A testament to the earliest settlers in Wakefield, Mass., the Old Burying Ground offers some of the best preserved examples of Puritan gravestone art in the nation.
Established in 1688, the earliest death date in the cemetery is 1691. This is actually the second burial ground of the First Parish church. The first was further east in what is now the park about where the bandstand is located. Its stones were moved to this burial ground when it was begun around 1688-9 when the parish’s second church was built in this part of town 1688-9. It was the chief burial ground for the town for 150 years.
It contains the graves of many of the town’s early settlers and early families including Rev. Richard Brown (1732), Rev. Mr. Wm. Hobby (1765) and Rev. Caleb Prentiss (1803) all of whom
served the First Parish.
In 1846, the burial ground was recognized as being too small for the growing town and a number of citizens formed the Lakeside Cemetery as a private cemetery further north and west on Lake Quannapowitt.