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any that have not been there for their first quarter only set in motion a host of new stories of valiant century are already crumbling, and have no more deeds and wonders, but it also brought to light fibre than chalk. As one follows the flicker of some unheard-of contradictions. the light creeping into those ghostly tombs, he It was during this celebration that the tablet cannot help moralizing upon the vanity of vanities was proposed that now appears in the front of the represented in rose-wood and mahogany when tower with the inscription : worked into coffins, and the honesty of plain wood boards with wooden pegs to join them.
"THE SIGNAL-LANTERNS OF PAUL REVERE Of course, the Rev. Timothy Cutler was buried DISPLAYED FROM THE STEEPLE OF THIS CHURCH here, and there is a strangers' vault in one corner,
APRIL 18th, 1775, and a carnal vault outside the regular line. Bodies
WARNED THE COUNTRY OF THE MARCH were only allowed to lie for a specified time in
OF THE BRITISH TROOPS the strangers' vault, and then the coffins were
TO LEXINGTON AND CONCORD.” broken up and thrown as unrecognized into the carnal vault, there to wait till “a mightier voice But such was the force of the contradictions than that sexton's old” should “ gather them in." that were raised, that it was not till three years,
Among the noted names of those that have to a day, later, that the tablet was placed there. slept in this crypt is Major Pitcairn, a corpulent It was declared that the glory of the lanterns was man, whose remains were laid away here after not due to Paul Revere; that it was not Robert his fierce struggle and fiercer oaths against the Newman who held them, and that it was not in " dd Yankees' of the Revolutionary War. the spire of Christ church at all that they were At almost the same time the body of one Lieuten- displayed. The community at large was so parant Shea, a very similarly corpulent man, who alyzed by these startling charges against the faith died of brain fever, was left in the same tomb. that had never been doubted for a century, that Shortly after the war, the friends of Major Pit- even though there were many who were personally cairn in England sent for his body to establish acquainted with the principal actors and had heard it inore gloriously in a vault in Westminster. the story over and over again from their own lips, But during that very troublous period, while the and had never heard any other, the doubts, for a old sexton's work had been driving, he had failed time, seemed to have taken a victorious stand. to keep so perfect a record as would have been And the more the believers looked into the matter well, and found himself at a loss as to which was the more tangled they became; for by degrees which of the two large coffins. It mattered little. almost all of them had grown so used to acceptHe sent on one of them to England. He alone ing certain versions—Henry W. Longfellow's, for knew of the uncertainty, and hence he alone fully instance—that when they found that he at least appreciated the force of it when the report came was certainly radically wrong, they were almost back from England concerning a curious appear- tempted to agree in doubting the evidences of ance about the head of the body that had been their own senses and memories. placed in Westminster, indicative, perhaps, of One of the most unaccountable facts in the brain-fever. But murder will out; the sexton's whole course of the dispute was that such a man secret came to the knowlege of a few friends, and as Richard Frothingham should have taken the by them was handed down as a sort of legendary lead in doubting, founding his impressions upon wonder as to whether the body of Major Pitcairn so weak a footing as a little memorandum he had had really been sent to England, or was still chanced to find which was without date, and was quietly resting in the dusty and almost forgotten professedly written from memory and long after crypt of Christ church, in Boston.
the occurrence of the events recorded. In this In 1823 the body of a Mr. Thomas was taken memorandum, the writer, Richard Devens, made out of a tomb where it had lain for eighty years, it appear that he, and not Paul Revere, instigated and found to be perfectly mummied.
and took charge of the signals, and that he sent On the 18th of April, 1875, the church was Paul Revere to give the warning, and to "spread elaborately decorated, and the lanterns were again the alarm through every Middlesex village and hung in the belfry tower. This anniversary not farm.” Some of Mr. Frothingham's friends, how
ever, when they saw how thoroughly worsted he ·Devens came to me and told me that he came was in the end, claimed for him that he himself down the road from Lexington that evening after had not believed what he had said, but, seeing sundown ; that he met ten British officers, all well that at some time or other the question would mounted and armed, going up the road." He surely come up, he thought it wise that it should adds that after leaving Lexington, having there be thoroughly sifted while the living proof was at given the warning, he was met and stopped by hand 10 set the matter once and forever upon an the British officers. established and recognized basis.
All of this, however, works sad havoc with The statement of the memorandum was as follows:
. . . I soon received intelligence that the enemy were all in motion, etc. Soon afterward the signal agreed upon was given : This was a lanthorn hung out in the upper window of the tower of the N. ch. towards Charlestown. watch at the ferry to watch for boats 'till about eleven o'clock, when Paul Revere came over and informed me that the T. were actually in the boats. I then took horse from Mr. Larkin's barn and sent him. I procured horse and sent off P. Revere to give intelligence at Menotomy and Lexington. He was taken by British officers before mentioned, before he got to Lexington, and retained 'till near day.”
With abundant other proof testifying to the error of this statement, Paul Revere's own account of the matter is still in existence, published in popular form in 1793, while all of the principal actors were still living
THE COLONIAL CEMETERY, COPP'S HILL. to read it, and object if it were the glaring lie that it must have been to admit Longfellow's poetic dream; for it was doubtless of Richard Devens's story being strictly true. Paul Revere himself who discovered the intention Paul Revere says, “ They landed me on the in the British to march, and who directed his Charlestown side. When I got to town, I met intimate friend, Robert Newman, to hold the lanColonel Conant and others; they said they had terns before he started to cross the river, in order seen our signals. I told them what was acting that if he were prevented by capture or accident and went to get me a horse. I got a horse of from gaining the other shore, Colonel Conant Deacon Larkin.” He then says that while he and others upon the Charlestown side might be went to get the horse, messengers carried the news able to take the matter in hand and carry on the to Mr. Devens, who is here for the first time men- work. Nor was it “in the belfry tower of the tioned in the narrative of Paul Revere. “Richard | Old North church," as will appear later. Nor
THE CLARK TOMB,
set down Paul Revere as a fool, though he was one of the most prominent of those famous “North-end mechanics," by profession a gold-beater, an engraver upon copper of considerable skill, one of the movers of the great tea-party, a lieutenant-colonel in the militia, the founder of the first colonial powder-mill, the establisher of the first cannon-ball foundry, and proprietor of the Canton works in copper bolts and bars, as well as the first president of the Mechanics' Charitable Association, in which capacity he made the published statement referred to-by no means the record of a fool.
Another objection against Christ church was, that, being Episcopalian, it would doubtless be too thoroughly Eng. lish to admit of such treason. But upon that very day the rector was expelled from the church, after an exciting demonstration, as being altogether to severe a Tory to meet the notions of the free-thinking congregation, and the keys had been given to Robert Newman,
the sexton, with instructions to lock was it “two by the village clock when he came to up the church and keep it locked till the war the bridge by Concord town,” for he was taken was over. prisoner by some British officers just after leaving At last the matter was once more settled, and the Lexington; and it was Dr. Prescott, when return- original trinity, Newman, Revere, and the North ing to his home in Concord, from a rather late church, more strongly believed in than ever. call upon his lady-love in Lexington, who wit- Christ church also successfully claims the disnessed the arrest and carried on the news.
tinction of having organized the first SundayThe next contradiction came in the form of an school in America, though Drake and some other address made at a later centennial celebration at writers state to the contrary; and a neighboring Christ church by the Rev. John Lee Watson, of church has innocently held it for many years, until New Jersey, and a pamphlet which he published at last, by its own records, it has been found that to the same end, in 1876, claiming that it was a its Sunday-school was organized by several teachers relative of his, and not Robert Newman, the sex, and scholars who came over from the Christ church ton, who held the lanterns in the belfry tower. Sunday-school. Among the successful scholars of The pamphlet was entitled “The True Story of this first Sunday-school under the superintendency the Signal Lanterns,” but was so full of internal of Dr. Eaton were Dr. Edson and Dr. Price, of error that no close observer of facts gave it cre- New York, and the late Dr. B. C. Cutler, with dence, and after a temporary and only partial many others. withdrawal the laurels were again placed on the Not far from the door of the church is the head of Robert Newman, where they undoubtedly famous Copp's Hill Cemetery. It is a lovely belonged.
oasis, amid the surrounding dust and decay. It While these matters were under consideration, was in the corner of this cemetery that the British the statement that it was not Christ church at all battery stood that set fire to Charlestown, over the where the lanterns were shown came up for dis- river. From here Burgoyne and Clinton watched cussion. To accept it they would be obliged to the battle and the conflagration. Just beside the grounds, at the surrender of Quebec, forty-five tar of the question, leaving it still very possible barrels, two cords of wood, fifty pounds of powder, that this is the oldest tombstone in America. and several other appropriate combustibles were This stone, being a prominent one, made a good burned in celebration. Originally, there were four target for the British soldiers to practice upon independent burial-grounds in this one, and, com- when off duty, and the bullet-marks still remain. ing together, there was left in the very centre a A plain brick vault with a rough stone slab bit of land a rod square that was owned by none marks the tomb of the three Doctors Mather, of them; and to this day it remains an unencum- Increase, Cotton, and Samuel, and at a little disbered piece of property. It was bought when half tance the willow is still weeping that was brought the cemetery was a pasture, by the famous ship- as a slip from the grave of Napoleon, at St. builder, Joshua Gee, to accommodate his nervous Helena, by Captain Joseph Leonard. and somewhat aristocratic wife, who loved quiet, In a low stone slab there is a curious reminder and something a little out of the common rabble of the fate that befell Captain Thomas Lake, who and round of the world. For the sum of thirty- was “ riddled with bullets by the Maine Indians.” two shillings Samuel Sewall and his wife Hannah When his body was found and brought back to gave to Joshua Gee a free and independent title Boston, the bullets were taken out, and, being to one square rod of their pasture, adjoining the melted, were poured into a deep slit that was cut cemetery. Joshua secured a perpetual right of in the tombstone. way to it through the existing burial-ground, and The boys of the neighborhood have made many when his wife died he laid her body there. As raids upon the relic, and with knives and little
the village on the hill grew and increased in size, swords have taken out and carried off most of the . the Gee square rod became, as it now is, the very lead, but they have not yet succeeded in carrying
centre of the town of tombs. Poor Mrs. Gee had away the slit itself, which now is filled with fine lost her quiet suburban resting place, and her gravel. About a slab that is sacred to the memdemonstrative nerves are now subjected to the ory of Betsey, wife of the grave digger David constant rumble and roar of the veriest city life. Darling, there is an old mortality romance: a The little lot still remains in the family, and the quaint request made by the bereaved husband is very next heir could erect an ice-cream saloon engraved upon the wife's tombstone. But when upon it if he should chance to choose, or indeed the time came to cover up the old grave-digger's it may yet be sold in some bankrupt estate be- ashes no one remembered it, and Darling's mortal tween the block and the hammer.
coil was left in an out-of-the-way corner. At a litttle distance there is another lot, containing a green mound of earth that covers an unlettered tomb, where the true, good-hearted Calvinists and Puritans buried all their babies indiscriminately, if the little ones were so unfortunate as to die without the rights of baptism, and thus become doomed to the eternal tortures of the damned.
There is a slab in the cemetery of most interesting design and extraordinary work
HERE LYETH BURIED
BODY OF manship, dated 1625, sacred to the mem
GRACE BERRY ory of Grace Berry, said to have died at
FIOMAS BEPRY Plymouth, May 17th, and have been re
AGED ABOUT S8 YEARS moved to Copp's Hill in 1659, the year
WHO DIED NAY $ 17 that the cemetery was opened. There is
1625 a disagreement about the latter, however, and a claim that the date has been changed, by manipulation, from 1695. But there are arguments upon both sides
THE OLDEST TOMBSTONE IN AMERICA.