The Charter Street Cemetery, which is also known as the Old Burying Point, or the Salem Burying Point, is located at 51 Charter Street in Salem, Massachusetts. Established in 1637, this is Salem’s oldest cemetery. Several notable people are buried in this cemetery, including Governor Simon Bradstreet, Justice John Hathorne, and Samuel McIntire.
Governor Simon Bradstreet
Simon Bradstreet was the Massachusetts Bay Colony’s last governor. Before becoming governor in 1679, he had spent 33 years as a representative of Massachusetts in the New England Confederation. Part of his purpose as governor was to defend the charter of the Colony. This charter gave the Colony the permission to independently function. However, England wanted to revoke the charter, as well as all of the charters in New England.
By 1686, the Massachusetts Bay Colony no longer had a charter, with the rest of New England eventually having their charters revoked as well. The result was a new government known as the Dominion of New England, which only lasted for a short time. Although he was given offers to join the new government, Bradstreet didn’t want to. So, Joseph Dudley took over until Sir Edmund Andros, the Royal Governor, arrived. In 1689, the 84-year-old Bradstreet once again became governor until Sir William Phips arrived in 1692. Bradstreet died at the age of 94 in 1697.
Justice John Hathorne
John Hathorne was a prominent politician and merchant in Salem. His aptitude for politics resulted in him becoming a county judge, as well as Justice of the Peace. Religiousness motivated many of his decisions when he took part in the Salem Witch Trials, since he believed that the devil could work through accused witches to harm people. He and Jonathan Corwin, also a Justice of the Peace, did initial investigations of those suspected of witchcraft. They ordered arrest warrants, and took complaints about those who were accused very seriously. Hathorne died in 1717 at the age of 75. His role in the Salem Witch Trials resulted in his grandson, famous author Nathaniel Hawthorne, not wanting any association with hi, which was why he added a “w” to his name.
Samuel McIntire was a renowned carver and architect in Salem. He began his career as a carpenter and a housewright, his talent attracting the interest of one of Salem’s most successful merchants, Elias Hasket Derby. Over a period of 25 years, McIntire built or renovated houses for Derby and other members of his family, as well as Derby’s ships.
Derby’s patronage was very beneficial to McIntire, who designed and built homes for other wealthy Salem residents such as Simon Forrester and John Gardner. Among other public properties, he also built Hamilton Hall, which is a function hall on Chestnut Street in Salem. As a carver, he incorporated rosettes, sheaths of wheat (his signature carving), and garlands into the homes that he designed or built, as well as the wood surfaces of furniture. McIntire died in 1811 at the age of 54. In 1981, the City of Salem renamed the McIntire Historic District after him.
The Charter Street cemetery has no admission fee, and is open daily from dawn to dusk.
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