Rhode Island Woman Discovers Long-Lost Irish Cemetery

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The big discovery…and a new project.

The Waltham News Tribune reported on how the discovery was made:

Researching the news articles of the day, she found that the city of Waltham has reached an agreement with the Archdiocese of Boston to use the cemetery land to expand the school in the mid-1900s. In order to do that, more than 1,000 bodies had to be disinterred and moved over to the Calvary Cemetery in 1947.

McMullen then traveled to Calvary Cemetery to see the grave site for all of the Irish immigrants originally buried on Church Street.

She’d be surprised to find only an open field with very few signs of headstones.

“That seemed odd, this big grassy area and only four headstones,” she said, in a phone interview last week.

According to articles of the time, the bodies were laid in rows one right next to the other with the headstones laid flat over each coffin.

It was only after taking a closer look that McMullen discovered that the headstones were still there, just buried under a couple inches of dirt and grass, a sign of many years of neglect.

She started uncovering the headstones herself, and found markers for immigrants from County Cork, Kerry, Donegal, Galway, and others.

On September 19th and 20th, Annie & Bill McMullen, with a group of volunteers, are setting out to uncover the tombstones buried in their own shallow graves at Calvary Cemetery.

This story just goes to show that the biggest moments in the search for the truth are a lot less “Eureka!” and a lot more “That’s odd…”

We’d also like to give our Massachusetts neighbors a little nudge and remind them that it was a Rhode Islander that found what was right under their noses.

-Tristan Pinnock, Blast History Correspondent


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Tristan's just this guy, ya know?