Thursday, July 14, 2011

Old Burying Point

     Yesterday Ellyn and I walked around Salem, Massachusetts, somehow avoiding all the tacky witch related tourist traps and only touring the Peabody Essex Museum for about two hours. We also went and explored the Old Burying Point Charter Street Cemetery. Ellyn said that this cemetery of 347 recorded souls is the second oldest in the country. It was established in 1637. Some famous people are buried there, including Simon Bradstreet, a royal governor of Massachusetts. Also buried there is the notorious Judge John Hathorne, the man responsible for hanging 19 people during the Salem witch trials. Ellyn explained how Nathaniel Hawthorne, the famous writer of "The House of Seven Gables," changed the spelling of his name to dis-associate himself from his distant Hathorne relatives. Other frequently found surnames in the cemetery include Bowditch, Gardiner, Crownsfield, Pickman, and Peele. Ellyn and I also noted that common female names were Elizabeth, Abigal, and Sarah. Most fascinating was the varied decor on some of the gravestones--- grip reapers, skeletons, willow trees, angels, cherubs, and urns.

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