The North Burial Ground was erected in 1700, but it wasn’t until 1711 that Providence folk actually started burying their deceased there. It serves as one of the oldest and largest public cemeteries in Rhode Island. Majorly inclusive, the North Burial Ground was open to people from one end of the spectrum to the other, and everyone in between: the wealthy, the poor, people of all faiths, prisoners, and even emancipated slaves were interred in the grounds of the cemetery and now rest among over 100,000 people entombed within the cemetery’s 110-acres.
On June 27, 1878, Sarah Helen Whitman passed away at the home of her friend Mrs. Albert Dailey. Helen’s remains were interred at the North Burial Ground the following day towards the closing of the afternoon. Helen’s grave was lined completely with laurel and evergreen so that none of the naked earth could be seen. After her casket was lowered, friends tossed upon it more bunches of greens and each a scatter of flowers. In death, Sarah Helen Whitman was smothered with emblems of immortality that truly reflected the legacy she would hold.
Among the remains of Sarah Helen Whitman in her family’s plot, you can find her sister Susan Anna Power (who died just a year prior to Helen), her parents Nicholas and Anne Power, and her grandparents Captain Nicholas Power and Rebecca Cory Power. Helen’s other oldest sister, Rebecca Power Staples, is interred just across the way with her husband William Read Staples, in his family’s plot.
Below are some photos I’ve captured during my visits to the cemetery and to the grave of Mrs. Sarah Helen Whitman.