Gridley Family / Smallpox Cemetery Site
Located in that part of Stoughton which is now Canton - off Washington Street, at the end of Kinsley Place,
For the location a satellite photograph
This location is no longer marked by any visible gravestones.
In Huntoon's History of Canton the following was published on the Gridley Graveyard.
The Gridley Graveyard
The enclosure at the southerly part of Canton, originally the Leonard family burial-ground, known of late years a the Gridley Graveyard, from the fact that here for over eighty years the remains of Major-General Gridley reposed, was established as a matter of necessity, in a trying time. In May, 1764, the town was visited with the small-pox; and the records of its ravages, as they have come down to us, are terrible. "Awful," says the old pastor, "was the providence among the sick; two adult persons, heads of families, died, and a private fast was had in the Parish on account of the visitation." The following extracts are from the diary of Elijah Dunbar: —
"May 27. Terrible time on account of small pox.
" June —. Vilet died this night, a very terrible time.
"Leonards folks taken with the small pox.
"Mrs. Vose dies of the small pox.
"Old Joseph Fenno dies.
"Polly Billings dies of the small pox. purple sort.
"Leonards family in great distress.
"Sunday Mrs. Davenport dies of the small pox.
"14th. Fasting on account of the great sickness. Poor Mrs.
Leonard died this forenoon, and Walley this afternoon, of ye small pox.
"17th. Nurse Howard dies of small pox. '"
' 23d. Ebenezer Talbot dies."
The following gravestones were once located at this location. And the burials were not relocated.
The following gravestones - all that are standing [in 1893] - tell the sad story of three of the victims of the dreadful scourge:
"Here lies ye body of Mr. Walley Leonard, who died of the small pox, June the 14th. 1764, in the 44th year of his age."
"Here lies ye body of Mrs. Mary Leonard (and her new born babe), the wife and child of Ensign Nathaniel Leonard, who died of the small pox, June ye 14th, 1764, in the 39th year of her age."
"Here lies the body of Mary Billings, daughter of Mr. William and Mrs. Mary Billings, who died of the small pox, June 8, 1764, in the 18th year of her age."
Nathaniel was the son of Uriah, and was born March 7, 1717. He married Mary, daughter of Major John and Rebecca (Fenno) Shepard, Jan. 26, 1744. He purchased, in 1743, "London New," and is described as a "bloomer." He paid, in 1764, three shillings for every ton of iron ore he brought from Massapoag Pond. He resided in that part of the town known as the Hardware, and deserves remembrance for his public spirit in erecting the first milestone ever put up in the town. It stands just north of Massapoag Brook, at the point where Washington Street crosses it, a few rods from the original resting-place of Richard Gridley . It was found buried near the roadway, and was preserved by James Stratton Shepard ; it bears an inscription supposed to have been cut by Leonard's own hand: —
[Editors note: Boston 17 / Miles / 1736 / Nathaniel Leonard]
After the death of Nathaniel Leonard, his son Jacob, in conveying the property to Richard Gridley, Edmund Quincy, and others, in 1772, reserves "one rod square for a burial place, and here some of the grantor's relatives are buried." Here Gridley buried his son, Scarborough, who died Dec. 16, 1787, and his wife, Hannah, who died Oct. 17, 1790, and he was himself interred in this enclosure, near the graves of the Leonards and the collateral Billingses; so that in 1821, when Adam Kinsley bought the little plat, it had been increased, and "three rods were reserved for the burying place."
The Gridley Smallpox Cemetery looking South at the end of Kinsley Place
Looking northeasterly in the southeast corner
Click here another webpage on the history of this cemetery from the Canton Historical Society website including a 20th century map of the area.
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