Historic Cemeteries in Salem, Massachusetts

Salem, Massachusetts is a historic town with a handful of historic cemeteries. The city has a total of five public cemeteries and three private cemeteries, most of which were established in the colonial period.

The following is a list of historic cemeteries in Salem, Mass:

Old Burying Point Cemetery:

Address: 51 Charter Street

Established in 1637, the Old Burying Point Cemetery, also known as the Charter Street Cemetery, is the oldest cemetery is Salem. The cemetery is 1.47 acres in size and has approximately 700 headstones. The oldest headstone is from 1673.

Old Burying Point Cemetery, Salem, Mass
Old Burying Point Cemetery, Salem, Mass

Many notable people are buried in this cemetery, such as Salem Witch Trials Judge John Hawthorne, Mayflower passenger Captain Richard More, architect Samuel McIntire, Governor Simon Bradstreet, Chief Justice Benjamin Lynde and Reverend John Higginson.

The cemetery is located next door to the historic Grimshawe House as well as the Salem Witch Trials Memorial.

The cemetery is open to the public from dawn to dusk.

Broad Street Cemetery:

Address: 5 Broad Street

Established in 1655, the Broad Street Cemetery is the second oldest cemetery in Salem.

The cemetery is 2.69 acres in size with approximately 684 headstones. The oldest headstone is from 1684 and the latest headstone is from 1988.

Many notable people of the Salem Witch Trials are buried here, such as Sheriff George Corwin and his brother Judge Jonathan Corwin as well as a large number of Revolutionary War veterans, like Colonel Timothy Pickering, and Civil War veterans.

The cemetery is open to the public from dawn to dusk.

Friends Burial Ground / Essex St. Cemetery:

Address: 396 1/2 Essex Street

Established in 1702, the Friends Burial Ground is a historic Quaker cemetery located at the site of the Society of Friend’s second meeting house.

The cemetery contains the graves of local Quakers as well as Quakers from Boston whose remains were removed and sent to the cemetery so they could rest undisturbed.

The gate to the cemetery is locked and visitors are not allowed inside unless they contact the city government and request access.

St. Peter’s Church Burying Ground:

Address: 24 Peter Street

Established in 1733, the St. Peter’s Church Burying Ground is a historic privately-owned Anglican cemetery that belonged to the first Anglican church in Salem, St. Peter’s Episcopal Church.

The church was established in 1733, on land donated by accused witch Philip English, and was originally a small wooden church surrounded by its cemetery.

When the small wooden church was replaced with a large stone church around 1845, the new church was built on top of many of the existing graves, including Philip English’s grave, displacing many of the graves and making the remaining cemetery small and crowded.

Howard Street Cemetery:

Address: 29 Howard Street

Established in 1801, the Howard Street Cemetery is a historic cemetery located next door to the old Salem jail. Many local ship captains, Irish immigrants and Revolutionary and Civil War veterans are buried in the cemetery.

The cemetery is 2.5 acres in size with 1,100 headstone. The oldest headstone is from 1801 and the latest headstone is from the 1950s.

The Howard Street Cemetery, Salem, Mass, circa 2012. Photo Credit: Rebecca Brooks
The Howard Street Cemetery, Salem, Mass, circa 2012. Photo Credit: Rebecca Brooks

Before it was a cemetery, it was actually an open field where Salem Witch Trials victims Giles Corey was pressed to death by Sheriff George Corwin in 1692.

The cemetery is open to the public from dawn to dusk.

Greenlawn Cemetery:

Address: 57 Orne Street

Established in 1807, the Greenlawn Cemetery is a historic cemetery located on the grounds of a Victorian-era church, Dickinson Chapel. The cemetery is also a part of the F. Carroll Sargent Arboretum.

Located in the cemetery is a large Civil War memorial, the Henry Merritt Camp Memorial, which was erected in 1886.

The cemetery is 100 acres in size, making it Salem’s largest cemetery.

The cemetery is open to the public from dawn to dusk.

Harmony Grove:

Address: 30 Grove Street

Established in 1840, Harmony Grove is a historic privately-owned cemetery on the grounds of a Gothic Revival chapel, the Blake Memorial Chapel.

The cemetery is about 35 acres in size. Many notable people are buried in the cemetery, including Captain John Bertram, founder of the Salem hospital, Civil War General William Cogswell,

Congressman Jacob Crowninshield, the first mayor of Salem Leverett Saltonstall and George Swinnerton Park, founder of Parker Brothers.

St. Mary’s Cemetery:

Address: 226 North Street

Established in 1849, St. Mary’s Cemetery is a privately-owned Catholic cemetery next door to St. Thomas Church.

Contagious Disease Burial Ground:

Address: Collins Cove

Established sometime in the 18th or 19th century, when a smallpox hospital, an almshouse and the Hospital for Contagious Disease existed on this spot, the cemetery no longer exists except for one slate headstone and an unknown number of unmarked graves.

In 1747, the city built what was known as a “pest house” on this spot, which was a hospital for smallpox patients, and established a small enclosed cemetery for the smallpox patients near the wharf.

In 1799, the pest house was discontinued and an almshouse was built on this spot in 1816.

A town ordinance on the city’s cemeteries, passed in 1841, refers to the cemetery at this location as the “quarantine burial ground on Salem neck” and allowed for new burials to continue there.

In 1884, the Hospital for Contagious Disease was built next to the almshouse and the hospital probably continued to bury its deceased patients in the existing cemetery.

The almshouse was razed in the 1950s and the hospital was razed in the 1980s to make way for the Collins Cove Condominium complex. During construction of the condominiums, at least five headstones were reported to have been uncovered on the grounds but it is not known what happened to these headstones.

The cemetery is located behind the condos and has a footpath leading to it.

If you are interested in learning more about historic sites in Salem, check out this article on the Salem Heritage Trail.

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Historic Cemeteries in Salem, Mass

Sources:
“Salem Reconnaissance Report.” Mass.gov, mass.gov/doc/salem/download
“Cemetery Commission.” Salem.org, salem.com/cemetery-commission
“St. Peter’s Church.” Salem Witch Musem, salemwitchmuseum.com/locations/saint-peters-church/
“Explore.” Friends of Greenlawn Cemetery, friendsofgreenlawn.org/explore_greenlawn/
Luca, Dustin. “Hallowed Ground.” 22 Aug. 2019, salemnews.com/news/local_news/hallowed-ground/article_c893e54a-3e1b-5864-91c7-92bc3a1b89c1.html
“Health.” The Charter of Ordinances of the City of Salem. Ives & Pease, 1853, google.com/books/edition/The_Charter_and_Ordinances_of_the_City_o/7-4ivCaXmykC?hl=en&gbpv=1&dq=charter+and+ordinances+of+the+city+of+salem+1853&printsec=frontcover
Bulletin of the Essex Institute. Salem Press, Vol XIII, 1882, google.com/books/edition/Proceedings_Continued_as_Bulletin/CCIFAAAAQAAJ?hl=en&gbpv=1
“Local Historian and Salem State Alumna Jen Ratliff Discovers Burial Site on Collins Cove.” Salem State University, 28 Jan. 2020, salemstate.edu/news/local-historian-and-salem-state-alumna-jen-ratliff-discovers-burial-site-collins-cove-jan-28-2020
Curely, Jerome. “From Small Pox to Poverty – Salem’s Public Health History.” Salem Patch, 18 May, 2012, patch.com/massachusetts/salem/evolution-of-a-point
Ratliff, Jen. “Almshouse and Hospital for Contagious Disease Burial Ground – Salem Massachusetts.” History by the Sea, historybythesea.com/almshouse-and-hospital-for-contagious

 

About Rebecca Beatrice Brooks

Rebecca Beatrice Brooks is the author and publisher of the History of Massachusetts Blog. Rebecca is a freelance journalist and history lover who got her start in journalism working for small-town newspapers in Massachusetts and New Hampshire after she graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a B.A. in journalism. Visit this site's About page to find out more about Rebecca.

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