Efforts to preserve the Old Burying Ground’s historical and aesthetic legacy have given rise to an entirely new set of questions: Who gets memorialized after death, and why? What makes us devote money and manpower to the upkeep of a graveyard so old that no surviving descendants are left to visit? And what does all of it say about us now?
The tombstones are remnants of Puritan-era craftsmanship that the Fannins take pride in preserving. Many of them are painstakingly carved with images of the “death’s head” — a foreboding, winged skull, etched alongside phrases like “memento mori” (remember you must die) and “fugit hora” (the hour flies).