Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday- Romanus Emerson, buried in a Christian Cemetery, whether he liked it or not!

Part 3

Yesterday I posted two stories about Romanus Emerson, the avowed atheist, whose funeral was celebrated at the Hawes Place Church by the Reverend Capen, and then buried in the Hawes Burial Ground. We went to South Boston to find Romanus’s grave, but I was surprised when I was met with a locked gate. I had never before been locked out of a cemetery!

When Romanus Emerson removed to South Boston in 1810, there were only six houses in the village. It had been annexed as part of Boston in 1804. The main street was a winding cowpath, known as the “Old Road” and it was renamed Emerson Street in honor of Romanus Emerson. His neighbors were the DeLuces, Briggs, and Harringtons. Later, in 1857, a grid of streets named as numbers in one direction and letter of the alphabet were imposed on top of Emerson Street. After Romanus’s death it became the famous neighborhood of brick and brownstone style townhouses now the center of the Irish Community in Boston.

It was an interesting adventure, even though we didn’t find Romanus’s stone (perhaps it was him playing a joke on us, since he didn’t want a stone and a cemetery burial?) The cemetery is right on Emerson Street, and next to the Hawes School. His sons attended the Hawes School, which specialized in music education, and his daughter Louisa was a teacher there. The school is now a condominium. The Hawes Place Church must have been located nearby, but it doesn’t seem to have survived.

We will have to call the City of Boston sometime and arrange to see the inside of the Hawes Burial Ground.

Click here to see Part 1

Click here to see Part 2

Continued tomorrow with more about Romanus Emerson

Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

1 comment:

  1. Heather, a copy of David Allen Lambert's "A Guide to Massachusetts Cemeteries" would be handy for you the next time you venture out. Most cemeteries in MA aren't closed (as you probably already know) but there are a number that are locked, particularly in the Boston/Charlestown area.