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City seeks assistance placing historic gravestones

Information found on the stones and in historical sources provide clues, but no definitive answers.

In the archives of the City of Boston’s Historic Burying Grounds Initiative, 11 fully intact gravestones lie ready to be placed in the correct burying ground. We’re looking for historians, researchers, and genealogists who may have records that indicate where the person was originally interred. If you have information that could help, please contact

The gravestones and fragments were removed from the site over several decades during the 20th century. Some gravestones had fallen over and others had previously broken and the fragments were lying on the ground. They were removed in order to save the gravestones from further deterioration or theft, in the hopes they could be repaired at a later date and put back in the site. Some of the gravestones were not well labeled, or the labels had deteriorated.

Some gravestones were returned to us a few years ago from storage at the Bostonian Society. They had been found during street repair work downtown and were given to the Bostonian Society for safekeeping. An article from the Boston Daily Globe from September 14, 1907 describes how many gravestones were "unearthed during the past 75 years  in various places in the business section of the City." These gravestones were used "to make covers for cesspools, wells, and chimneys."

List of names with accompanying data:

Ralph Hewes, died 11/3/1692 in Boston.

Ralph Hewes Gravestone

Edward Lillie, Sr., died 12/27/1688 in Boston.

Edward Lillie Gravestone

Andrew Tyler, son of William and Sarah Tyler, died 2/15/1726-7. He was born in Boston and baptized at the Old South Church.

Andrew Tyler Gravestone

James Beighton, son of James and Elizabeth Beighton, aged 16 months, died 11/14/1726. Clue: there are two people with the surname Beighton in Dorchester North Burying Ground.

James Beighton Gravestone

James Hatch, son of James and Mary Hatch, aged 18 months, died 10/30/1753. He was born in Boston and baptized in the Old South Church.

James Hatch gravestone

Elizabeth Harlow, daughter of Eleazer and Elizabeth Harlow, died 4/6/1762.

Elizabeth Harlow gravestone

Abigail Keech, daughter to John and Abigail Keech, aged 10 weeks, died 8/26/1684. She was born in Boston.

Abigail Keech gravestone

Lydia Story, wife of Elisha Story, aged 31 years, died 7/21/1713. Clue: her husband had a Charlestown connection.

Lydia Story gravestone

Edward Buckby, son to Edward and Sarah, died Sep. 26 ,1717. His parents were married in Boston in July of 1714.

Edward Buckby gravestone

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