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Earliest: March 16, 2003Latest: October 17, 2019Total: 296
October 17, 2019

Thomas Seward Gravestone

Walking through the North End's Copp's Hill Burying Ground you will see a lot of unique gravestones. One is Major Thomas Seward, who died on November 27, 1800.

ThomasSeward.jpg
Click on image for a larger version.

Gravestone Text

Reader!!!
Beneath this Stone is deposited
the Remains of
MAJOR THOMAS SEWARD
who gallantly fought
in our late revolutionary War
and through
its various seenes, behaved
with Patriotic fortitude
& died in the calms
of domestic Felicity as becomes
a Universal Christian,
Nov 27th, 1800, AE at 60.

On the bottom of the grave is this phrase, which is slowing disappearing into the ground:

"The lonely turf where silence lays her head,
The mound where pity sighs for hon'd dead,
Such is the grief where sorrow now doth sigh,
To learn to live is but to learn to die."

Three Things I Learned

Some things I learned while researching the history of Thomas Seward.

There isn't much information about Thomas Seward. No information on what battles that Thomas Seward participated in. No information about his life before and after the war.

When he died local papers were quick to point out his death and how he was a major contributor to the Revolution.

He was married to Sarah Seward. She died seven months before Thomas. She is also buried in the same grave - but interestingly enough, there's no mention of her name on the grave. Even though she was buried there first!

They had a son named Thomas he was born in 1770 and died in 1852. He is buried in Weymouth, Massachusetts.

Gravestone Images

On the gravestone, there are various symbols. According to the Cemetery Club, here's what each one means:

  • Setting Sun - Death
  • Urn, draped - Connotes death, often of an older person.
  • Cannon - Military service.

Reference Log

This is the log entry in the Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors of the Revolutionary War book. There was only one entry for Seward, Thomas:

Seward, Thomas. Captain, Col. John Crane?s (Artillery) regt. ; Continental Army pay accounts for service from Jan. 1, 1777, to Dec. 31, 1780; also, return of officers for clothing ; receipt for said clothing, dated Boston, May 26, 1778, and signed by Col. Crane; also, muster roll for May 1778, dated Camp Valley Forge; commissioned Jan. 1, 1777; also, return of officers for clothing, certified at Boston, Sept. 25, 1778 ; also, list of officers who were to continue in the service, as returned by Thomas Vose, Captain and Adjutant, dated Boston, Jan. 19, 1781; also, receipt given to Capt. Lieut. Knowles, signed by said Seward and others belonging to Col. Crane?s (3d Artillery) regt., for subsistence money for June, 1782.

October 10, 2019

Doctor Joseph Warren

Doctor Joseph Warren was an American physician who played an important role in the early days of the American Revolution.

Fall Joseph Warren
"The Death of General Warren at the Battle of Bunker Hill" at the Boston's Museum of Fine Arts.

Eight Things I Learned about Joseph Warren

  • Married to Elizabeth Hooten on September 6, 1764.
  • They had four children: Elizabeth, Joseph, Mary and Richard.
  • Practicing Physician who attend school at Harvard College.
  • Grand Master of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Massachusetts.
  • Conducted the autopsy on Christopher Seider short after he was shot.
  • He gave William Dawes and Paul Revere the responsibility to alert John Hancock and Samuel Adams of the approaching British Army on the night of April 18, 1775.
  • Elected President of the Massachusetts Provincial Congress and was appointed general of Massachusetts troops.
  • Fought with William Dawes at the Battle of Bunker Hill (Breed's Hill). He died at the first day of battle.

Body Reburied Around Many Time

After Death, Doctor Joseph Warren body was relocated many times:

First Burial

  • Buried by the British Captain Walter Laurie, the British Commander who led the troops to Concord's North Bridge, at Breed's Hill.

Second Burial

  • In early April, 1776, after the British left Boston, His body was recovered by his family.
  • Paul Revere helped identify the body by verifying the dental work that he performed years earlier.
  • A formal funeral was said at King's Chapel on April 8th, 1776.
  • He was buried in the Family plot at the Granary Burying Grounds.
  • Third Burial

    • In 1824, he was exhumed and moved to the family valt under St. Paul's Cathedral.

    Forth Burial

    October 3, 2019

    Christopher Snider

    At the Granary Burying Grounds are buried some of the most important patriots that help shape this nation. You can find Paul Revere, John Adams, and many more Patriots.

    One of the "famous" gravestones that you'll encounter near John Adams is the one for those that died as a result of the Boston Massacre.

    If you look carefully you'll notice that a young 12-year old boy is buried that died a few weeks before the Massacre is also buried there.

    This is the story of a forgotten Patriot of the American Revolution:

    Christopher Snider

    The Christopher Snider Story

    On February 22, 1770, a crowd gathered at a shop on Hanover Street complaining about how a store, owned by Theophilus Lillie, was selling imported tea. The Sons of Liberty put up a sign on the shop letting people know that it was selling imported team.

    Ebenezer Richardson, a customs informer, with some bad ties with the Sons of Liberty, tried to take down the sign. The crowd got angry and he was chased back to his home.

    Once he arrived home some of the boys in the crowd started throwing snowballs and rocks at Ebenezer's house. Ebenezer went upstairs and fired several shots on the crowd injuring Christopher Gore and instantly killing Christopher Snider.

    Christopher Snider body was immediately taken to Faneuil Hall.

    John Adams arranged a funeral a couple of days later. The funeral procession started at Faneuil Hall and proceed to the Liberty Tree and finally to Granary Burying Grounds. Local reports about 5,000 people attended the funeral procession. Hundreds of children and dignitaries attended the process.

    John Adams said, "My eyes never beheld such a funeral."

    On foot of his coffin are the Latin words, "latet anguis in hebra!" which means, "a snake hides in the grass." On the head of the coffin is the inscription: "Innocence is nowhere safe."

    Ebenezer Richardson barely avoid a lynching by the crowd and was tried for his crime. He was found not guilty and moved to Philadelphia.

    Snider Marker1906

    Things I Learned about Christopher Snider

    Name on the gravestone is spelled Christopher Snider but it's also known as Christopher Seider in some British print.

    Christopher Snider was born in 1758. (His exact birthdate is not known.)

    After his death the Sons of Liberty were making plans to build a monument to honor Christopher Snider - that never happened.

    According to the Son's of Liberty, Christopher Snider is considered to be the first martyr of the Revolutionary War.

    On March 8th, 1899 the single stone was placed on the existing gravesite - it was the first time that the names of the Boston Massacre and Christoper Snider were on the same marker . On May 30, 1906, the Sons of the American Revolution dedicated a new Boston Massacre memorial. This is the memorial that you see today.

    On the old tablet, Christopher Snider is mention on the backside - "Here lies buried the body of Christopher Snider, aged about 12 years. Killed Feb. 22, 1770. The innocent, first victim of the struggle between the colonists and the crown, which resulted in independence."

    September 26, 2019

    Grant Gately Square

    At the corner of Massachusetts Ave and Huntington Ave is Grant Gately Square. This is named after ENSIGN Grant Gately who died onboard the U.S.S Ticonderoga in 1918.

    U.S.S Ticonderoga on September 29, 1918

    This is a brief version of the story told by George S. Tapley who was the chief quartermaster on the U.S.S Ticonderoga:

    On the night of September 29, the U.S.S Ticonderoga was under attack by a German submarine. The submarine was about a mile away. The men on the U.S.S Ticonderoga fought back until the submarine took out all the long-range fighting guns. The boat started to sink from a direct torpedo hit by the German submarine.

    As the boat was sinking, some of the men manage to get on a small raft. Another small boat came by and those that weren't injured managed to swim to the other boat. However, A storm was brewing and it was impacting the ability for the raft to stay with the boat and get the injured passengers.

    Grant had the opportunity to get on the small boat - as he was an uninjured ranking officer. He decided to stay with three injured men on the raft.

    The small boat made many attempts to get the men off of the raft but due to the storm and night, they were unable to get close. The boat drifted nearby hoping the morning light would make it easy to find the raft and the other seamen. At the first light, they looked around and never saw the raft. The boat drifted for about five days before being rescued by the British.

    Ten officers and 102 men were lost that night.

    Grant Square
    The tablet on the Symphony Hall building - it is 98 years old.

    Things I learned

    He died in battle on September 30, 1918 - 42 days before the end of World War One.

    The square was dedicated on November 28, 1920.

    The tablet that is on the Symphony Hall was placed on November 21, 1921.

    Grant Gately lived at 176 Huntington Ave, which is next to the Midtown Hotel - right down the street. (You can almost see the tablet from 176 Huntington Ave.)

    Grant Gately body was never found, and still classified as Missing In Action. His name is on the Tablets of the Missing Suresnes American Cemetery in Suresnes, France.

    The U.S.S Ticonderoga was once a German steamer name Camilla Rickmers.

    It dropped behind her convoy because of engine trouble.

    In 1920, there were 5 squares named after World War One heros:

    • Grant G Gately Sq - Corner of Massachusetts Ave and Huntington Ave.
    • James M. Hines Sq, - Corner of Cedar St and Center St.
    • James J. Murphy Sq, - Corner of Roxbury St and Guild Row.
    • Morris Friedman Sq. - Copeland St and Waverly St.
    • James H. Coyle Sq. - Corner of Washington and Market St.

    Boston Globe Interview - February 1919

    When he was in Boston during a schedule leave in February 1918, he did an interview with the Boston Globe. According to the Boston Globe story, he said: "all that stood between himself and happiness in France was the longing for a plate of beans."

    In the interview he also mentioned that he didn't always wear a life preserver. "We are not always thinking about the submarines. Our Daily work keeps our min pretty well occupied - you are giving yourself a little of the percentage if you keep one on."

    The Globe story ends with "Gately expects to make another trip soon. He is very fond of the sea He is a bit of an adventurer, and figures that there is only one thing to do when a sub take a shot at you an that is keep your "bean."

    Plaque Saying

    Grant Gately Square
    Named in Honor of
    Grant Gately, Ensign USN
    Born in Boston, September 27, 1894
    Died Heroically When U.S.S Ticonderoga
    was sunk in mid-ocean by a German Submarine
    September 30, 1918
    He Yield his Allotted place in a lifeboat
    that a Comrade might be saved
    Placed by
    Back Bay Post 117 The American Legion
    MCMXXI

    September 19, 2019

    Paul Revere House

    One of the popular tourist spots in Boston is the Paul Revere house. This is a good place to learn more about Paul Revere and to see how colonialists lived in Boston.

    The Paul Revere House is open year-round. You can get private tours of the house - including night tours.

    Paul Revere House
    The Paul Revere House stands out from all the modern buildings. (The Cobblestone street makes for nice background shots.)

    Ten Things We Learned on our Tour

    1. Cost $5 per adult to get in, Children (5-10) is $1. (Cash Only.) There are several ATMs on Hannover Street.
    2. You are not allowed to take pictures or videos inside the house. You can take pictures around the courtyard.
    3. This is the oldest house in Boston - built-in 1680.
    4. We were disappointed in the "self-tour" as you only see 3-rooms in the house. The whole house experience is about 10-minutes long.
    5. There is a host available on each floor where you can ask questions about the house and various objects in the rooms. Some fun ones to ask: Why is there a wall phone in Paul Revere House? How many children did Paul Revere have? Where did they all sleep?
    6. There is a small gift shop near the exit. It has some books and artistic goods that are made for the museum- worth checking as you can?t get these items anywhere else in the city.
    7. There is a bathroom next to the gift shop.
    8. You may be able to see a Revere Motar - a cannon made around the 1780s. This cannon was commissioned by the newly formed United States government. (Currently, the cannon is on loan to the New-York Historical Society.)
    9. In a room next to the gift shop, is a mini shop replica. This toy display shows what Paul Revere workshop might have looked like. Can you find the gray Cat?
    10. The Paul Revere House was listed on the National Historic Landmarks in 1961

    Finding the Paul Revere House

    The Paul Revere House is located at 19 North Square in Boston's North End. Located just 2-blocks from Hanover Street, and there are signs from Hanover on how to get to Paul Revere house.

    There is a small gift shop next door to the house. The official gift shop is only accessable for paid tour members.

    September 12, 2019

    Boston Day - September 17

    Boston was originally named Shawmut by the local Native Americans. It was founded on September 17, 1630, and named after Boston, England, a town in Lincolnshire from which many colonists originated.

    The Massachusetts Bay Company, headed by Governor John Winthrop, equipped with a land grant from the King, arrived in New England. After checking various locations, settled in Boston because of the access to shore and freshwater.

    Boston September17
    Large Boston Sign at the Boston's City Hall.

    Four Fun Facts about Boston

    The first settler on the Shawmut peninsula was the Reverend William Blackstone, who arrived around 1625. His land would be purchased by the Massachusetts Bay Company and much of it was made into the Boston Public Commons.

    Many of Boston's early building and street patterns are the results of an intention to duplicate those of English towns.

    Boston didn't become a city until May 1, 1822 - 192 years later. John Phillips would be Boston's first Mayor. Citizens of Boston votes to change the official name from the "Town of Boston" to the "City of Boston." On March 4, 1822, the people of Boston accepted the charter of being incorporating the City. In 1822, there were 46,226 people living in Boston and the city was only 4.7 square miles.

    The "Old Corner Bookstore" was considered a prime location back in 1630 because as it was near the freshwater spring.

    September 7th or September 17th?

    September 7th was the actual day on the Julian Calendar. But with the adoption of the Gregorian Calendar, 11 days were dropped during the month of September in 1752.

    September 5, 2019

    George Washington Bust

    The Boston's Old North Church is one of the popular stops that people go to when visiting Boston. It's the place where Robert Newman and Captain John Pulling hung lanterns to let Paul Revere know that the British were coming by sea.

    The Old North Church is a great place to learn all about the events on April 18, 1975. There are lots of exhibits and information that explain all about how the Church played an important role in American History.

    Among the historic artifacts is a bust of George Washington Bust. The bust is located above the door on the left side of the alter.

    George Washington

    Inscription under the bust:

    "This bust of George Washington was presented to the Christ Church by Shubael Bell, Warden 1815."

    Did You Notice?

    In the left aisle, on the post where the Hymns is located is this interesting plaque:

    General Lafayette Quote

    Who Was General Lafayette?

    This quote is very significant because General Lafayette knew George Washington very well. General Lafayette was a very important person that worked closely with George Washington to defeat the British.

    General Lafayette help guide troops with major Revolutionary battles such as Brandywine, Valley Forge, Barren Hill, Monmouth and Rhode Island.

    As a General, he spent a lot of time with George Washington at Valley Forge - especially during the rough winter of 1777.

    So, for someone that spent a lot of time with George Washington, and knew him well - it puts a lot of weight saying the bust is an authentic reproduction of George Washington.

    Only at the Old North Church

    You can only find the authentic George Washington bust at the Old North Church in Boston, Massachusetts.

    August 29, 2019

    Boston Police Strike of 1919

    On September 9th, 1919, the city of Boston faced a strike from roughly 2/3 of Boston Police officers. It was an ordeal that caused panic in the city for several months.

    Boston Police Replacements
    A company of Massachusetts Militia await assignment to police duty during the strike - - Boston Police Strike - Wikipedia

    Why The Police was on Strike

    It all started when many officers of the Boston Police were upset that they hadn't gotten a raise in nearly six years. They were forbidden to form a Union, instead of many offerers got together and formed a social club. They argued for a raise and better working conditions.

    When they were denied several times and the group decided to join the American Federation of Labor as Boston Police Union, No. 16,807.

    In response to the group actions, the Boston Police Commissioner Edwin Curtis dismissed eight union leaders from their police duties.

    Members of the union were upset and called a strike the next day. They organized a huge rally at Scollay Square - today it's Government Center.

    How the Issue was Resolved

    Several Politicians worked around the clock to maintain law and order. Boston's Mayor Andrew James Peters called out the State Guard to maintain order. Massachusetts Governor Calvin Coolidge step in and ordered the guards to be in his control.

    Governor Coolidge refused to reinstate striking policemen. Instead, a temporary volunteer police force was sought and within a few months, new patrolmen were hired. None of the striking policemen were allowed back on the job.

    The new patrolmen did get the pay raise and benefits sought by the striking workers. But as Governor Coolidge stated, "there is no right to strike against the public safety by anybody, anywhere, any time." They were denied their jobs.

    Read More

    There's a lot to this story that could fit in a simple Blog post. You can read all about it in Francis Russell's book, A City in Terror: Calvin Coolidge and the 1919 Boston Police Strike: Francis Russell: 9780807050330: Amazon.com: Gateway. It's a good read to all the details that lead up to the strike and the aftermath.

    Don't want to buy it? The Boston Public Library has 5 copies of the book in the Copley Square branch.

    Fun Facts

    Governor Calvin Coolidge was reelected to another term as Massachusetts Governor on November 4th, 1919. A year later he would be part of the Harding-Coolidge in the 1920 President ticket. (Mainly for his role in handling the Police Strike.) They won the election. On August 2, 1923, President Harding died unexpectedly from a heart attack and Calvin Coolidge became President.

    James Jackson Storrow was a chairman of a blue-ribbon panel that unsuccessfully sought to avert the 1919 Boston police strike. His group encouraged the police to form a union - but not be part of any major union organization. It was this action that caused the domino effect towards the Police Strike. Storrow Drive is named after him.

    August 22, 2019

    Encore Boston Harbor

    Yesterday I spent six hours at the new Encore Boston Harbor . It was a fun day in Massachusetts newest casino. The Hotel/Casino officially opened on June 23, 2019.

    Here?s some notes on my experience.

    Encore Hotel Building

    General Notes

    • Nothing for kids - no game room, pool or activity area. Really nothing for kids to do while the adults gamble - Definitely not a place for anyone under 21.
    • There is a Dunkin Donuts on site which offers the complete Dunkin menu. (A large hot coffee cost $3.99. )
    • You have to pay for self-parking unless you use the Membership card which gives you free weekday parking.
    • The casino is easy to get to from Boston. Getting back to Boston was a bit tricky during rush hour. If you're not familiar with the area, you might want to use water transportation.

    Buffet Notes

    • Lots of great options in the Buffet - Seafood, American Fare, Chinese, and Salads.
    • The Clam Chowder was really good - highly recommend.
    • The line moves pretty fast. Don?t be discouraged if you see a long line when the buffet opens. We noticed that at 1pm the line was much smaller.
    • Buffet is in the main casino- so kids are allowed.

    Encore Hotel Casino

    Casino Notes

    • There are supposed to be drink servers around the casino - but I rarely saw them. This could be that we were there at an off time.
    • We arrived at 9 and noticed it was very quiet around the casino. It started getting busy around 11.
    • Lots of Slot machines- many of them are penny slots. (No you can't just put pennies in - you need to use a cash voucher.)
    • When we got there the Blackjack table minimum started at $5, but by 2 pm most tables were $25 or $50.
    • They do not sell "used" cards. You can buy souvenir dice ($14 for a pair) at the DrugStore - near the main Casino entrance.
    • There are lots of ATM machines around the casino floor.
    • You can buy Massachusetts Lottery Scratch tickets at some Lottery machines.
    • Most of the slot machines were electronic machines - like playing on a computer. There weren't many "one-arm bandits." I didn't see my favorite - Haywire.

    Overall it's a fun casino. Certainly, a fun way to spend an afternoon.

    August 15, 2019

    Claritin Street Mass Pike On-ramp

    On September 3, 2019, the Mass Pike On-Ramp from Claritin Street will permanently close. Full details are available on the blog post: Boston: I-90 Westbound Clarendon Street on-ramp Closing Permanently on the MassDOT Blog, which was posted on August 6, 2019.

    Basically it comes down to safety:

    This on-ramp has limited sight distance for drivers, meaning they have little visibility of other vehicles when they are merging onto the highway, and it is too short for vehicles to accelerate to the appropriate speed at the access point. The crash rate at this on-ramp is also higher than the rates at other on-ramps in the local area.

    Turn Pike West

    Alternative Mass Pike Entrances

    The next closest entrance to the Mass Pike from Claritin Street is the entrance by the corner of Huntington Ave and Blagden Street. (Next to the Boston Public Library at Copley Square.)

    To get their from the Claritin Street Garage: Take a Right on to Start Street, and then a right on to Dartmouth Street and then take the next left.

    Another Mass Pike entrance is off of Massachusetts Ave, near Newbury Street. While this exit is a bit further away, the on-ramp to merge into traffic is slightly longer. This isn't a good solution after a Red Sox game as traffic tends to back up on Massachusetts Ave.

    Claritin Street Garage

    The Garage at 100 Clarendon Street promotes itself as "The only garage in the city with Mass Pike Access."

    Looks like they will have to come up with another slogan. Here are a couple of suggestions:

    • "Closest Garage to Copley Square"
    • "That Garage Formerly known as the easy way to the Mass Pike"
    • "Best Garage Deal in Boston"
    • "2,000 parking spaces can't be wrong"