A Tale of Two Cemeteries: Examining Nineteenth-Century Cemetery Relocations in Roxbury, Massachusetts

Author(s): John Kelly; Holly Herbster

Year: 2020


This is an abstract from the session entitled "Reinterpreting New England’s Past For the Future" , at the 2020 annual meeting of the Society for Historical Archaeology.

The Kearsarge-Warren Avenue Cemetery and the St. Joseph’s Cemetery were nineteenth-century burial grounds located approximately one-third of a mile apart in the Roxbury section of Boston. Both were in use for several decades: Kearsarge-Warren Avenue from 1818 to 1883 as a Protestant parish and later a City-owned cemetery, and St. Joseph’s from ca. 1848 to ca. 1884 as a Catholic parish cemetery. Both were supposedly relocated by the beginning of the twentieth century. Recent work by PAL revealed that few of the interred were actually relocated despite the removal of markers and tombs, the cemeteries’ disappearance on city maps, and collective memory that they had been moved. The unexpected presence of graves at both sites caused construction delays and unanticipated costs. We examine the implications of these sites for reported nineteenth-century cemetery relocations, and clues researchers might find that would suggest cemeteries and buried individuals were forgotten rather than moved.

Cite this Record

A Tale of Two Cemeteries: Examining Nineteenth-Century Cemetery Relocations in Roxbury, Massachusetts. John Kelly, Holly Herbster. 2020 ( tDAR id: 457488)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections


boston Cemeteries Relocations

Geographic Keywords
United States of America

Temporal Keywords
19th Century

Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 486