Named after shoemaker William Copp, Copp’s Hill Burying Ground is the final resting place and cemetery of merchants, artisans and craft people who lived in the North End. Located on a hill on which a windmill once stood, the land was given to the town. Copp’s Hill was Boston’s largest colonial burying ground, dating from 1659.
Some notables buried in Copp's Hill are fire-and-brimstone preachers Cotton and Increase Mather, two Puritan ministers closely associated with the Salem witch trials. The burying ground also holds Old North Church sexton Robert Newman, the man who hung the lanterns on the night of Paul Revere’s midnight ride and Edmund Hartt, builder of the USS Constitution. Countless free African-Americans are buried in a potter's field on the Charter Street side of the site. Because of its height and panoramic vistas, the British used this vantage point to train their cannons on Charlestown during the Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775. The epitaph on Captain Daniel Malcolm's tombstone at Copp's Hill is riddled with the marks of vengeful British bullets.
PRINCE HALL Prince Hall was a free Black man of Boston who founded America’s first Black Masonic Lodge, known after his death as the Prince Hall Masons. In 1777, Hall and others petitioned the Massachusetts legislature demanding the end of slavery in the Bay State. After the Revolution Hall continued to work to secure social, political, and economic freedoms for African-Americans. Prince Hall Masons such as David Walker and Lewis Hayden became Boston’s leading Black abolitionists. Many activists in the 20th Century civil rights movement were Prince Hall Masons. Hall lived near Copp’s Hill and was buried there.
Freedom Trail Foundation tours that feature this site:
Walk Into History Tour — North End
Copp’s Hill Burying Ground
Open daily 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.