Old Burying Ground

Photo added by John Glassford

Old Burying Ground

Pleasant Street
Stoneham, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, 02180 USA
Phone 781-438-0760
Memorials 363 added (88% photographed)

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The Old Burying Ground was established in 1726 in conjunction with the founding of the town. As early as 1645, European settlers came to what was then known as “Charlestown End” to set up farms. By 1724, approximately 250 individuals lived in Charlestown End, but continued to attend meeting houses in Charlestown and South Reading (to the north, now Wakefield). In the following year, 54 men petitioned the General Court when Charlestown would not allow the area to be set off as a separate town. The request was granted, and the township of Stoneham was established. By 1726, the Town had acquired ¼ acre for a burying ground from James Hay lying “on the plain near a bridge on the West side of it by a Steep Hill in said Hay’s land.” The first legally recorded burial took place in 1728, although claims have been made that at least one earlier burial took place (this has not been recorded in Stoneham’s vital records). In its first 30 years, the Town interred thirty known individuals in the Old Burying Ground, and in 1758, they enlarged the site by ¾ acre through a generous donation from the same James Hay. The property has remained this size ever since.

The Old Burying Ground remained Stoneham’s only public place of interment until the 1840s, and as a result, the majority of interments took place during the Burying Ground’s first 120 years. Stoneham’s first and fifth ministers were interred in the Burying Ground in this early period. The Rev. James Osgood was called from Salem to serve in 1728 and remained until his death in 1746, and Rev. John H. Stevens was called from Methuen in 1795 and served for 32 years. By 1850, Stoneham’s population, which had previously numbered in the 100s, reached 2085. Larger-scale industries had emerged, including a large shoe manufacturing operation, attracting a growing workforce. With the opening of the William Street Cemetery in 1844, and the Lindenwood Cemetery in 1861, use of the Old Burying Ground slowed significantly. The last interment, the burial of Stoneham librarian Sarah Lynde, took place in 1924.

In 1942, the Veterans Graves Registration Project of the Works Progress Administration came to Stoneham, and its workers prepared a map of the Old Burying Ground, identifying the location of veterans. Three fought in the French and Indian War, 31 in the Revolutionary War, three in the War of 1812, and two in the Civil War (one of which was an army nurse). Fourteen of the Revolutionary War soldiers are listed in the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution. Capt. Samuel Sprague and Major William Wilson have significant histories.

The cemetery sits on 1.09 acres. The earliest death date is 1728, the latest 1924. This Cemetery is closed for interments and is opened by prior request to the Department of Public Works. No activity of any kind is allowed in the Cemetery without permission of the town.

The Massachusetts Historical Commission refers to this cemetery in MACRIS as STN.800 Old Burying Ground.

This cemetery is referred to as GR1 Old Burying Ground in the "Vital Records of Stoneham Massachusetts to the end of the year 1849."


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GPS Coordinates: 42.48172, -71.09587

  • Added: 10 Aug 2004
  • Find A Grave Cemetery: #1990369