I gave the guy with the booklets two bucks, just because. They were cheap, amateurish photocopies of grave sites at the Old Granary Burying Ground on Tremont Street in Boston, and this guy stood at the gate, asking only that they be returned on our way out. There was a note inside, though, suggesting donations to pay for the pursuit of history, or heroin maybe. I opted for history; he looked like maybe he could like history.
And there was history, if a little dusty. Over 2000 graves are in the Granary, and maybe twice that many, who knows? Samuel Adams. John Hancock. Benjamin Franklin’s parents. Victims of the Boston Massacre, including Crispus Attucks. And Paul Revere, who had a nice marker that I posed by while Cameron took a picture, which I
can’t load onto this site for some reason. You’ll live. See update below.
Paul Revere wasn’t particularly famous during his lifetime, or for 50 years following his death, until Longfellow immortalized him, and his ride, in verse, giving him the lion’s share of credit for what was really a community project, although he certainly rode and did his part. Props to Paul, then, but I’m just saying. Poetry and history; something’s going to give with that combination.
(And surely he never said, “The British are coming!” He was British. But these are little things.)
The graveyard was a little spooky; it looked like The Haunted Mansion at Disneyland, and the clouds had started to make an appearance by the time Cameron and I walked through the gate. And I wonder how much of Paul Revere remains anyway, after two centuries, although I haven’t researched this. Still, it was awesome, reading the stones, some from the 17th century, and imagining. I see dead people, etc.
I highly recommend it, if you’re in the area. It set the mood for the rest of my afternoon, a long walk that ended in the North End, home to a million Italian restaurants and Mr. Revere’s house, which apparently has been painted. The cobblestone has buckled in places, but the buildings look in amazingly good shape, and it was only a short walk to Christ Church, the Old North Church, where sexton Robert Newman carried two lanterns to the steeple at the direction of a silversmith and patriot, a little light at midnight, signaling that the soldiers were crossing the river to Lexington, letting history know that things were about to get lively.
(more to come)