Friday, October 19, 2007

The Freedom Trail - Part 1

I've been traveling lately, and have more travels coming up, so posts may continue to be thin for a while. This past week I've been in Boston. I did see a few birds, but was unable to get any good pictures. Most were gulls -- Herring Gulls, I think -- they were really large. I also saw a hawk in the Boston Commons. The bird was no more than 10 feet in front of me and flew up from the ground (and quite startled me, I must admit). At a guess, I would say it was a ubiquitous Red Tail (which, of course, is one of my favorite birds). It was quite an impressive sight!

I had a half-day on Monday, so I took a guided walking tour of the Freedom Trail. I will share my photos by topic, and not necessarily in order. In this post, I will focus on the Granary Burial Ground.

This shot of the burial grounds was taken quite quickly. The area was mostly quite shady, so I was pleasantly surprised by this play on light and shadow, monochrome and color.

It is estimated that 5-6,000 people are buried here, though there are only a couple of thousand stones. And while the locations of the many patriots buried here are known, most of the rest of the graves have lost any connection to the stones set in the ground. Our guide told us that before the buildings which now surround the grounds were built, water would often rush down the site and wash out the grave stones. The care takers would simply collect them and place them somewhere on the grounds. People were often buried one atop the other (usually family members) -- and some were buried vertically to save space.

One of the patriots buried here is James Otis -- the persona taken by our tour guide. Our tour guide had a dry wit, and a lot of great tales to tell about the Patriots and early days of the American Revolution. James Otis, the Patriot, was an orator and lawyer who argued against the "writs of assistance." It was Otis (or so our guide tells us), who actually coined the phrase "Taxation without Representation".

The Granary Burial Ground is the resting place of "more famous people than any other small graveyard in America," according to "The Complete Guide to Boston's Freedom Trail by Charles Bahne. It holds three signers of the Declaration of Independance (John Handcock, Samuel Adams and Robert Paine), 9 governers of Massachusetts, the victims of the so-called Boston Massacre, Benjamin Franklin's parents and Paul Revere.

The patriots have monuments that were erected later in their honor. One such is Paul Revere -- but his original gravestone is also present.

So, there were many sights to see along the trail... I will share more later.

1 comment:

american woman said...

What a wonderful history tour you have taken. My friend, who is a retired History teacher and livesd in Boston.... used to Docent this walking tour. When I see your pictures of these great patriots graves, I am reminded we must continue to fight for freedom. Thank you for sharing.