More About Dorchester North Burying Ground

Among those interred here is William Stoughton, whose original tombstone was replaced by the impressive marble table monument seen today, which was repaired in 1828 by Harvard, to whom Stoughton donated a significant amount of money. Born in Dorchester in 1631, Stoughton held many important roles in the Massachusetts government, including Lieutenant Governor and Acting Governor. He is best-remembered as the Chief Justice of the witchcraft trials court in 1692. He died in 1701 at the age of 70. The town of Stoughton, “the south precinct of Dorchester,” is named after him.


The epitaph on William Stoughton’s original gravestone, according to the Stoughton, MA website, read: “Here Lies WILLIAM STOUGHTON, Esquire. Lieutenant, afterwards Governor of the Province of Massachusetts in New England. Also Chief Judge of the Superior Court in the same province. A man of wedlock unknown, Devout in Religion, Renowned by Virtue, Famous for Erudition, Acute in Judgment, Equally illustrious by kindness and Spirit, A lover of Equity, A Defender of Laws, Founder of Stoughton Hall. A most distinguished patron of Letters and literary men. A most generous opponent of impiety and — Rhetoricians delight in him as eloquent. Writers are acquainted with him as elegant. Philosophers seek him as wise. Doctors honor him as a Theologian. The devout revere him as Gracious. All Admire him! Unknown by all Yet known to all. What need of more, Traveller? Whom have we lost – STOUGHTON! Alas! I have said sufficient, Tears press, I keep silence. He lived Seventy Years; On the Seventh of July, in the Year of Safety 1701, He died. Alas! Alas! What Grief!”


Also buried here is Rev. Richard Mather, third minister of Dorchester, father of Rev. Increase Mather, and grandfather of Rev. Cotton Mather. Richard Mather was born in England circa 1596, arrived in the New World in 1635, and led Dorchester’s Puritan congregation from 1636 until his death in 1669.


Dorchester North Burying Ground is also the final resting place of William Tailer, who was married to Rebecca Stoughton, sister of William Stoughton. Tailer was the Lieutenant Governor of the Province from 1711 to 1716, and again in the early 1730s. During each period he was briefly Acting Governor. Also buried here are John Foster, Boston’s first printer; 40 unknown Revolutionary War soldiers; and three African American slaves.


585 Columbia Road