A Walk in Forest Hills Cemetery

By Andrea Starr | June 21, 2019

I had occasion recently to visit a friend at her home in the Jamaica Plain district of Boston, MA. Among the several interesting things that we did was take a walk through Forest Hills Cemetery.

The cemetery was consecrated in 1848, and consists of 248 acres of cemetery paths and lanes. It has also a beautiful pond inhabited by turtles, geese, and other wildlife. Visitors may obtain maps at its main entrance that show the locations of at least some of the more famous people who are buried there.

It was certainly a pleasant walk and there is much to see in the way of monumental and funerary sculpture.

Joseph Warren (1741-1775)

Joseph Warren was a physician and patriot leader. He was a founding member of the Sons of Liberty, and president of the Massachusetts Provincial Congress. He was killed leading militiamen at the Battle of Bunker Hill.

William Dawes, Jr. (1745-1799)

William Dawes was one of three dispatch riders that set out to warn that the British were marching on Lexington and Concord in April 1775. The other two riders were Paul Revere and Samuel Prescott.

William Lloyd Garrison (1805-1879)

William Lloyd Garrison was an early and fervent abolitionist. He is best known as publisher of the radical anti-slavery newspaper The Liberator, which was published between 1831 and 1865, and as a founder of the American Anti-Slavery Society.

That which is not just is not law. – William Lloyd Garrison

Lysander Spooner (1808-1887)

Lysander Spooner was also an abolitionist, as well as a lawyer and entrepreneur, but is best known as a legal theorist, scholar, and writer.

Those who are capable of tyranny are capable of perjury to sustain it. – Lysander Spooner

Edward Everett Hale (1822-1909)

Edward Everett Hale was the son of a Boston editor, as well as being nephew and namesake of famous orator Edward Everett. (Who spoke at length at Gettysburg before Abraham Lincoln delivered his short address). He was himself a teacher, minister, abolitionist, and writer. He was a founder of the Unitarian Church, chaplain of the U.S. Senate, and he wrote the famous patriotic short story Man Without a Country. (There is a statue of him in Boston’s Public Garden).

I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do. – Edward Everett Hale

Jacob Wirth (1840-1892)

Jacob Wirth was a German immigrant who founded in 1878 the Boston restaurant – one of its oldest – that bore his name. It closed its doors in 2018.

Grace S. Allen (1876-1880)

Grace Sherwood “Gracie” Allen was nearly five when she died. Her grave is marked with a portrait statue of her by sculptor Sidney Morse, who was a poet, editor, and friend of Walt Whitman. It is a soft white marble, which tends to fare poorly over time, but this one is encased in glass and is very well preserved. It is certainly worth a look.

Eugene O’Neill (1888-1953)

Eugene Gladstone O’Neill was a famous playwright. He was several times winner of the Pulitzer Prize. His play Long Day’s Journey into Night is considered one of the finest American plays of the twentieth century.

His last words: “I knew it. I knew it. Born in a hotel room and died in a hotel room.”

E.E. Cummings (1894-1962)

Edward Estlin Cummings was an innovative and famous poet.

His grave was not easy to find. Admirers leave things there. I have heard they leave coins, stones, and scraps of poetry. On my visit there several pens had been placed beside the marker.

I wouldn’t give an inch of New Hampshire for all the rest of New England. – e.e. cummings

Thanks to Ms. Bristol, who helped me with my research. She observes also that Lewis W. Nute‘s first Boston employer, the ship chandler Thomas Simmons, is buried in Forest Hills, as is the White Mountain School artist, Frank H. Shapleigh, who painted pictures of  Nute’s West Milton farmstead.


Find a Grave. (2004, November 5). Grace Sherwood Allen. Retrieved from www.findagrave.com/memorial/9756383/grace-sherwood-allen

Find a Grave. (2009, July 12). William Dawes, Jr. Retrieved from www.findagrave.com/memorial/39370673/william-dawes

Find a Grave. (2000, December 31). William Lloyd Garrison. Retrieved from www.findagrave.com/memorial/384/william-lloyd-garrison

Find a Grave. (2000, December 31). Rev. Edward Everett Hale. Retrieved from www.findagrave.com/memorial/433/edward-everett-hale

Find a Grave. (2000, December 31). Eugene Gladstone O’Neill. Retrieved from www.findagrave.com/memorial/768/eugene-gladstone-o_neill

Find a Grave. (2007, April 8), Lysander Spooner. Retrieved from www.findagrave.com/memorial/18821908/lysander-spooner

Find a Grave. (1998, June 12). Dr. Joseph Warren. Retrieved from www.findagrave.com/memorial/3066/joseph-warren

Find a Grave. (2007, April 10). Jacob Wirth. Retrieved from www.findagrave.com/memorial/18850724/jacob-wirth

Forest Hills Cemetery. (2019). Forest Hills Cemetery. Retrieved from www.foresthillscemetery.com/

Wikipedia. (2019, June 26). E.E. Cummings. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E._E._Cummings

Wikipedia. (2020, June 21). Eugene O’Neill. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugene_O%27Neill

Wikipedia. (2019, April 26). Forest Hills Cemetery. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forest_Hills_Cemetery

Wikipedia. (2020, January 29). Jacob Wirth Restaurant. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacob_Wirth_Restaurant

Author: starrandrea

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