September 26, 2013

I like that ancient Saxon phrase, which calls The burial ground God’s acre! It is just;
it consecrates each grave within its walls, And breaths a benison o’er the sleeping dust.

                                                                                                                                 —Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


                                                                                          Quincy Adams Shaw

Forest Hills Cemetery has embraced people of all walks of life since its founding in 1848, but in some cases those interred here had achieved great accomplishments in their lives. Among the governors of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts interred here are Channing Cox, Alexander Rice, Curtis Guild, Eugene Foss, and William Gaston. Those who served as mayors of Boston are Benjamin Seaver, Samuel C. Cobb, Andrew Peters, Edwin Upton Curtis, and Thomas N. Hart, and mayors of Roxbury John J. Clarke, Henry Dearborn, Linus B. Comins, William Gaston, and George Lewis. Among the aristocrats of Boston, the self styled “Boston Brahmins,” are Quincy Adams Shaw and his wife Pauline Agassiz Shaw, whose unfailingly generous contributions to every worthy cause made Boston a haven for social reform and education. The shipping magnates William Fletcher Weld, Robert Bennet Forbes, and Charles Brewer connected the port of Boston to all parts of the world, and brought renown and wealth to those involved. Henry A. Dearborn laid out Forest Hills and served as the first president of the horticultural society, and William Hyslop Sumner developed both East Boston and his estate on Sumner Hill in Jamaica Plan and is remembered today by the Sumner Tunnel. Doctors Joseph Warren, and his nephew John Collins Warren extolled the highest virtues of medicine. Each of these people represents the benevolent and political aspects of Boston and of their myriad accomplishments. 

Eugene Gladstone O’Neill (1888–1953) was an American playwright and Nobel laureate in literature. His numerous plays are among the first to introduce into American drama the techniques of realism associated with playwrights Aton Chekov, Henrik Ibsen, and August Strindberg. His plays were among the first to include speeches in the American vernacular and were embraced with alacrity by the public. His plays often involved characters who inhabit the fringes of society, engaging in depraved behavior, where they struggle to maintain their hopes and aspirations but ultimately slide into disillusionment and despair. 

The Gateway to Forest Hills Cemetery

Charles W. Panter of Brookline designed the monumentally impressive gateway, which was completed in July 1865. Built of Roxbury puddingstone and buff sandstone with two conical spires and a central stone pediment, it has flanking square gatehouses with steeply pitched sandstone roofs. Above the central gate is the biblical inscription, “He that keepeth thee will not slumber.”