speaking of the Granary Burial Grounds …

not only are people who distinguished themselves during the Revolutionary War buried in the Granary grounds, so are those whose death touched the conflagration off. Sam Adams had four of the victims of the Boston Massacre, along with boy killed eleven days before the event, buried in his family tomb and this marker put up in the grounds in their honor.

Crispus Attucks was the first person killed during by the British troops in the Massacre. he was of mixed heritage — part African, part Native American — but the issue of his parentage wasn’t widely mentioned until anti-slavery elements kicked up during the 19th century. in 1858, Massachusetts Abolitionists declared Crispus Attucks Day; in 1886, the places where Attucks and Samuel Grey fell (in front of the Town Hall) were marked by circles on the pavement. beyond the information about Attucks’ heritage, speculation about his life and background is inconclusive; some reports suggest he was a runaway slave but, as surnames weren’t usually attached to slaves it’s impossible to tell for certain whether newspaper reports do refer to him. according to a PBS article, Attucks may have worked as a whaler and a ropemaker in the Boston area for many years following the publication of the “escaped slave” advertisement in the Boston Gazette. if reports of his profession are correct, the PBS article suggests he might have been particularly vulnerable to the presence of British troops, who interfered with shipping interests along the coast and often took part-time jobs in ropemaking, and worked for less than colonists. while little is known for certain about his life, his death was well documented. shot twice in the chest, his body was carried to Faneuil Hall, where he laid in state for three days. the “first to defy, first to die,” Attucks became an instant martyr and is probably the most recognizable name among the victims of the Boston Massacre.

speaking of burial grounds in Boston …

the stop on the Boston Freedom Trail preceding the King’s Chapel and Burial Grounds is the Granary Burying Grounds, final resting place of many of the more famous Revolutionary figures. Paul Revere, John Hancock, Samuel Adams, Robert Treat Paine (three of the signers of the Declaration of Independence), Mother Goose,  are all interred here. some estimate that as many as 8,000 people are buried in the grounds — and these grounds are not particularly large! the area isn’t any bigger than the footprint for your standard-size downtown office skyscraper. the ground was initially part of the Boston Common, which lies some 200 feet away, now separated by the Park Street Church. that portion of land was taken over for the construction of public buildings, including a “house of correction” and the granary, for which the burying ground became known. (there was an effort in the early 19th century to rename the grounds in honor of Benjamin Franklin’s family. we can see how well that worked for them.)