Salem MA Quakers

“there is people not so rigid as the others are at Boston, are there are great desires among them after the Truth; some there are, as I hear, convinced, who meet in silence at a place called Salem.Henry Fell, June 27, 1658


Salem MA Cemetery Association , and the city of Salem MA, will rededicate a new sign marking the Friends (Quaker) Burial Ground. Kathleen Wooten will speak as a representative of Salem Quarterly Meeting of Friends, New England Yearly Meeting.  Here is the Facebook Event Page for the day, which will be updated as we get closer to the event.  Kenneth Glover, member of North Shore Friends Meeting and local tour guide, will provide a brief tour and highlight some of the information about the Quakers interred there.

In support of that day – I am providing some historical materials and history here.  Please join us!

My remarks from the dedication

Where is this cemetery?  Located at 396 1/2 Essex St, in Salem, MA – here is the Find A Grave entry.

Rachel Meyer of Epoch Preservation has been doing some fantastic restoration of the grave stones there. You may find her stories and photos on this Facebook page.

Who is buried here?

The list of graves (from FIndAGrave) indicates the common Quaker names of Buffum, Southwick, Maule, Chase, Northey, Nichols, and more.

Who were the Quakers in Salem MA?

My Quaker ancestors: A story of the early Quaker trials (blog) by Melissa D Berry

The Essex Antiquarian, Volume 1 – edited by Sidney Perley, pp. 135 – 141 (google books)

The Quaker Invasion of Massachusetts By Richard Price Hallowell,pp. 175 (google books)

Salem’s Quakers and their lost memorial

Individual Salem Quakers’ histories

Lawrence and Cassandra Southwick

Thomas Maule

Partial list of those buried in cemetery:

Buffum, George
Chase, Anna
Chase, Betsey
Chase, Elizabeth
Chase, Francis fs
Chase, Francis hs
Chase, Maria
Chase, Mary fs
Chase, Mary hs
Chase, Stephen
Foster, Crestefor
Fowler, Samuel
Fowler, Sarah
Johnson, Samuel
Nichols, Abby
Northey, William
Pope, Lucretia
Raymond, Alfred
Raymond, Sarah
Southwick, Esther

In the Registry of Deeds, book 9, leaf 29, date of October 13, 1690, we find that Thomas Maul of Salem, merchant, for forty-five pounds conveyed to “Josiah and Daniel Southwicke, Samuel Gaskin, Caleb Buffum, Christopher Foster, and Sarah Stone, all of Salem, in New England, Samuel Collins of Lynn, and several others of ye people called Quakers, in ye county of Essex in New England, a small tract or parcel of land containing about four rodsor poles, be it more or be it less, being situate in ye town of Salem aforesaid, bounded easterly and southerly by said Maul, westerly by land in possession John Richards of Salem;northerly by the main broad street or highway just as it lies and is now fenced together, with a meetinghouse which stands upon said land, for the use of the above named and several other of ye people commonly called Quakers, to worship and serve God in.” The before mentioned meetinghouse was the first Quaker meeting house in Salem, and the Samuel Gaskill mentioned is without doubt the son of Edward, who married Provided Southwick, and was punished for attending the Quaker meeting. In 1716 they sold this meeting house and the land to Thomas Maul, of Salem, for twenty-five pounds, and two years later Daniel Southwick, Samuel Gaskill, Caleb Buffum, and Samuel Collins having bought another lot on the other side of the way, more commodious for setting a meeting house, and erected a meeting house thereon, etc. (See deed recorded November 18, 1718, vol. xxxiv, p. 202, Registry of Deeds.) This was the second Quaker meeting house in Salem. The children of Samuel Gaskill and Provided Southwick: Samuel, born 23, 11th month, 1663; Edward, born October 23, 1667; Hannah, born January 2, 1669; Provided, born April 22, 1672.


In 1826, the year following Daniel Newhall’s death, Estes Newhall (a distant relative) petitioned the Boston General Court for Boston’s Quaker remains to be moved to Lynn, which was becoming New England’s second largest Quaker community. At that time, few friends were left in Boston and their cemetery was in disrepair. More than 100 people (72 adults and 37 children) were brought to Lynn and buried near the Quaker Cemetery. By the turn of the century, they paved the surface of the cemetery for a tennis court. In 1924 the Lynn Meeting House began building two apartment houses, the Haverford and the Earlham, on the site. As the bulldozers began to dig the foundation, construction came to an abrupt halt when human bones began to appear in the back dirt. The remains of the Boston Quakers were again removed and sent to Salem’s Quaker Burial Ground where they lie undisturbed to this day. Daily Evening Item, Lynn, Mass. Tuesday, August 23, 1983 Page 21

By Janet Lane, Special to The Item