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From The American Note-Books of Nathaniel Hawthorne:
A Visit to the Charter Street Burial Ground, Salem, 1838.

In the old burial ground, Charter Street, a slate gravestone, carved round the borders, to the memory of "Colonel John Hathorne, Esq.," who died in 1717. This was the witch-judge. The stone is sunk deep into the earth, and leans forward, and the grass grows very long around it; and, on account of the moss, it was rather difficult to make out the date. Other Hathornes lie buried in a range with him on either side. In a corner of the burial-ground, close under Dr. P----'s garden fence, are the most ancient stones remaining in the graveyard; moss-grown, deeply sunken. One to "Dr. John Swinnerton, Physician," in 1688; another to his wife. There, too, is the grave of Nathaniel Mather, the younger brother of Cotton, and mentioned in the Magnalia as a hard student, and of great promise. "An aged man at nineteen years," saith the gravestone. It affected me deeply, when I had cleared away the grass from the half-buried stone, and read the name. An apple-tree or two hang over these old graves, and throw down the blighted fruit on Nathaniel Mather's grave,--he blighted too. It gives strange ideas, to think how convenient to Dr. P----'s family this burial-ground is,--the monuments standing almost within arm's reach of the side windows of the parlor,--and there being a little gate from the back yard through which we step forth upon those old graves aforesaid. And the tomb of the P. family is right in front, and close to the gate. It is now filled, the last being the refugee Tory, Colonel P----, and his wife. M. P---- has trained flowers over this tomb, on account of her friendly relations with Colonel P----.

It is not, I think, the most ancient families that have tombs,--their ancestry for two or three generations having been reposited in the earth before such a luxury as a tomb was thought of. Men who founded families, and grew rich, a century or so ago, were probably the first.

There is a tomb of the Lyndes, with a slab of slate affixed to the brick masonry on one side, and carved with a coat of arms.

[Courtesy of Eric Eldred. From Eldritch Press's Nathaniel Hawthorne Home Page]




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