boston cemetery

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Sphinx. by Connie Ma

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On the drive to Fairview Cemetery in the Boston neighborhood of Hyde Park, six seniors from Roxbury Latin boys’ school sit in silent reflection. Mike Pojman, the school’s assistant headmaster and senior adviser, says the trip is a massive contrast to the rest of their school day, and to their lives as a whole right now.

Today the teens have volunteered to be pallbearers for a man who died alone in September, and for whom no next of kin was found. He’s being buried in a grave with no tombstone, in a city cemetery.

“To reflect on the fact that there are people, like this gentleman, who probably knew hundreds or thousands of people through his life, and at the end of it there’s nobody there — I think that gets to all of them,” Pojman says. “Some have said, ‘I just gotta make sure that never happens to me.’”

'Today We Are His Family’: Teen Volunteers Mourn Those Who Died Alone

Photos: Kayana Szymczak for NPR

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Boston_cemetery by David Noah

Another Cemetery Hoax, Granary Burying Ground, Boston

Despite what this postcard suggests, Mother Goose is not buried here.

The card says, “Elizabeth Foster, born in Charlestown, Massachusetts in 1665, married Isaac Vergoose - who later shortened his name to Goose.  Her daughter Elizabeth married the printers Thomas Fleet.  After Isaac Goose’s death, she went to live with her daughter, where she would tell rhymes to her grandson.  Fleet published some of these rhymes under the name of “Mother Goose” with a long-necked goose on the title page. She is buried in the Granary Burial Ground in Boston.  In this re-enactment ‘Mother Goose’ read some of her rhymes to a small boy of the period near Mother Goose’s grave.”

In actually, the name on the grave belongs to Mary Goose. Mary was the first wife of Isaac Goose, whose second wife Elizabeth may or may not have been the famous Mother Goose. Legend has it that Elizabeth’s son-in-law collected her stories into Songs for the Nursery, or Mother Goose’s Melodies, but scholars find it suspicious that no copy of the original book survives. Many of the Mother Goose tales date back to France in the late 1600s.

Still, some guidebooks to Boston continue to misidentify the grave and people still stop by on pilgrimage.

The postcard was printed for the American Bicentennial as one of a series of “HISTORAMA’ full-color postcards.  (Emphasis, theirs.)

 

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Granary Burying Ground, Boston, Massachusetts

This is another case where you can’t trust the postcard to be truthful.  This card is labeled “Boston, Mass. Grave of Benjamin Franklin,” but that’s not what it’s a picture of.

Yes, the obelisk says Franklin.  It it actually the grave of Benjamin Franklin’s parents.  I believe he chose the monument to replace the smaller one placed there after their deaths.

Boston wanted him back for eternity, but Franklin himself wanted to be buried in Philadelphia with his children and wife.

This unused postcard dates from the “undivided back” era, when there was only that tiny little margin of space on the postcard’s face for a message, while the entire back was to be used for the address.  These cards date between 1901 and 1907.