North Burial Ground

The North Burial Ground is a 110-acre (0.45 km2) cemetery in Providence, Rhode Island dating to 1700, the first public cemetery in Providence.[2] It is located north of downtown Providence, bounded by North Main Street, Branch Avenue, the Moshassuck River, and Cemetery Street. Its main entrance is at the junction of Branch and North Main. The burial ground is one of the larger municipal cemeteries in Southern New England, and it accepts 220 to 225 burials per year.[3]

North Burial Ground
North Burial Ground Providence RI with trees and gravestones.jpg
North Burial Ground is located in Rhode Island
North Burial Ground
North Burial Ground is located in the United States
North Burial Ground
LocationProvidence, Rhode Island
NRHP reference No.77000003 [1]
Added to NRHPSeptember 13, 1977
Mowry Tavern (now demolished), a stone-ender on Abbott St. as it looked ca. 1885, with the Cemetery behind it


From the time of its founding by Roger Williams in 1636, Rhode Island had strict separation of religious and government institutions. Therefore, Providence had no state churches with adjacent public burial grounds, as most New England towns had. Instead, townspeople buried their dead in family plots on individual farms.[3]

In 1700, a town vote was held to establish a municipal cemetery. This cemetery was to be open to the deceased of all faiths, from millionaires to paupers, and even emancipated slaves. 45 acres were set aside; 10 acres were to be used for a cemetery, the remainder for a town common and militia training ground. However, the first official burial didn't take place until one Samuel Whipple was buried here in 1710/11. There were only about one or two burials per year until 1736, when 14 people were buried.[3]

By the mid-1800s, under the influence of the Rural Cemetery Movement, cemeteries generally became viewed as a place for the general public to enjoy refined outdoor recreation. In Providence, the North Burial Ground was further landscaped. More land was added, along with curving roads and trees, to make the grounds more attractive to the living.[3]

Notable intermentsEdit

See also: Category:Burials at North Burying Ground (Providence)

North Burial Ground has the burials of many notable Rhode Island residents, including governors, members of Congress, soldiers, millionaires, emancipated slaves, and literary figures:


See alsoEdit

Further readingEdit

  • "The Early Records of the Town of Providence, Volume 18" by Snow & Farnham Company, 1904.


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. January 23, 2007.
  2. ^ a b c d Rogak, Lisa (2004). Stones and Bones of New England: A Guide to Unusual, Historic, and Otherwise Notable Cemeteries. Globe Pequot. p. 159. ISBN 9780762730001.
  3. ^ a b c d Hill, John (24 Jan 2015). "Providence's North Burial Ground is running out of room". The Providence Journal. Retrieved 25 January 2015.
  4. ^ "ALLEN, Philip, (1785 - 1865)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved April 19, 2014.
  5. ^ Perry, Amos (1883). Memorial of Zachariah Allen: 1795-1882. J. Wilson and son. p. 52. north burial ground Zachariah Allen.
  6. ^ Rhode Island College

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 41°50′34″N 71°24′29″W / 41.84278°N 71.40806°W / 41.84278; -71.40806