Record of Removal of 178 Bodies from Tombs in rear of First Unitarian Church – September 1910

Note: This is transcribed exactly as it appears in the official records. References to “the Old Town Cemetery” are references to Rumney Marsh Burial Ground.

The Cary tomb contained 14 bodies and they were in far better condition than any of the others, which was due, I believe, to the construction of the tomb. Following is a copy of names, furnished by Mr. Chas. P. Curtis, who supervised the removal of same.

  • Henry Cary, died Feb. 15, 1885, aged 66 years.
  • Robert H. Cary, born 1794, died Oct. 26, 1867, aged 92 years, 7 months, 9 days,
  • Anne Montague Cary, born in Grenada, W.I., Jun. 28, 1787, died at Chelsea , Mass., March 29, 1882.
  • Henry Cary of New York, United States of America, b. 1785, died in Florence, Italy, August 18, 1857, aged 72 years, 34 days.
  • George B. Cary, Jr. died Dec. 23, 1846, aged 22 years.
  • Charles Spooner Cary, died Jan. 17, 1854, aged 17 years.
  • Harriet Cary, Oct. 11, 1852, aged 46 years.
  • Charles Paine Cary, died November 2, 1851 (or 1854), aged 12 years.
  • Sarah Cary, born 1753, died August 1825, aged 72 years.
  • Charles Spooner Cary, born 1778, died July 19, 1886, aged 88 years.

Besides these, there were three coffins with no plates on them. One was a large adult male, in the left hand further corner of the vault, upper tier; another was a female, on the right hand part of the vault, next to the wall, upper tier; another had had a post mortem examination. All three of those coffins would seem to have been in the vault for at least 50 years, so the undertaker said. There was also a heavy iron casket which the undertaker said he had been told had come from abroad about 50 years ago. There was no name plate on it; we think it may have been Lucius Cary who died abroad. We know from the records that Margaret Graves Cary, born 1775, died 1868, was buried in the vault, so one of the bodies without a name may be thus identified as hers; also Samuel Cary, born 1742, died 1812, was probably one of the others; and Harriet Cary, born 1790, died 1873, the third.

(Note: Shurtleff’s History of Revere adds “three children with no plates on their caskets” to this list of Carys. He also notes that “there was a gravestone placed in the ground on top of the tomb for Henry Cary who died in Italy.” This gravestone does not appear to have made it to RMBG.)

  • 12 new boxes were used, 2 bodies were buried in original boxes, The grave is to be marked by a private stone marker, to be bought and paid for by Mr. Chas. Curtis.

The Cheever and Harris Tomb contained 22 bodies, 15 adults and 7 children. The remains of the following:

  • Joseph Harris, died April 24, 1864.
  • Mary Harris, died May 10, 1834.
  • Elizabeth Harris, died September 21, 1861.
  • Polly Harris, died 1837.
  • Giles D.S. Harris, died April 15, 1826.
  • William Harris, died April 13, 1826.
  • Daniel S. Harris, died July 6, 1835.

were removed to Mt. Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge by Mr. Sanborn by the order of the descendants. Elizabeth Cheever (no date), Harriet Cheever, died November 7, 1835 aged 44 years, and 14 others, without plates or identification, were buried in the old Town Cemetery.

  • 14 boxes were used, placed in one Cary grave and marked Cheever and Harris Tomb.
The lot diagram card for the Harris lot at Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, courtesy of their Research Department.

In the Copeland Tomb there were 23 bodies. The contents of this tomb were removed to Woodlawn Cemetery, Everett, except the body of Thomas Neal, who was interred in the Town Cemetery. The only identified remains were those of

  • Mary E. Copeland, died May 2, 1870, aged 23 years.
  • Seth Copeland, died July 23, 1867, aged 82 years.
  • Eliza Copeland, died Dec. 30, 1847, aged 26 years.
  • John H. Copeland, died June 3, 1865, aged 22 years, 18 days.
  • Seth Copeland, died Aug. 31, 1890, aged 80 years.
  • Susan L. Copeland, died May 21, aged 87 years, 9 months.
  • Two large boxes were used for bodies buried in Woodlawn. One box was used for burial of Thomas Neal and the grave marked Thomas Neal (Note: There is no gravestone for Thomas Neal in RMBG. There is a stone for Daniel A. Neale, 1823-1889, done in the same style as the tomb markers, but any connection is unknown at this time).

The Thomas Pratt Tomb contained 34 bodies. 8 were children. Martha Pratt, died Nov. 1884, aged 54 years; and Grace Pratt, child, were buried in Glenwood Cemetery. Thomas Pratt, a soldier, was buried in the soldiers’ lot in the Old Town Cemetery. Elizabeth Pratt, Samuel Pratt, Edward Pratt, and twenty-eight others, without plates, were buried in the old Town Cemetery, by the direction of the only living descendant, Mr. George H. Pratt.

  • One box was used for bodies buried in Woodlawn (Note: this may be confusion between Woodlawn and Glenwood, which are next to each other in Everett).
  • One box was used for bodies buried in Town Cemetery.
  • One box was used for the body of Thomas Pratt, a soldier.

In the Crooker Tomb there were 12 bodies, 7 adults and 5 children, all were without name plates and were buried in the Old Town Cemetery.

  • 8 boxes were used and buried in one large grave and marked Crooker Tomb.

In the Fenno Tomb were 5 adult bodies. Olive Pratt Fenno, died 1856; John Fenno, died 1835; Amelia C. Fenno, died 1840, were buried in Mrs. Tewksbury’s lot at Woodlawn Cemetery (Note: Shurtleff calls it Joseph Fenno’s lot.). 2 large boxes were used by order of the descendants.

The Staniels Tomb contained 15 bodies, 9 adults and 6 children. Ann Staniels, Thomas Staniels, James Staniels, Jane Staniels, and Frank Staniels. The rest were without name plates and all were buried in the Old Town Cemetery.

  • 11 boxes were used and the grave marked Staniels Tomb (Note: as you can see below the grave is marked STANIELS FAMILY and differs from the other tomb markers.).

In the Hastings Tomb there were 15 bodies and they were removed to Woodlawn Cemetery, by undertaker A.V. Sanborn. The following list was furnished from the family records and but few of the plates were found. 2 boxes were used by order of the family.

  • Sukey L. Hastings, died 1865, Jan, 15.
  • Wm. L. Nye, died November 1869.
  • Lydia I. Hastings, died Aug. 9, 1872.
  • Martha H. Pierce, died Sept. 23, 1879.
  • Helen M. Hastings, died Jan. 21, 1882.
  • John I. Hastings, died Feb. 12, 1882.
  • Ellen M. Hastings, died Aug, 23, 1886.
  • Abijah Hastings, died Aug. 24, 1874.
  • Mary I.D. Hastings, died June 28, 1869.
  • Cornelius W. Hastings, died Dec. 12, 1841.
  • Mrs. Martha Hutchinson, died July 21, 1848.
  • Helen H. Hastings, died Oct. 18, 1843.
  • Edwin Hastings, died July 18, 1848.
  • Edwin A. Hastings, died Sept, 18, 1849.
  • Charles H. Hastings, died Sept. 18, 1853.

The Hall and Atwood Tomb contained one small box of loose bones which were buried in the Old Town Cemetery. This tomb has been open for several years.

  • One box was used and grave marked Hall and Atwood Tomb.

The Pratt and Woods Tomb contained 35 bodies, 17 were children. The only plates found were those of Susanah Huff, Judith Russ, Robert Martain, and Emma Kissock. There was very little left of the bodies in this tomb. The majority were nothing but ashes.

  • 28 boxes were used and grave marked Pratt and Woods Tomb.

Joseph E. Lamb, M.D.
Fred F. Andrews, M.D.

Chairmen, Board of Health.


The following, about an additional Revere tomb, is included in Shurtleff’s History of Revere:

Captain James Stowers, who was born April 14, 1742, built, on his farm, a tomb in which sixty-three of his descendants were buried, the last interment being in 1875. This old tomb could be seen for over one hundred twenty-five years, off from Payson Street in back of the Janvrin Farm. In 1918, the tomb slab was intact but soon after that it was broken and the tomb, demolished by the work of boys. What was left of it was buried out of sight so that now no trace of it can be seen. On the slab at the entrance was the following inscription:

Capt. James Stowers Tomb
Built A.D. 1795

Mrs. Sarah Stowers, Wife of Capt. James Stowers Died Sep. 20 1796 Aged 52 years
Capt. James Stowers Died Nov. 3, 1816 Aged 75 years
Lieut. John Tewksbury Died Oct. 17, 1816 Aged 69 years
Mrs. Lydia Stowers Died July 9, 1824 Aged 69 years
Mrs. Lois Province Died Nov. 25, 1824 Ages 42 years
Mrs. Sarah widow of Lieut. John Tewksbury Died Dec. 26, 1832 Aged 66 years
Mr. Thomas Tewksbury Died Oct. 30, 1827 Aged 40 years

Tis death that ends this Mortal State,
We must obey the call.
The Tomb stands gaping for the great
And ready for the small.

Shurtleff makes no mention of whether or not these remains were relocated. While RMBG does have a gravestone for a Mr. James Stowers who died in 1780 there is no indication of any other members of the Stowers family. Either the records that explain what happened are in an archive somewhere waiting to be discovered or the remains of the people still lay under someone’s backyard in the Payson Street neighborhood.

Transcription and notes by Brendan O’Brien, March 2022. Photographs by same unless otherwise indicated.