Located just a short walk from the oldest extant Jewish synagogue in the United States, Touro Synagogue (last post), the Touro Jewish Cemetery and stately gate, showcase the significance and position Jewish residents held in Newport, going back to Colonial times. The earliest Jews in Newport arrived from Barbados, where a Jewish community had existed since the 1620s. They were of Spanish and Portuguese origin; their families had migrated from Amsterdam and London to Brazil and then to islands in the Caribbean. After the completion of the synagogue in 1763, the Jewish community in Newport realized the need to acquire land for a Jewish cemetery. Two of the original immigrants, Mordechai Campanal and Moses Pacheco purchased the lot at the corner of what is now Kay and Touro Streets for this purpose. In 1843, the cemetery funded the erection of a cemetery gate and fencing to surround the plot. They hired architect Isaiah Rogers to design the gate, which he took inspiration from his design at Boston’s Granary Burying Ground, completed just two years earlier. The Egyptian Revival gate is a very rare example of the style in the United States. On the granite gate, the torches turned to face downward are an acknowledgement of the ending of life’s flame.
Mount Hope Cemetery in Acton was laid out in 1848 as the third municipal burying ground for the town. Before that, there was a need for a cemetery between the West and South Acton villages, closer to the developing parts of town, without a cemetery of their own. The cemetery was laid out with paths following a grid pattern, with land tapering off towards the rear. The cemetery, used by many prominent families of Acton, was without a chapel for over 50 years until funds were donated by George C. Wright a wealthy resident who lived nearby (featured in the last post). Town officials proceeded to build a small building that was apparently was quite different from the vision that Mr. Wright had for the building, but Mr. Wright generously agreed to accept what had been done and presented it to the town. At the 1909 annual town meeting, the town formally acknowledged the gift. It saw some use as a chapel in the early days, but has since been used for storage and an office for groundskeeping.
As Bristol grew to be a dominant financial center in Rhode Island in the mid 19th century, prominent families there decided that their loved ones (and later themselves) needed a place of beauty to rest eternally. In 1855, descendants of Levi DeWolf, of the infamous slave-trading family, donated 22-acres of land for use as a cemetery. The old Levi DeWolf home remains fronting Hope Street, featured previously as the Reynolds-DeWolf House. It is a fine example of the mid-19th century rural cemetery movement, with winding lanes and paths. The landscape was designed by Niles Bierragaard Schubarth, who had done similar work at other Rhode Island cemeteries. Upon the opening of Juniper Hill, many families relocated their loved ones from other cemeteries in town here, so the families could be interred nearby each-other. The cemetery has three main structures; a gateway, the gate lodge, and a chapel/receiving tomb. The gate is a massive stone archway set at the entry to the cemetery, and was built in 1876 by the Smith Granite Company of Westerly, R.I. The Gate Lodge was built years earlier is located at the side of the entry into the grounds, and is a stone Victorian Gothic Revival building, designed by Providence architect Clifton A. Hall and constructed of granite quarried on the site during construction of the landscape. Yards away, the charming Amory Chapel and Receiving Tomb, built in 1913, is a 1-story stuccoed structure with a tile roof, designed by the firm of Angell & Swift of Providence. The small chapel stands out as it is a rare example of the Spanish Revival style, but has seen better days, and is apparently being used as a tool shed.
Samuel Jones Jr. was born in Hillsboro in 1777. His family was among the first to settle in that town in the 1770s. Jones married Deborah Bradford in 1799, and the couple soon settled in Washington, New Hampshire that next year. Samuel ran a tavern out of the new family house which was built around that time. When he was 27 years old, Jones was helping a friend hoist and move a building on logs, when his leg became was caught and crushed by the building. His friends brought him to his house where he laid on a table awaiting a doctor. This occurred in the days prior to knowledge of anesthesia so his friends and neighbors treated him with whisky or rum. When the leg was removed they decided it should have a “proper burial” so it still rests with its marker in the old cemetery in Washington. Samuel survived the amputation and later moved to Boston, where he worked at the Customs House and later moved to New York where the rest of his body was buried upon his death in 1851.
Walnut Hills Cemetery is located in South Brookline, and covers about 45 acres of rolling hills and mature trees. Paved and unpaved roads and paths wind through the cemetery, following the contours of the terrain. The cemetery is an example of the Rural Cemetery movement which began in 1831 in the United States at Mount Auburn Cemetery. Walnut Hills began in 1874, when the town of Brookline authorized the purchase of land for a new cemetery, as its Old Burying Ground was filling up, it was consecrated a year later. The town retained two landscape architects, Ernest Bowditch and Franklin Copeland, to oversee its layout. Just inside the entry gate, the superintendent’s cottage (1901), designed by Guy Lowell, and the receiving tomb (1901) to a design by Alexander Wadsworth Longfellow, Jr. add much to the bucolic landscape. Of the number of notable burials in the cemetery, the most notable is likely Henry Hobson Richardson, one of the premier architects of the 19th century.
The bell tower at Forest Hills Cemetery is an octagonal Gothic revival structure located on Snowflake Hill just past the entrance gate and administration building and was completed in 1876. The 100-foot tower is constructed of Roxbury puddingstone and trimmed with granite. The roof is clad with granite tiles and topped with an ornate copper weathervane. Originally its swinging bell tolled, but it has since been replaced with an electronic carillon. The bell tower rises dramatically from massive
outcrop of Roxbury puddingstone known as Snowflake Hill which is offset by smooth lawns and Victorian planting beds. While the large trees surrounding partly obscure the tower, it truly is a stunning building.
Forest Hills Cemetery was founded in 1848 by Henry A. S. Dearborn, then mayor of Roxbury. He designed this magnificent cemetery to offer the citizens of his community a place to bury and remember friends and family in a tranquil and lovely setting. Forest Hills embodies the ideals of the rural cemetery movement, which begun at nearby Mount Auburn Cemetery, in Cambridge in 1831, which was co-founded by Dearborn. Many rural cemeteries have elaborate entrance gates, possibly serving as a dramatic transition from the secular world to the spiritual realm of the cemetery, and perhaps as a metaphor for the journey from life to death. This entrance gate was built in 1865, replacing an earlier Egyptian Revival gate constructed in 1848. Designed by Charles Panter, the gate is constructed of local Roxbury puddingstone, with three arched openings with ornate iron gates surmounted by decorative scrolled ironwork. The central gateway is
framed by two conical spires and a central stone pediment, all topped with stone crosses.
While this funerary sculpture is not a building, I couldn’t help but share one of the most captivating graves in New England for Halloween, “The Boy in a Boat”. Louis Ernest Mieusset (1881-1886), just four years old, died of Nephritis, a kidney inflammation and Scarlet Fever. His mother, Madame Louise Mieusset, took every penny she had saved for the boy’s education and put it towards a commission of a funerary sculpture, depicting her late son’s playful spirit. Madame Mieusset worked as a hat-maker in Boston, barely scraping by until her death in the 1930s. She died penniless, and wished to be buried near her beloved son, but she did not have enough money set aside to be interred in the cemetery and was set to be buried in a pauper’s lot, until (legend says) Boston Mayor James Curley paid her burial expenses, allowing for her eternal rest with her late son Louis. The sculpture is carved of white marble and depicts Louis playing in a boat with a tennis racket in one hand and a shell in another. The funerary sculpture is enclosed in a bronze and glass vitrine to protect it as the marble was believed to be too soft to stand up to weathering, the artist is unknown.
The Brookside Cemetery in Chester, Vermont has its first burials in 1770. At historic cemeteries in New England, outbuildings were required to meet the needs of the dead. The building on the lower left was constructed in 1830 as a “hearse house”, which was used to store the horse-drawn funeral coach. The hearse would pick up bodies from homes or elsewhere in coffins and transport them to the cemetery for burial. The stone building was a public tomb, built in 1850 and used to store bodies and coffins during the winter months when the ground is too hard to dig. The building is likely stone to prevent smell from escaping and retain the cold temperatures.
In front of the cemetery, a bronze statue of a Civil War soldier stands with a rifle above a piece of Chester granite. The granite is inscribed with names of local men who served and lost their lives in the war, fighting for the Union cause. The monument was dedicated Memorial Day in 1885.