Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Walking on Burial Hill in Plymouth, Massachusetts


In July 2022 I visited Burial Hill with a group of Mayflower descendants from the General Society of Mayflower Descendants.  Only some of us went to the top of Burial Hill to visit the cemetery and see the sights.  It was a lovely summer day, and quite a climb to the top (lots of stairs) and another long climb back down the hill.  It was well worth it, especially since I wanted to see the memorial to John Howland, which was at the very top of the hill.  I had visited Plymouth dozens of times previous to this tour, but had never made the climb to the top of Burial Hill.  

FYI! If you plan to visit, there are long stairs up to the top of Burial Hill.  There are stairs behind the meetinghouse, and also behind Burial Hill with a large parking lot. But no matter which direction you use to approach Burial Hill, there are stairs! 

Among the gravestones are historical markers for important people, and the location of the first fort the settlers built in 1621 (replicated at the Plimoth Patuxet museum as a wooden garrison also used as a meetinghouse.) 

An old postcard of Burial Hill.  The view hasn't changed much, has it?

This is the Meetinghouse at the foot of Burial Hill.  Next to the meetinghouse, on the grassy slope you see to the right of the parked cars, are several memorial stones to Mayflower passengers.  These men are probably buried somewhere on Burial Hill, but the actual locations have been lost to time.  Descendants have placed the three memorials (cenotaphs) next to the meetinghouse. I have photographs below. 

Edward Doty, the Mayflower passenger, is buried somewhere on this hill.  Descendants placed this memorial stone here in the 1800s.  There is also a cenotaph to Edward Doty at the Winslow Burying Ground in Marshfield. The back of this memorial stone lists his children.

This is the memorial stone to Mayflower passenger John Alden.  The actual location of his grave is unknown, but believed to be somewhere on Burial Hill.  

This rather big stone to Mayflower passenger Elder William Brewster is also at the foot of Burial Hill next to the Meetinghouse.  I didn't show the entire memorial stone because it is full of inaccurate information (including the wrong name for his wife!).  This stone was placed by a descendant. 

For the truly curious:

Burial Hill Cemetery, from the Plymouth, Massachusetts town website (There are links to maps):   

Find A Grave, Burial Hill, Plymouth, Massachusetts  

My ancestor, John Howland, A Mayflower passenger, buried here at Burial Hill -  

Here is a link to my blog post about our tour to Plymouth and Burial Hill.  We visited on Day Four of our tour, on the same day as a trip to Duxbury and Pilgrim Hall Museum -  


To cite/link to this blog post: Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Walking on Burial Hill in Plymouth, Massachusetts", Nutfield Genealogy, posted February 28, 2023, ( accessed [access date]). 

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