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Dorchester South Burying Ground

The founding of the cemetery in 1814 occurred on the eve of the Rural Cemetery Movement.

Located in the Lower Mills area of Dorchester, this cemetery was opened in 1814 to alleviate overcrowding in Dorchester North Burying Ground due to the town's rapid expansion in the early nineteenth century. Edmund Baker, of the famous chocolate firm in Lower Mills, headed the committee that purchased the cemetery property. Although the land was part of Dorchester, it was in a sparsely populated area.

In 1835, the burial ground committee began to make site improvements characteristic of the new garden-style cemeteries such as ordered burial lots, winding carriageways, and numerous plantings. Samuel Downer, a prominent businessman and horticulturist who participated in creating Mount Auburn, designed the landscaping of this cemetery as well as Dorchester North Burying Ground, beautifying the grounds with ornamental trees, shrubbery and flowers and creating a botanical-park atmosphere.

Local residents were highly supportive of this undertaking, even donating funds and plants to the cemetery. The majority of the gravemarkers found in this site are made of marble and granite, as is typical of the nineteenth century. An unusual feature of this cemetery is the significant number of monuments it contains. Many Dorchester residents are interred here, as is Henry L. Pierce, mayor of Boston and benefactor of Harvard College.

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