High Street Cemetery Meeting House
High Street Cemetery, founded in 1681, is a private cemetery located on seven acres in the center of Hingham. The cemetery contains some of the town’s oldest graves, including those of George Russell (died 1694), Jane Russell (died 1688), and Mary Jacob (died 1694). Prominent Hingham names found at High Street Cemetery include Hobart, Lincoln, and Hersey.
Nestled in the center of this peaceful spot is the Meeting House, which once served as the cemetery chapel. In 1838, the Second Parish Church appointed a superintendent to establish rules for the tombs and burials and to make improvements to the cemetery. Fundraising efforts helped these improvements, and in 1855, the High Street Cemetery Association was formed. It was around this time that the Chapel was constructed. In 1870, George Lincoln, author of the 1893 History of Hingham, took an interest in the cemetery and gave funds for its further beautification.
A ladies’ sewing circle met at the Meeting House during the Civil War to knit gloves, scarves, and blankets for the soldiers, and to mend worn coats. The sewing circle continued to gather there long afterwards, and in 1900 celebrated its fortieth annual meeting.
The High Street Cemetery Association began restoration of the Meeting House in 2013. The old windows were restored and the walls were taken back to the studs. A 2-hole outhouse was removed from the site. The building was properly insulated and returned to its original two rooms. A pole was erected on Cross Street to bring electricity to the house, and a trench was dug from Cross Street along the cemetery wall to bring in water. All work was accomplished thanks to donations and the High Street Cemetery Capital Fund. By the end of that year the project was complete.
~ History by Caroline Lengyel