The Celebrating America Cruise - Visiting Boston, Massachusetts

Written by: Lynn Young, President General
December 10, 2015

We departed the ship early on a crisp, clear morning in Boston, Massachusetts and went to the Old Granary Burying Ground where we were greeted by many of the Massachusetts Daughters, including State Regent Gail Terry and a representative of the Mayor’s office. Founded in 1660, the Old Granary Burial Ground is the city's third-oldest cemetery.  Although we were there to place a wreath at the grave of John Hancock, we couldn’t resist visiting the graves of Benjam Franklin’s parents, three signers of the Declaration of Independence – Samuel Adams, John Hancock, and Robert Treat Paine, as well as Paul Revere, and the five victims of the Boston Massacre.

The USS Constitution Color Guard presented the flags and Chaplain General Ann Crider led us in prayer. Historian General Bana Caskey gave a wonderful summary of John Hancock’s service to the Colonies.  He went on to serve twice as Governor of Massachusetts and used his influence to ensure that Massachusetts ratified the United States Constitution in 1788. 

The cemetery is adjacent to a school and the young students were quite intrigued by our activities.  There were several other school groups in the cemetery and they stopped to listen to our service as Honorary President General Presley M. Wagoner joined me in placing the wreath. 

We walked about 20 minutes along the Freedom Trail to the North End, Boston’s oldest residential neighborhood, past historic Faneuil Hall where George Washington toasted the new nation on its first birthday.  The Freedom Trail features sixteen historic sites along a 2.5 mile walk, indicated by a red line painted on the sidewalk. The Massachusetts Daughters had prepared a wonderful reception for the visiting Daughters at the Pierce/Hichborn House, built about 1711.  It was owned by Nathaniel Hichborn, a boatbuilder and a cousin of Paul Revere, and is one of the earliest remaining brick structures in Boston. 

After enjoying lobster rolls and dessert, we were given private tours of the Paul Revere House, owned and operated by The Paul Revere Memorial Association.  Built around 1680, this house is the oldest building in downtown Boston and was owned by Paul Revere from 1770 to 1800.  It was marvelous to stand in the home of our most famous silversmith and see some of the silver items which he had made.

Within blocks of the home is the Old North Church, the oldest standing church building in Boston, where the lanterns were hung on the night of April 18, 1775 to signal Paul Revere that the British were coming.  His midnight ride to Lexington alerted Samuel Adams and John Hancock that the British were coming to arrest them.

Our time in Boston was short, but a small group was fortunate enough to have a private tour of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, conducted by Mansfield Chapter DAR member Rene Dearborn and her husband, David, who recently retired after working at NEGHS for many years.

Others visited the USS Constitution Museum to learn more about “Old Ironsides.” Launched in 1797, the wooden-hulled USS Constitution was authorized by the Naval Act of 1794 and named by President George Washington. The historic ship is currently in dry dock in the Charlestown Navy Yard as part of a three-year restoration program.

The day ended much too soon, but we left with a renewed appreciation for Boston and the Patriots who fought so valiantly for our freedom.  As a reminder of our visit, Gail Terry gifted each of us with a 125th charm along with Boston Harbor tea bags, reminiscent of the 342 chests thrown into the Boston Harbor in 1773.  

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