North Burial Ground dates to 1700 and is now 110 acres. It is the oldest surviving burial ground in Providence. It was recorded from 1856-1879 by Frank Williamson. His 5600 name transcript is in the Arnold collection. F. T. Calef recorded 7500 names in 1923. Since February 1994, these transcripts have been checked and updated. In 4 1/2 years, 35,000 inscriptions in roughly 40 acres have been recorded. Almost 700 Civil War veterans have been identified in this cemetery. These transcripts are important since no records are available for this cemetery from 1700-1848.
The cemetery records for Grace Church Cemetery (8,000) have been added to the database. These records contain lot numbers but no dates. The records for Locust Grove Cemetery have been entered into the database. Burial dates and lot numbers are all that are contained in these records, so complete information must come from the gravestones. The records go back to 1895, but the cemetery started in 1848 and there are stones from 1797. Further work is needed to sort this out.
Swan Point cemetery, which has computerized its records has given us a copy of their 58,000 name database, 38,000 burials there and 20,000 cremations. This cemetery has the best records in the state. They often contain spouses name, parents names, birth date and place, death date and place, cause of death and veteran status.
From 1743 until 1888 there was a cemetery called the West Burial Ground. It was a group of 5 cemeteries side by side; Beneficent Church Cemetery, Proprietor's Burial Ground, Manchester, Sprague (or Hope) and Seth Paddford's cemeteries. The cemetery was removed to make way for Hayward Park in 1889. It had fallen into disrepair and bodies were relocated on a regular basis from 1845 on. The original cemetery had about 2000 interments. A search of the records of other cemeteries to reconstruct this burial ground has located over 1400 people who were moved to North Burial Ground, Swan Point Cemetery, Oakland Cemetery, Locust Grove Cemetery and Grace Church Cemetery. The location of West Burial Ground is now the intersection of interstates 95 and 195.
Prior to 1990, there were 16 registered cemeteries in the city of Providence. Currently, there are 39 with a total of 45 estimated to exist. Of the estimated 90,000 headstones estimated to exist, 44,900 have been entered into the database. Providence is 50% complete.
North Burial Ground, Providence, Rhode Island Old Section
by John E. Sterling
8½x11, library binding, 480 pages, $39
This book is an attempt to create a record of burials for the old section of a magnificent cemetery that marked its three-hundredth anniversary in the year 2000: the North Burial Ground of Providence, Rhode Island. Why should such an effort be necessary? Although there are sixteen ledger books of interment records of information on some 73,000 individuals, these books document burials only for the last 150 years, just half of this ancient burial ground’s history. From 1700 to 1848 the only record of burials is the testimony of the gravestones themselves. In 1848 when records began, burials in the cemetery already filled 22 acres—roughly bounded by the present avenues of Main Avenue (east), Prospect Avenue (north), Front Avenue (south) and a line that ran just west of Central Avenue (west). These 22 acres contain the graves of thousands of Rhode Islanders, famous and humble, but all of great interest to their descendants and students of this state’s early history. This lavishly illustrated book represents six years of patient research by John Sterling, one of the most respected figures in gravestone studies research in Rhode Island. An extended introduction traces the history of this venerable cemetery. Previous sources have been carefully compared with existing gravestones to create a history of burials. With this book researchers will have access to the vital information on each gravestone, and those interested in finding a particular stone (virtually impossible before) will have a guide. It is sure to become a classic on the bookshelves of every lover of Rhode Island history.
The following family names appear on at least ten gravestones, bold type indicating twenty or more individuals.
Adams, Aldrich, Allen, Amsbury, Andrews, Angell, Annis, Anthony, Antram, Aplin, Arnold, Atkinson, Bacon, Bailey, Baker, Balch, Ballou, Barker, Barnes, Barney, Bartlett, Batcheller, Bates, Beckwith, Bennett, Benson, Bezeley, Bicknall, Blanding, Bliven, Bogman, Bosworth, Bowen, Bradford, Bragg, Bridgham, Briggs, Britton, Brown, Brownell, Bucklin, Budlong, Bullock, Burgess, Burlingame, Burr, Burroughs, Burt, Butts, Cady, Calder, Campbell, Capron, Capwell, Carpenter, Carr, Chace/Chase, Chafee/Chaffee, Chandler, Chappell, Child, Church, Clapp, Clarke, Clemence, Cleveland, Clifford, Coggeshall, Cogswell, Cole, Comstock, Congdon, Cooke, Cozzens, Crandall, Crawford, Cross, Crowley, Currie/Curry, Curtis, Cushman, Dailey, Daniels, Davis, Dean, Deming, Dexter, Dodge, Dorrance, Dunham, Dunwell, Dyer, Earl/Earle, Easton, Eaton, Eddy, Ely, Emerson, Fairbanks, Fenner, Field, Fish, Fisher, Fiske/Fisk, Foster, Francis, Freeman, Frost, Fuller, Gallup, Gallup, Gano, Gardner, Gartside, Gerald/Jerauld, Gibbs, Gibson, Gilbert, Giles, Gladding, Glover, Goddard, Godfrey, Gorham, Gould, Grafton, Grant, Gray, Green/Greene, Griffin, Grimwood, Guild, Hall, Hammond, Handy, Harding, Harris, Hathaway, Hawkins, Hayward, Hazard/Haszard, Healy, Hedly, Helm, Henley, Henry, Hereshoff, Hill, Holbrook, Holden, Holmes, Holroyd, Hopkins, Horton, Howard, Howell, Howland, Hull, Humphrey, Hunt, Ingalls, Irons, Ives, Jackson, Jenckes/Jencks/ Jenks, Johnson, Jones, Joslin, Keith, Kendall, Kenyon, Kingsley, Kinnicutt,Knowles, Lassell, Leveck, Lewis, Lindol, Lippitt, Lonsdale, Lothrop, Low, Luther, Lyon, Maker, Mann, Manchester, Manton, Marshall, Martin, Mason, Mathewson/ Matteson, Mccall, Millard, Miller, Miner, Mitchaem, Mitchell, Monroe/Munroe, Moore, Morris, Mowry, Mumford, Najac, Newell, Nichols, Northup, Olney, Ormsbee, Osborn, Owen, Packard, Page, Paine/Payne, Palmer, Parker, Patten, Paul, Pearce/Peirce/Perce/Pierce, Peck, Peckham, Perry, Peter, Pettis, Phillips, Pidge, Pike, Pitman, Place, Poole, Potter, Power, Pratt, Proctor, Pullen, Randall, Rea, Read/Reed, Remington, Retto, Reynolds, Rhodes, Rice, Richmond, Ripley, Robinson, Rogers, Ross, Round/Rounds, Russell, Sabin, Salisbury, Scott, Seamans/ Simmons, Selden, Sessions, Shalling, Shaw, Sheldon, Sherman, Silloway, Sisson, Smith, Snow, Sprague, Staples, Steere, Stevens, Stewart, Stillwell, Stiness, Stone, Studley, Sweet, Sweeting, Taft, Talbot, Taylor, Temple, Thayer, Thomas, Thompson, Thornton, Thorp, Thurber, Thurston, Tiffany, Tillinghast, Totten, Townsend, Tripp, Tyler, Underwood, Vaughn, Veazie, Vinton, Walker, Wall, Walling, Warner, Waterman, Watson, Weaver, Weeden, Wells, West, Westcott, Wheaton, Whelden, Whipple, Whitaker, White, Whitman/Wightman, Whitford, Wilbour/Wilbur, Wilcox, Wilkinson, Williams, Wilson, Winslow, Winsor, Wood, Work, Wright, Yeomans, Yerrington, Young
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