South Burying Place


A block and a half down Main Street from Old Hill, at the intersection of Keyes Road, is the South Burying Place, also known as the Main Street Burying Ground. This modest and lovely spot has almost 300 graves; its oldest stone is dated 1697. The burying ground came into existence at the end of the 17th century to accommodate people living on the south side of a mill pond dam where Main Street is now. In fact, the term "Milldam" is still used to refer to this downtown section of Main Street.

Legend states that South Burying Place came into use for "south side" burials because of a prevalent belief that a corpse set for burial should not be carried across a stream for fear its soul would be washed away, forfeiting heaven for the chance of a cool swim. However, a more likely reason arose from the milldam itself, which was too narrow for a coffin and wagon to cross on their way to the Old Hill Burying Ground. The South Burying Place has an ordered array of nearly 300 headstones, replaced and rebuilt with Federal largess after the destruction wrought by the 1938 Hurricane. Its appeal lies in the excellence of its "momento mori" carvings and its pithy sentiments.


In this site rests 13 veterans of the Revolution. The oldest known stone is that of Thomas Hartshorn who left Concord for another paradise on November 17, 1697. An obelisk placed at the cemetery's southern edge tells the story of John Hosmer, his wife, Mary, and family: "Although in arms at the Battle of Concord and a Soldier of the Continental Army, he was in all his life after a man of peace." Mary Hosmer, his wife, "aided her husband and shared with him the love and veneration of ten children." Peaceful pursuit, indeed. Mr. Humphrey Barrett, who died on January 2, 1818, was noted, with a slight shiver as one "whose steps a saintly figure trod by death's cold hand led home to God." Moses Binney, departed on September 21, 1788, represents hope against hope for "Here mixed with earth his ashes must remain, Til death shall die and mortals rise again."

Note: from "Town of Concord and its Historic Cemeteries" brochure - Concord Cemetery Committee and Concord Public Works, March 2001.