Granary Burial Ground

Posted by blogger in Boston Ghost Tours
Granary Burial Ground - Photo

The Granary Burial Ground was first established in the year 1660. Since then, some of the most notable citizens have been laid to rest here. It was named this due to the 12,000-bushel storage building used for grain that was located next door. This is a historic burying ground that has about 2,300 markers.

There are many notable people buried here including Paul Revere and three signers of the Declaration of Independence. It is said that there are about five thousand people buried here, however, there are only 2,345 markers. This means that there are many unaccounted graves. The cemetery also has five people who died during the Boston Massacre.


This was the third cemetery that Boston had. The cemetery was not there until 1660. They had come up with this cemetery because the first cemetery, which was located to the east, was not large enough for the population. Boston’s population was growing quickly at this time. Up until 1737, this area was named the south burying ground.  It was after this that it took the name it has today due to the building which stood near the site. The building still stands there today. In May of 1830, there were trees planted in the area. This was an attempt to help rename it the Franklin Cemetery. This would be to honor Benjamin Franklin. However, all these efforts failed.

The Boston Common was part of the grounds. This was an entire block in Boston at the time. Buildings were installed on the southwestern portion of the Common about two years after the cemetery was established. This was when the Granary was built and a correction house. Housing could be found on the northern part of the block.

At first, tombs were put near the back of the cemetery. Tombs were placed near the back because the Puritan religion. This religion did not believe in using icons or imagery for death. This is why people began using headstones or tombstones. This was an artistic expression that people could use as an outlet about their beliefs. The most popular items were a skull, death’s hand, and Soul Effigy.  It was established in 1717 that the grounds needed to be enlarged. To successfully enlarge the grounds, part of the highway would be taken on the east side of the Common.  In 1720, the enlargement took place. It was then that fifteen tombs were produced as well as assigned to many Boston families.

There were very large elms in front of the burial grounds on Tremont Street. These were installed in 1762. However, there were many improvements made after the installation of the elms. There were a number of trees planted to help improve the land. There were eleven trees planted. These trees were planted by Major Adino Paddock and Jon Ballard. The trees were ten feet around by 1856. The shade that the trees provide is on a pathway. This pathway is known as Paddock’s Mall.

The cemetery was devoid of trees until the year 1830. This was when the city decided to plant and make the natural surrounding better. Ten years after this, a man named Isaiah Rogers had designed the fence and gate that surrounds the cemetery. He was commissioned to design this. The fence that was installed is identical to the one he installed on a later project.

However, even with that said, in January of 2009, a crypt was discovered. This crypt was discovered because a tourist was walking through the area and fell into the ground. The stairway to the crypt was previously covered with slate. However, with the old age and weathering, it gave way. It is believed that this was the resting place of Jonathan Armitage.


Monuments and Memorials

An obelisk was introduced in 1827 for the relatives and parents of Benjamin Franklin. Benjamin Franklin was born in Boston; however, he was put to rest in Philadelphia. Josiah Franklin, Ben’s father, Abiah, Ben’s mother, and Josiah’s second wife are all remembered by this monument. It is made of granite and it was used to replace the headstones that were in very poor condition. The memorial was finished in June of 1827.

The next oldest memorial lies fairly close to the Franklin memorial. It is memorializing Wakefield. Wakefield’s first name is John. He was 52 years old when he died. He passed in June of 1667. They do not know why it took several years for the monument to be established after the burying grounds were established. However, the oldest stone is from children of the Neal family. This dates back to 1666.

The Tremont Street entrance is where the ashes of many American casualties are located. These are the people who had passed during the Boston Massacre. This took place in 1770 on March 5. These grave markers were moved in the 1800s. They had moved them into straight lines to help modernize. They were conforming to the ideas of the nineteenth century.

Paranormal Activities

It is said that this cemetery is one of the most visited cemeteries in the city. This is because it is also one of the most haunted places in the city. This cemetery is very important to the city’s heritage and holds a lot of historical importance. Plus, many notable and famous individuals are buried here. Benjamin Franklin’s family even is laid to rest here.

There are incredible different cases of paranormal activity within the cemetery. People have stated that they see apparitions, orbs, floating lights, and even shadow figures. Some people have captured ghosts in photographs that have been taken. There have been paranormal investigators that have had success capturing paranormal activity. The crews that have come to the cemetery have had luck contacting and conversing with the spirits that are in the cemetery. They have seen and talked to spirits that reside there.

Best-Known Stories

A reputable lawyer who was named Otis Jr. Is buried here. He was hit over the head with a bottle during a fight at a bar with another lawyer. He was severely injured. This injury caused him to have issues with his mental capacity. Because of this, he slumped into a very deep depression. He was said to have written a letter to take him from this world in a flash of lightning. Not long after, he was struck by lightning and killed. The body was buried in the cemetery. To this day he presents himself in colonial attire and lingers in the cemetery. He usually presents himself at night, however, he has been known to make his presence known during the day when there are visitors. He does not pose a threat to visitors; he is simply a lonely and depressed man. He is not dangerous and is simply wandering the cemetery.


There are many people buried in the Granary Cemetery. It is home to many famous people who have served our country and done a lot for us. There are beautiful trees and pathways that are installed so people can visit the burial grounds today. Many people visit this area to learn the history of the place and of the infamous people buried there. However, when people visit, they are in for a treat. This place is believed to be haunted by a lawyer. The lawyer is said to haunt the grounds in colonial attire. Many people who visit this cemetery say they feel watched or that they see shadow figures. When people are walking, they may feel like someone is staring over their shoulders as well. However, most of the time people are not lucky enough to see these things. However, with that being said, the most commonly seen item is orbs or balls of light. Many people who take photos will capture orbs on camera.