Forest Hills Cemetery in Boston, Massachusetts

Photo by Michael Kleen

Designed by landscape architect Henry A. S. Dearborn and opened in 1848, Forest Hills Cemetery, at 95 Forest Hills Avenue in Boston, Massachusetts, is a historic rural cemetery. The area was originally owned by the town of Roxbury, until Boston annexed Roxbury in 1868. Its forested paths wind their way through 275 acres, in which approximately 16,000 people are laid to rest. Like many rural cemeteries, Forest Hills doubles as a garden and arboretum.

He that Keepeth Thee Will Not Slumber

Brookline architect Charles W. Panter designed Forest Hills Cemetery’s Gothic-Revival main gate, which was erected in 1865. It is made from Roxbury puddingstone and buff sandstone, which gives it a distinct appearance. An inscription from Psalm 121 over the entrance reads, “He that keepeth thee will not slumber.”

Boy in a Boat

Memorial to Louis Ernest Mieusset (1881-1886), son of Louise Helluin Mieusset, who designed fashionable hats for Boston’s elites. She paid for this hauntingly lifelike white marble statue of her son sitting in a boat with all his favorite toys with money she saved for his schooling, leaving her grief stricken and penniless in her old age. According to popular lore, Louis drowned in Jamaica Pond, but some researchers maintain he actually died of scarlet fever.

I heard a voice from Heaven

Monument to Oliver Ditson (1811-1888), a printer and publisher of sheet music. An epitaph beneath the statue’s feet from Revelation 14:13 reads: “I heard a voice from Heaven.” The entire verse says, “And I heard a voice from Heaven, saying unto me, ‘Write: ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from henceforth.” ‘Yea,’ saith the Spirit, ‘that they may rest from their labors, and their works do follow them.'” It was adapted into song by English composer Thomas Morley.

A Girl in Glass

Preserved in a thick glass cylinder, this lovely white marble statue by Sidney Morse commemorates Grace Sherwood Allen (1876-1880), who died of whooping cough just shy of her fifth birthday. The lifelike statue holds daisies in her right hand, and a sash is tied into a large bow behind her back.

Death Stays the Hand of the Sculptor

Daniel Chester French’s “Death Stays the Hand of the Sculptor” or “Death and the Sculptor” was erected in 1889 in honor of Irish-American brothers Martin (1844-1883) and Joseph Milmore (1841-1886), who both died in their prime. Martin Milmore produced several fine sculptures, including the Sphinx in Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts. “Death and the Sculptor” depicts the Angel of Death stopping the hand of a sculptor carving a sphinx. A plaque beneath reads, in part: “‘Come, stay your hand,’ Death to the Sculptor cried; Those who are sleeping have not really died.”

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Author: Michael Kleen

Michael Kleen is an author, raconteur, and occasional traveler. He has a M.A. in History and M.S. in Education. He enjoys studying military history, folklore, and philosophy.

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