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Cole's Hill
NHL plaque on Cole's Hill with Plymouth Bay in background, 2008



Cole's Hill is located in Massachusetts
Location: Carver Street, Plymouth, Massachusetts
Coordinates: 41°57′27″N 70°39′46″W / 41.9575, -70.66278Coordinates: 41°57′27″N 70°39′46″W / 41.9575, -70.66278
Built: 1620
Governing body: Private
NRHP Reference#: 66000142
Significant dates
Added to NRHP: October 15, 1966[1]
Designated NHL: October 9, 1960[2]

Cole's Hill is a National Historic Landmark containing the first cemetery used by the Pilgrims in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1620. The hill is located on Carver Street near the foot of Leyden Street and across the street from Plymouth Rock.

History[edit | edit source]

The Pilgrims built their first houses on Leyden Street rising from the side of Cole's Hill to Burial Hill, and the hill was used in 1620-1621 as a burial ground during their first winter in New England. The Pilgrims built their original fort on nearby Burial Hill where several Pilgrims were later buried. The nearby fort housed the original First Parish Church in Plymouth and the Plymouth General Court. Cole's Hill was named after either the tavern owner James Cole (1600-1692) who arrived in Plymouth in 1633 or John Cole who purchased the hill around 1697.[3]

Cole's Hill was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1960. Sitting atop the hill is a large statue of Massasoit and a monument containing the remains of Pilgrims who succumbed during the first winter in 1620-21.[2][4]

Memorial Sarcophagus[edit | edit source]

Colesma2017a.jpg

Known as the "Sarcophagus," this 9'8" x 4'4" x 6'5" granite tomb was created in 1921 at the base of Cole's Hill. It is the final resting place of the bones of the Pilgrims who died the first winter. Their names are listed on one side.

The inscription on the Sarcophagus WEST SIDE reads:

THIS MONUMENT MARKS THE FIRST BURYING GROUND / IN PLYMOUTH OF THE PASSENGERS OF THE MAYFLOWER. / HERE UNDER COVER OF DARKNESS THE FAST DWINDLING COMPANY / LAID THEIR DEAD LEVELING THE EARTH ABOVE THEM LEST THE / INDIANS SHOULD LEARN HOW MANY WERE THE GRAVES. / READER! HISTORY RECORDS NO NOBLER VENTURE FOR FAITH / AND FREEDOM THAN THAT OF THIS PILGRIM BAND. IN WEARINESS / AND PAINFULNESS, IN WATCHINGS OFTEN IN HUNGER AND COLD / THEY LAID THE FOUNDATIONS OF A STATE WHEREIN EVERY MAN / THROUGH COUNTLESS AGES, SHOULD HAVE LIBERTY TO WORSHIP / GOD IN HIS OWN WAY. MAY THEIR EXAMPLE INSPIRE THEE TO DO / THY PART IN PERPETUATING AND SPREADING THE LOFTY IDEALS / OF OUR REPUBLIC THROUGHOUT THE WORLD.

The North side reads:

THE BONES OF THE PILGRIMS / FOUND AT VARIOUS TIMES IN / AND NEAR THIS ENCLOSURE / AND INTERRED FOR MANY / YEARS IN THE CANOPY OVER / THE ROCK WERE REMOVED AT / THE TIME OF THE TERCENTENARY / CELEBRATION AND ARE DEPOSITED / WITHIN THIS MONUMENT / ERECTED BY THE GENERAL SOCIEY / OF MAYFLOWER DESCENDANTS / A.D. 1920


The South side has a part of a quote from William Bradford found in his history Of Plymouth Plantation between his list of passengers and their increasings/decreasings: ABOUTE A HUNDRED SOWLS / CAME OVER IN THE FIRST / SHIP AND BEGAN THIS WORKE / WHICH GOD OF HIS GOODNESS / HATH


East Side List of Pilgrim Names[edit | edit source]

The long East side states: OF THE ONE HUNDRED AND FOUR PASSENGERS / THESE DIED IN PLYMOUTH DURING THE FIRST YEAR. The names of the dead are listed alphabetically in four columns, starting with John Allerton and ending with Elizabeth, first wife of Edward Winslow.

List A[edit | edit source]

Colesma2017b.jpg

  1. John Allerton
  2. Mary FIRST WIFE OF ISAAC ALLERTON
  3. Richard Britteridge
  4. Robert Carter
  5. John Carver AND
  6. Katharine HIS WIFE
  7. James Chilton's Wife
  8. John Crakston SR
  9. Sarah FIRST WIFE OF FRANCIS EATON

List B[edit | edit source]

  1. Thomas English
  2. Moses Fletcher
  3. Edward Fuller
  4. AND HIS WIFE
  5. John Goodman
  6. William Holbreck
  7. John Hooke
  8. John Langmore
  9. Edmond Margeson
  10. Christopher Martin
  11. AND HIS WIFE
  12. Degory Priest
  13. Thomas Williams

List C[edit | edit source]

Colesma2017c.jpg

  1. Ellen More
  2. Mary More
  3. William Mullins
  4. Alice Brown
  5. JOSEPH THEIR SON
  6. Solomon Prower
  7. John Rigdale AND
  8. ALICE HIS WIFE
  9. Rose First Wife of Myles Standish (c1584-1656)
  10. Elias Story

List D[edit | edit source]

  1. Edward Tilley AND
  2. ANN HIS WIFE
  3. John Tilley AND
  4. HIS WIFE
  5. Thomas Tinker
  6. HIS WIFE
  7. AND SON
  8. John Turner
  9. AND TWO SONS
  10. AND TWO SONS
  11. William White
  12. Roger Wilder
  13. Elizabeth FIRST WIFE OF Edward Winslow

See also[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

Images[edit | edit source]


References[edit | edit source]

Mayflower 2016a.jpg

  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2008-04-15. http://nrhp.focus.nps.gov/natreg/docs/All_Data.html. 
  2. ^ a b "Cole's Hill". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. http://tps.cr.nps.gov/nhl/detail.cfm?ResourceId=69&ResourceType=Site. Retrieved 2008-08-10. 
  3. ^ Pilgrim Hall Website information on James Cole (accessed October 2009)
  4. ^ Polly M. Rettig and Charles E. Shedd (December 10, 1974) National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination: Cole's Hill, National Park Service and Accompanying three photos, from 1974
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