Nestled behind the Salem Witch Trials Memorial, is the final resting place for some of the key players of a dark chapter in Salem, and America’s, history. The oldest cemetery in Salem, MA, The Burying Point Cemetery is the home to at least one accused witch, Mary Corey, and a key sinister player in the Salem Witch Trials.
Tour groups and visitors from all over the country walk over sacred graves. While some may find it disrespectful, it is so common place most people don’t bat an eyelash. Most people, except the seemingly still drunk (or under some other chemically induced stupor) college students who feared they were being stalked by a squirrel (that is sadly true), are respectful. Some people leave coins, flowers or other offerings at the graves.
The cemetery is well kept and the vast majority of the visitors are respectful of the tenants there. The one thing I find to be a little weird, besides the obvious weirdness of walking around a cemetery as though it was an “attraction”, was the “haunted house” located feet away from the cemetery. I’m generally not one to care either way, but it still felt odd hearing ghastly screams and people ordering hot apple cider while we stroll along the cemetery.
Although many headstones are difficult to read, it is worth observing that many of them show the female deceased as the “wife of…” Just another sign of the times.
There are some popular people buried in Burying Point Cemetery. Mary Corey, one of the accused witches who was hanged, is buried there. I could not locate her grave.
There is one notable exception of Salem at The Burying Point. While many of his relatives reside in the cemetery of the overly commercialized town of Salem, Nathaniel Hawthorne is not buried in Burying Point. Instead he rests in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Concord, Massachusetts.
The storied feud of Nathaniel Hawthorne and his ancestors is of legend. Just to recap, John Hathorne, a Salem magistrate, was appointed by the then Governor Sir William Phips to be a judge in the Salem Witch Trials. However, during the trials, he acted more like a prosecutor than a judge. He would often presume the guilt of an accused witch and demand they confess to witchcraft as well as pressuring accused witches to name other witches after they were inevitably found guilty or they confessed under pressure of Hathorne and his court. He became known as a “hanging judge”.
In light of his ancestors misdeeds, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Judge Hathorne’s great grandson, would change his name by adding a “w” after the “Ha” in his last name and he would distance himself farther from Judge Hathorne by penning The Scarlet Letterand speaking out against the deeds of his ancestor.
Judge William Hathorne’s grave is on the left in this photo, next to his son’s much larger gravestone. No one left anything on his gravestone.
I wanted to thank everyone who reads, likes and leaves comments on my blogs. It is appreciated. I also wanted to mention that I have begun (resumed) blogging as Mr.Wayne after a fairly long hiatus. I have always been a writer at heart and, after being inspired by so many wonderful blogs on wordpress, I have decided to resume my written blogs again, in addition to my photoblogs. Please view my most recent post What Could Have Been. Thank you.