Myles Standish Burial Ground in Duxbury, Massachusetts is, according to the American Cemetery Association, the oldest maintained cemetery in the United States.
- AKA: Old Burying Ground or Standish Cemetery
- Oldest Maintained Cemetery in the United States
- Final Resting Place of 4 Mayflower Pilgrims
Overview[edit | edit source]
The 1.5-acre (0.61 ha) burying ground is the final resting place of several well-known Pilgrims who arrived on the Mayflower in 1620, including Captain Myles Standish. The site was the location of Duxbury's first meeting house. It was in use from approximately 1638 until 1789 at which point the cemetery was abandoned. It was reclaimed in 1887 by the Duxbury Rural Society, generating a widespread interest in locating the resting place of Duxbury's most famous colonist, Myles Standish. After two exhumations in 1889 and 1891, it was generally agreed that Standish's remains had been located and a memorial was built over his grave site. The Standish grave site memorial is today the most prominent feature in the burying ground.
The burying ground is now owned and maintained by the Town of Duxbury. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2015.
With the meeting house in place by 1638, the burying ground came into use shortly thereafter. The earliest graves were marked with simple fieldstones or wooden markers that have since deteriorated or vanished. It is believed that most of Duxbury's 17th century residents were interred within the burying ground, however, due to the lack of markers, their exact resting places are unknown.
In all, there are approximately 130 marked graves in the cemetery. Tradition suggests that there were once many more and, according to a 19th-century Duxbury resident, it was once possible to "jump from stone to stone from one side of the graveyard to the other." With the disappearance of many stones, the existing markers are now sparsely scattered. The surviving gravestones date mostly from the 1760s and the 1770s. Only 34 stones pre-date 1750.
Noteworthy Burials[edit | edit source]
A[edit | edit source]
Alden Family[edit | edit source]
- John Alden (c1599-1687) - Mayflower Pilgrim
- Deborah Alden (1721-1730) - died age 10
- Priscilla Mullins Alden (1602-1680) - Mayflower Pilgrim
- Johnathan Alden (1633-1697) - oldest gravestone (1697) found in this cemetery. Youngest son of Mayflower pilgrims John and Priscilla.
- Col. John Alden (1682-1739) -
- John Alden (1744-1766) - Casco Bay drowning - age 22
- Mary Alden (1632-1688) - unmarried daughter of pilgrims John and Priscilla.
Arnold Family[edit | edit source]
B[edit | edit source]
- Hannah Briggs Alden (1684-1739) - wife of Col John Alden
D[edit | edit source]
M[edit | edit source]
- Margaret Marshall (1702-1773) - wife of Ichabod Wadsworth and Samuel Foster
P[edit | edit source]
- George Partridge (1690-1768) - father of Duxbury's first US Congressman.
- Hannah Foster Partridge (1694-1778) - thrice widowed
S[edit | edit source]
Sprague Family[edit | edit source]
Soule Family[edit | edit source]
Standish Family[edit | edit source]
- Myles Standish (c1584-1656) - Mayflower Pilgrim and cemetery namesake. A distinctive monument was placed over the alleged site of Myles Standish's grave in 1893. Two exhumations of Standish's remains were undertaken in 1889 and 1891 to determine the location of the Captain's resting place. A third exhumation took place in 1930 to place Standish's remains in a hermetically sealed chamber beneath the grave-site monument.
- Sarah Alden Standish (1627-1674) - daughter of Mayflower pilrims John and Priscilla, married son of Captain Myles Standish.
W[edit | edit source]
- Grace Cole Wadsworth (1607-1688) - English immigrant to early Plymouth Colony, wife of 1st constable.
- Ichabod Wadsworth (1685-1746)
- Eliphas Weston (1710-1762) - and his son Joshua Weston (1768-1762) who both died in a fierce snowstorm.
- Ichabod Wiswall (1637-1700) - 3rd pastor of the Duxbury Church and second oldest gravestone found here.
References[edit | edit source]
- Cemetery Website - City of Duxbury MA.
- Wikipedia:Myles Standish Burial Ground
- Tour Historic Duxbury MA - Notable Families of Duxbury
- History of the Town of Duxbury MA - Free on Google Books
- Alden Family Kindred Society
- Myles Standish Monument History
- FindAGrave Cemetery #640829 - Myles Standish Burial Ground
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