.
Thanks to notable Revere history buffs Jeff Pearlman, Ira Novoselsky, and Lou Spagnola for their assistance with this blog.