Sights ~ North Burial Ground, Providence

North Burial Ground
Providence, Rhode Island

North burial ground

Providence's North Burial Ground was established in 1700. Before that, most families buried their loved ones in plots on family farms. Because of Rhode Island's strict (and unique at the time) separation of church and state laws, it took a long time to establish a non-denominational community burial ground.

North Burial Ground is 110 acres, making it the largest community burial ground in the state. A number of local luminaries are buried here, including (from Wikipedia):
  • Edward Mitchell Bannister, African American painter
  • Chad Brown, early pastor of the First Baptist Church in America, progenitor of Brown family
  • John Brown, merchant, U.S. Representative, slave trader, co-founder of Brown University
  • Fred Corey, Major League Baseball player
  • Sam Walter Foss, librarian, poet.
  • Stephen Hopkins, politician, Rhode Island governor, Founding Father, signatory of the Declaration of Independence (grave picture)
  • Horace Mann, educator, founder of Antioch College, U.S. Representative
  • Henry J. Steere, philanthropist, manufacturer
  • Sarah Helen Whitman, poet, essayist, and a romantic interest of Edgar Allan Poe
  • Charles J. Martin, artist and arts instructor
Bear and I spent a pleasant hour there on a Sunday afternoon recently.

Old North Burial Ground
view of the stone rows

North burial ground
Elks(?) burial section

Firefighters memorial
Fire Department memorial section

Brown memorial section

North burial ground

Bear and I are fascinated by the statuary and art used to mark gravesites, particularly those dating from the Victorian and Colonial eras.

Because of poor record-keeping prior to the 1800s and that many family farm plots were moved to the burial ground as roads were created over time, finding specific graves at Old North Burial Ground is notoriously difficult. offers some tips if you're trying to do genealogical research.


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