The Ye Olde Rumney Marsh Burial Ground Renovation Committee (RMBGRC) is presenting a Guided Tour and scavenger hunt of the only cemetery in Revere on Saturday, Oct. 13, at 10 a.m. Visitors are welcomed to meet at the 44 Butler Street entrance for the free, hour-long program that will explain significant features of the burial ground, its layout, and artwork, such as the winged skulls engraved on headstones.
“We’re enthusiasts who do our best to take care of this remarkable burial ground. It’s a jewel in this community that many people aren’t familiar with,” said Bob Upton, RMBGRC chairman. “We expect it will be an interesting day of history.”
Jeff Pearlman, adjunct professor at Salem State University, and former history teacher in Revere, will lead guests on a walking tour through the Rumney Marsh Burial Ground, where some 450 early settlers – including Deane Winthrop, son of John Winthrop, first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony — are laid to rest.
The first interment on site took place on Feb. 6, 1693, and the last funeral at the Rumney Marsh Burial Ground occurred in 1929. Throughout the cemetery’s long history, more than 44 veterans of the Revolutionary War, Civil War, and War of 1812 have been laid to rest there; as well as 16 slaves buried in unmarked graves along the Butler Street stone wall.
“It’s fascinating history,” Upton said. “There was a smallpox epidemic in the 1600s, and people were prohibited from being buried in the City of Boston, and were buried on this side of the Mystic River.”
The Rumney Marsh Burial Ground Renovation Committee recently received a $5,000 matching state grant to restore and beautify the cemetery. With the assistance of local students and the community, RMBGRC have been cleaning headstones and restoring monuments, such as the stack of cannonballs, and have laid a brick walkway along the grounds.
“They’re a very active group,” described Upton. “Some members take care of the property, and we have others that help with fundraising activities.”
The Committee hopes to raise awareness about the quaint cemetery and offer residents an opportunity to learn about the history of the Rumney Marsh Burial Ground. Following the program, visitors are welcomed to join the RMBGRC for refreshments at the Revere Society for Cultural and Historic Preservation, located at 108 Beach St., Revere.
“The cemetery is in beautiful condition,” Upton added. “It’s being worked on. Many people work hard to keep it clean. We felt that this is a great time of the year. It’s a lovely, little burial ground.”