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The Americans occupied Bunker Hill overlooking Boston on the evening of June 16th. The British, commanded by General Gage, had no choice but to attack the Americans. On the afternoon of the 17th, Gage's forces attacked. In a hard fought battle, the American were forced to withdraw. While the British were victorious, they suffered heavy losses. The battle shocked the British who were expecting an easy victory.
After the battles of Lexington and Concord, the Army of New England, and the British Army faced one another in Boston. The New England Militia had surrounded Boston, while the British army occupied the city. Neither the New England Militia, nor the British forces occupied Dorchester Heights or Bunker Hill, both of which had clear strategic importance. General Gage ordered the occupation of the Heights beginning June 16th. Word of Gage's plans reached the Colonists. The Colonists decided to act first. On the evening of June 16th, Colonel William Prescott acted on orders of General Artemas Ward. Prescott led two Massachusetts regiments, his own artillery company, plus a large work detail out of Cambridge to occupy Bunker Hill.
Colonel Prescott was an experienced soldier, having fought in two British wars. Despite being 49 years old, Prescott was in good shape. Prescott arrived in Charelston Neck with nearly 1,200 soldiers. He met up with Colonel Putman, whose additional 250 Connecticut volunteers joined them.
Once in Charleston Neck, the Americans decided to dig in and fortify Breed Hill. American troops worked through the night to fortify their position. With first light, British ships at anchor in the harbor noticed the American forces on the hills and began firing. General Gage ordered an attack on the American forces.
The 23rd Regiment, known as "the Royal Welch Fusiliers", headed for the redoubt. The Americans, who had limited gunpowder, held their fire until they were within fifty feet of the British. When in range, the Americans opened fire on the thick column of British soldiers before them. A British officer described the scene: "Our Light Infantry were served up in companies, and were devoured by musket fire." The British attack broke. Meanwhile, the attack above, on the railed fence by the Grenadiers ran into similar trouble. Once again the Americans held their fire until the British were close by. Two attacks of the Grenadiers were successfully turned back. However, the Americans were soon running out of ammunition. On the third attack the British succeeded in overrunning the redoubt. Most of the Americans succeeded in withdrawing. Thirty Americans were caught in the redoubt and killed by the British.
In the end, the Americans were forced to withdraw. Bunker Hill was in British hands. 226 British soldiers died taking the hill and 828 were wounded. 140 American soldiers were killed and an additional 271 wounded. The British lost a total of 1,500 men; In the two engagements that had taken place first on the road to Concord and Lexington, and now here at Bunker Hill. British loses represented one quarter of the soldiers that the British army had stationed in Boston.
One or two more "victories" like Bunker Hill and the British would lose the war. On top of that, until Bunker Hill, the British army was under the illusion that the Americans were no match for British regulars. The British thought the Americans would surely break and run in combat. Instead, the Americans proved to be steady, secure, and brave. The Americans withdrew only after they were out of ammunition. In retrospect, after Bunker Hill it should have been clear to the British that they would not be able defeat the Americans. Unfortunately, they would spend the next seven years trying to do so.
10 Things You May Not Know About the Battle of Bunker Hill
Tasked on the night of June 16, 1775, with fortifying 110-foot-tall Bunker Hill on the Charlestown peninsula, which jutted into Boston Harbor, Colonel William Prescott instead directed the 1,000 patriots joining him to build an earthen fort atop neighboring Breed’s Hill, a shorter peak with a closer perch to the British under siege in Boston. Whether Prescott ignored orders or was simply ignorant of Charlestown’s geography is unknown, but the subsequent battle that unfolded was named for the original target𠅋unker Hill𠅎ven though most of it occurred one-third of a mile south on Breed’s Hill.
Bunker Hill, Kansas
J. B. Corbett and Valentine Harbaugh, leaders of a colony from Ohio, founded Bunker Hill at a site on the Kansas Pacific Railway in the summer of 1871.   The settlement received its name from a Butterfield Overland Despatch station, built in 1865, that had preceded it on the site.  County commissioners declared Bunker Hill the county seat in 1872, but, two years later, a popular vote moved the seat to nearby Russell. Many Bunker Hill residents moved with it, stunting the growth and development of the town. By 1883, a small business community emerged, including a hotel, flour mill, and several shops. 
The community lies in the Smoky Hills region of the Great Plains approximately 5 miles (8 km) north of the Smoky Hill River and 7 miles (11 km) south of the Saline River.   Wilson Lake lies 6 miles (10 km) to the northeast. 
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.38 square miles (3.57 km 2 ), all of it land. 
The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Bunker Hill has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps. 
|U.S. Decennial Census|
2010 census Edit
As of the 2010 census, there were 95 people, 47 households, and 21 families residing in the city. The population density was 67.9 people per square mile (26.4/km 2 ). There were 66 housing units at an average density of 47.1 per square mile (18.3/km 2 ). The racial makeup of the city was 97.9% White, 1.1% Asian, and 1.1% from some other race. Hispanics and Latinos of any race were 1.1% of the population. 
There were 47 households, of which 23.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.2% were married couples living together, 2.1% had a male householder with no wife present, 6.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 55.3% were non-families. 53.2% of all households were made up of individuals, and 42.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.02, and the average family size was 3.00. 
In the city, the population was spread out, with 21.1% under the age of 18, 6.1% from 18 to 24, 14.8% from 25 to 44, 30.6% from 45 to 64, and 27.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 48.9 years. For every 100 females, there were 102.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.5 males age 18 and over. 
The median income for a household in the city was $31,875, and the median income for a family was $36,250. Males had a median income of $30,313 versus $37,917 for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,661. 4.2% of families and 2.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.7% of those under age 18 and 0.0% of those age 65 or over. 
2000 census Edit
As of the census  of 2000, there were 101 people, 51 households, and 29 families residing in the city. The population density was 73.2 people per square mile (28.3/km 2 ). There were 68 housing units at an average density of 49.3/sq mi (19.0/km 2 ). The racial makeup of the city was 100.00% White. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.93% of the population.
There were 51 households, out of which 13.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.0% were married couples living together, 3.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 43.1% were non-families. 39.2% of all households were made up of individuals, and 11.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 1.98 and the average family size was 2.59.
In the city the population was spread out, with 17.8% under the age of 18, 1.0% from 18 to 24, 19.8% from 25 to 44, 37.6% from 45 to 64, and 23.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 51 years. For every 100 females, there were 83.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 80.4 males.
As of 2012, 70.7% of the population over the age of 16 was in the labor force. 0.0% was in the armed forces, and 70.7% was in the civilian labor force with 70.7% being employed and 0.0% unemployed. The composition, by occupation, of the employed civilian labor force was: 34.5% in service occupations 32.8% in sales and office occupations 17.2% in management, business, science, and arts 12.1% in natural resources, construction, and maintenance 3.4% in production, transportation, and material moving. The three industries employing the largest percentages of the working civilian labor force were: retail trade (27.6%) arts, entertainment, and recreation, and accommodation and food services (13.8%) and wholesale trade (13.8%). 
The cost of living in Bunker Hill is relatively low compared to a U.S. average of 100, the cost of living index for the community is 80.0.  As of 2012, the median home value in the city was $45,000, the median selected monthly owner cost was $717 for housing units with a mortgage and $275 for those without, and the median gross rent was $913. 
Bunker Hill is a city of the third class with a mayor-council form of government. The city council consists of five members, and it meets on the second Tuesday of each month. 
Bunker Hill lies within Kansas's 1st U.S. Congressional District. For the purposes of representation in the Kansas Legislature, the city is located in the 36th district of the Kansas Senate and the 109th district of the Kansas House of Representatives. 
The community is served by Russell County USD 407 public school district. The district high school is Russel High School located in Russell. 
Bunker Hill schools were closed through school unification. The Bunker Hill High School mascot was White Owls. 
Interstate 70 and U.S. Route 40 run concurrently east-west a mile south of the city.  Bunker Hill-Luray Road, a paved county road, runs north-south along the city's western edge. 
Union Pacific Railroad operates one freight rail line, its Kansas Pacific (KP) Line, through Bunker Hill. The line runs east-west through the community. 
Western Electric provides electricity to local residents. Rural Telephone provides landline telephone service, and Nex-Tech offers cable television and internet access.  Most residents use natural gas for heating fuel service is provided by Midwest Energy, Inc.  
Bunker Hill is in the Wichita-Hutchinson, Kansas television market.  Smoky Hills Public Television, the PBS member network for western Kansas, is headquartered in Bunker Hill. 
Points of interest Edit
The Bunker Hill Museum, located in an old limestone church one block east of Main Street, displays documents and artifacts from the community's history. 
In popular culture and the arts Edit
Bunker Hill is the setting and namesake of the 2008 film Bunker Hill. 
Notable individuals who were born in and/or have lived in Bunker Hill include:
Bunker Hill, West Virginia
Bunker Hill is an unincorporated community in Berkeley County, West Virginia, United States, located in the lower Shenandoah Valley on Winchester Pike (U.S. Route 11) at its junction with County Route 26 south of Martinsburg. It is the site of the confluence of Torytown Run and Mill Creek, a tributary of Opequon Creek which flows into Winchester, Virginia. According to the 2000 census, the Bunker Hill community has a population of 5,319. 
At Bunker Hill in 1726, Colonel Morgan Morgan (1687-1766) founded the first permanent settlement of record in the part of Virginia that became West Virginia during the American Civil War, although that cabin was destroyed in the French and Indian War. Morgan's kinfolk rebuilt the cabin before the American Revolutionary War, and Tory sympathizers killed Morgan's grandson James Morgan near the cabin on what became known as Torytown Creek about four miles outside the Bunker Hill town center, on Runnymeade Street (a/k/a County Route 26 west of town). That cabin (now a small state park) was restored as a Bicentennial project in 1976, using many of its original logs. Now a historically furnished museum, it also serves as headquarters of the Morgan Cabin Committee.
The state of West Virginia erected several monuments to Morgan nearby. Near the town center and a bridge over Mill Creek is Morgan Park, which has a large monument erected to honor the first settler in 1924, as well as two historic markers. Both Morgan and George Washington are also remembered at the Morgan Chapel and Graveyard less than 2 miles from the town center, en route to the Morgan cabin.
Near the Virginia state line, Payne's Chapel United Methodist Church was founded in 1762, rebuilt in brick and dedicated in 1851, but burned down of unknown causes in 1902, only to be rebuilt and rededicated three years later.  Several other historic United Methodist churches still stand along Route 11(the Winchester Highway) beginning with Bunker Hill United Methodist Church in town, then Inwood and Darkesville United Methodist churches to the west.  Another of the three churches in the historic district, Bunker Hill Presbyterian Church, was built in 1854, rebuilt after heavy damage in the Civil War, and rededicated in 1879. The historic Mt. Tabor Baptist Church, founded in the 1780s slightly outside the modern town (now in Lewisburg, West Virginia), transferred from a white congregation to a black congregation, with judicial permission, after the Civil War. 
Bunker Hill's Mill Creek Historic District includes Morgan Park and structures abutting Mill Creek for about five miles, and so includes the town's and Berkeley County's earliest industrial center, three bridges (including the county's first railroad bridge), four mills, and several old residences (including former log cabins and stone structures, some in ruins). The Sherrard Mill became a residence in the 1930s, and only the millrace remains of the Gray Mill. The Bunker Hill Mill, a gristmill that contains 19th and 20th centuries milling equipment, is the only one still in operating condition. That mill constructed in 1738 was rebuilt in 1890 and is now the only mill in the state featuring dual water wheels. 
A small Civil War skirmish between the Union Army and the Confederate Army occurred near Bunker Hill on July 17, 1861. Also Confederate General J. Johnston Pettigrew of North Carolina was mortally wounded during his army's retreat to Virginia a few days after the Battle of Gettysburg while redirecting troops from the flooded crossing at Falling Waters, West Virginia, and died at Edgewood Manor in Bunker Hill on July 17, 1863.
Ryun: The Battle of Bunker Hill still holds lessons for today
On June 17, we mark an important and overlooked day in American history, the Battle of Bunker Hill. On this day in 1775, Englishmen began shooting each at each other it had begun weeks before at Lexington and Concord, but was done in earnest upon the slopes of Breed’s Hill in what would be the first set battle of the American Revolution. As with so much of our almost 250-year legacy, there are lessons to be drawn from our past for our present, as well as from the men and women who enabled such lessons.
There are differing reasons for American Colonists’ decisions to take up muskets and swords against their countrymen. Some cite the Stamp Act (think tariffs), or the Tea Act or Sugar Act (think taxes). Documents of the time, however, show that while such policies added to Colonial frustrations, they were not the core reason, which was a fundamental question: Who would govern and would a free-born people be allowed to govern themselves? It was about a people on one side of the Atlantic thinking that the ideas that they had brought with them from England, written down in the 1628 Petition of Right and the 1689 Bill of Rights, and even the Massachusetts Charter of 1691, all assented to by English kings, were sacrosanct.
The ruling class in England, however, viewed such beliefs as regressive, smacking of Cromwell’s England. But more so, they viewed the Colonists’ actions as a challenge to Parliament’s right to govern every corner of the British Empire, including to change on a whim charters or constitutions if it felt the right to do so.
My book, “The Adversaries: A Story of Boston and Bunker Hill” highlights the nine months before the Battle of Bunker Hill, as events rapidly escalated towards violence, and why men fought that day on the heights above Charlestown and would continue to fight for another six years. It is about the beginning of the American Republic, a country that while not always true to its founding principles, aspired to something that many of us now take for granted — liberty first and forever.
It is also the story of Dr. Joseph Warren, a Harvard-educated doctor who was a driving force behind Boston and Massachusetts’ resistance to Parliament and King George III. Ronald Reagan, in his first inaugural address, described Warren as “a man who might’ve been one of the greatest among the Founding Fathers.” A protege of Sam Adams, Warren authored the Suffolk Resolves in September of 1774, which the British viewed as an act of rebellion toward independence. He fearlessly challenged British authoritarianism, despite and because of British warships blockading Boston’s port and there being a redcoat for every male adult in Boston the spring of 1775.
Warren eventually became the president of the Provincial Congress in Massachusetts, and was appointed a major general in the newly formed American army. What distinguished Warren was not only his intellect, but his desire to act on his beliefs, fighting on Breed’s Hill as another musket. As he told his mother, “Where danger is, dear mother, there must your son be. Now is no time for any of America’s children to shrink from any hazard. I will set her free or die.” The morning of the battle, Elbridge Gerry, Warren’s roommate at Harvard and a future governor of Massachusetts, attempted to dissuade him, to which Warren replied, “Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori,” (“How sweet and pleasant it is to die for one’s country.”)
Today we remember the courage, resolve and flat-out guts of the Americans who challenged one of the greatest military powers on earth. Their principled defiance in the face of overpowering authoritarianism is a story for all time. It is also a reminder of the importance of our founding principle of liberty, and why we must never take it for granted.
Ned Ryun is author of “The Adversaries: A Story of Boston and Bunker Hill” and the found and CEO of American Majority.
‘Back to where it was meant to be’: Special surprise commemorates Battle of Bunker Hill
BOSTON (WHDH) - On the 246th anniversary of the Battle of Bunker Hill, a special surprise.
“It’s a great treasure, belongs here. It’s history,” says Arthur Hurley, President of the Bunker Hill Monument Association.
Three guestbooks signed and kept at the Bunker Hill monument during the Civil War, returned.
42,000 signatures, including Mary Todd Lincoln, the president’s wife.
“It really does underscore how precious this monument is, that people would actually come and memorialize their visit here,” says Julie Hall of the Bunker Hill Monument Association.
The guestbooks had been up for auction, but no one is quite sure how they got there.
“We really don’t know to be honest. The monument did change hands at one point,” says Julie Hall. “Maybe they were in a box somewhere somebody threw them in their bag, and they ended up in someone’s home.”
The guestbooks were bought at auction, by self-proclaimed “Political Philanthropist” David Rubenstein.
“He’s been a history buff, he’s been a student of history, he was involved in making history in the white house before he went on to his financial endeavors,” says collector Seth Kaller.
Kaller appeared in Rubenstein’s place Thursday, donating the books back to the Bunker Hill Monument Association.
“It was just an opportunity to bring something back to where it was meant to be and maybe get people a little more excited about history,” says Seth Kaller.
The books will be on display at the Bunker Hill Museum, which recently opened its first floor back up again.
“This is a huge coming home for us,” says Hall.
The Bunker Hill Monument Association says they now have 66 guestbooks they are hoping to digitize in the future, to make them more accessible.
Seth Kaller says some more historical artifacts may be coming to the museum in the future.
(Copyright (c) 2021 Sunbeam Television. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)
The sun was shining down on Charlestown Thursday as it commemorated Bunker Hill Day, the anniversary of the American Revolution’s Battle of Bunker Hill. This occasion was special for a two reasons. First, it was taking place in person after 15 months of the pandemic. And, second, three historic guestbooks dating back to the Civil War made their homecoming back to the Bunker Hill Monument.
In April, the Boston Globe reported that a collection of Bunker Hill guestbooks, signed by Mary Todd Lincoln and other high profile Civil War figures, were being sold at an auction. As the Globe noted, this came as a surprise to Charlestown historians and the Bunker Hill Monument Association itself, which didn’t realize the artifacts were “no longer in its possession.”
Today, three of those guestbooks returned home, thanks to a “patriotic philanthropist” named David Rubenstein, an attorney and co-founder of The Carlyle Group, an investment group headquartered in Washington, D.C. Rubenstein bought the books at auction with the goal of donating them back to be displayed at the Bunker Hill Museum.
In a ceremony at the foot of the Bunker Hill Monument, Julie Hall, president of the Charlestown Historical Society, explained that the books, with their prominent signatures, were kept at the monument to keep a log of important guests.
“This monument was so important that people like presidents and senators and people of great importance would come and actually write their name — they were a part of history,” she said.
Seth Kaller, a historic document dealer from New York, facilitated Rubenstein’s purchase. He presented the guestbooks to Arthur Hurley, president of the Bunker Hill Monument Association, saying he hopes the gift will increase awareness of American history.
“The real reason David Rubenstein immediately said yes [to buying the books and donating them] is because they’re meaningful here,” he said. “This is a place that is important to all of America and therefore important to the whole world.”The Charlestown Militia Company lines up and marches along a walkway at the Bunker Hill Monument on June 17, 2021, as part of the annual Bunker Hill Day.
The ceremony featured several speakers who touched on the historic theme of “forming a perfect union,” including Rep. Daniel Ryan, who represents Charlestown in the State House.
“The founding fathers knew they didn’t have it right,” he said. “But they set the foundation so we could continue to build a more perfect union in which everybody is involved and everyone is represented.”
Boston City Councilor Lydia Edwards used the occasion to acknowledge another important holiday, celebrating Black freedom.
“If you’ve been in Charlestown for more than 5 minutes ever, you’ll hear the same saying: ‘There is no 4th of July without Bunker Hill Day, June 17th,’” Edwards said. “You’ll hear that over and over again. But I also want to say. not only is there no July 4th, there’s also no June 19th, which is Juneteenth, without Bunker Hill Day as well.”
Charlestown resident and military veteran Christiane Wolff was at the ceremony, and said she hopes the books’ homecoming will inspire students to learn more about American history.
“As a former teacher, I just don’t think they’re teaching enough in the schools… events like this — history becomes alive,” she said. “The little kids see it and it makes a really dramatic impression.”
A special Bunker Hill celebration includes return of missing guestbooks
Seth Kaller (right) presented a missing guestbook to Arthur L. Hurley, president of the Bunker Hill Monument Association. Jim Davis/Globe Staff
Bathed in brilliant June sun and backed by “huzzahs,” the stewards of the Bunker Hill Monument on Thursday welcomed home three guestbooks that had gone missing with the Civil War-era names of 42,000 visitors.
Ranging from a 6-year-old boy who lived in Brookline to Mary Todd Lincoln, the wife of the president, the names found their way back to Charlestown through the quick-moving generosity of David Rubenstein, a billionaire philanthropist who bought the guestbooks in April after learning they would be auctioned the following day.
His $17,000 purchase was a godsend.
Until shortly before the sale, the Bunker Hill Monument Association didn’t even know it had lost the books sometime over the past 160 years. Its stunned members did not have enough time to raise a competitive bid.
But on Thursday, association president Arthur Hurley was presented with one of the guestbooks and lifted it aloft as a crowd of 300 people cheered near the base of the soaring granite obelisk. On the 246th anniversary of the famed Revolutionary War battle, Bunker Hill Day had something extra to celebrate.
Members of the Sons of the American Revolution and Charlestown Militia Company took part in the firing of a musket salute on Bunker Hill Day in Charlestown. Jim Davis/Globe Staff
“They’re part of our history now and they’re where they belong, not in some closet somewhere,” Hurley said afterward.
“It means so much,” concurred Julie Hall, president of the Charlestown Historical Society. “I’m glad that they’re back with their brothers and sisters.”
Rubenstein was represented by Seth Kaller, a major dealer in Americana. Kaller had approached Rubenstein after being contacted by the owner of a Connecticut auction house that was poised to sell the guestbooks.
“It was an easy decision. I thought it was appropriate to do,” said Rubenstein, co-founder of the Carlyle Group, one of the world’s largest private investment companies.
The catalyst for returning the guestbooks came from a Boston Globe story, which reported in April that association members were startled to discover the guestbooks had slipped from their grasp, possibly through illegal means.
John Reznikoff, who owns University Archives in Wilton, Conn., said his auction house had done due diligence in determining the provenance of the guestbooks, which were assembled by one consigner and came from two sources.
However, Rubenstein said in an interview, the chance that the guestbooks might have been stolen at some point factored into his decision.
First lady Mary Lincoln was among the visitors who signed the book in the mid-1800s. Jim Davis/Globe Staff
“It’s part of American history,” he said. “Had the Battle of Bunker Hill gone differently, who knows what would have happened.”
Although the battle was technically a defeat for the Colonists who defended the high ground in Charlestown, the staggering British loss of 1,054 killed or wounded troops — more than twice the American losses — was a major morale boost for the Colonials.
Rubenstein, who also is chairman of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, has a lengthy portfolio of historical philanthropy.
In addition to donations for renovation and restoration of the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument, Rubenstein has provided the federal government with long-term loans of his copies of the Magna Carta, Declaration of Independence, US Constitution, Bill of Rights, and Emancipation Proclamation.
Kaller said that the guestbooks are being loaned for the short term but soon will be donated to the Bunker Hill Monument Association, a 198-year-old organization that built the obelisk with 3,000 blocks of Quincy granite. The group’s 61 other guestbooks are stored with the National Park Service, which in 1976 assumed control of the monument from the state.
Under state supervision, which began in 1919, many of the association’s artifacts and records were dispersed among the group’s members.
Michael Creasey, general superintendent of the National Parks of Boston, said after the ceremony that maintaining continuity in historical collections is important for a better understanding of the past.
During the event, Creasey told the audience that momentous events such as the Battle of Bunker Hill, even 246 years later, can serve as platforms for dialogue. More than 100 soldiers of African or Native American descent, some of them enslaved, fought among the 1,200 rebels that day.
“History is not a tightly bound, single, unchanging story,“ Creasey said. “Equality and liberty are not yet fully achieved for everyone.”
State Representative Daniel Ryan of Charlestown echoed the theme that American government and society are expected to change and evolve.
“The Founding Fathers knew they didn’t have it right, but they set the foundations,” Ryan said.
Kaller said he hopes the saga of the guestbooks will draw more of the public and other collectors to the American story.
“History, to be meaningful, has to change, and it needs new people to become interested and involved,” Kaller said. “The monument is a place that is important to all of America and therefore to the whole world.”
Boston City Councilor Lydia Edwards, whose district includes Charlestown, reflected on the sacrifice of the farmers and others who fell at Bunker Hill, and the need for today’s Americans to rise beyond their political differences.
“We are bigger and stronger than a political moment,” Edwards said, “and we need to be reminded of that.”
Cityofboston.gov - Official Web Site of the City of Boston
Bunker Hill Burying Ground is Charlestown's second municipal burial place (the first was established on Phipps Street in 1630). The property lies on the site crossed by British fortifications during the Battle of Bunker Hill. It was founded in response to Charlestown’s rapid renaissance after the Revolutionary War. The town formally purchased the parcel in 1807, although it may have been used for burials as early as 1801. The burying ground was originally intended for the use of the Charlestown poor, however the presence of individual gravemarkers indicates that persons of greater means were also buried here. The burying ground covered approximately 2.5 acres at its founding and extended on its north side to the Mystic River. A portion of the site was lost when the Prescott School was built in 1857, although there is no record of whether graves were disturbed during its construction.
The predominance of marble gravestones in this site reflects nineteenth-century funerary practices. The pathway system with complementary landscaping also dates from this period and was inspired by the Rural Cemetery Movement. In this style of cemetery design emphasis was placed on creating a garden-like setting with winding pathways and numerous plantings where people could pay respects to the deceased and also enjoy the natural setting.
Monument and Memory
The first monument on the site was an 18-foot wooden pillar with a gilt urn erected in 1794 by King Solomon's Lodge of Masons to honor fallen Patriot and Freemason, Dr. Joseph Warren. In 1823, a group of prominent citizens formed the Bunker Hill Monument Association to construct a more permanent and significant monument to commemorate the famous battle. The project was a major undertaking. So much so, that the Monument Association ran out of funds and was forced to halt construction twice. Much of the land surrounding the square where the Monument stands today had to be sold off as housing lots to help fund the monument. Fairs, performing arts events, and fundraising drives were also organized to help complete the monument. Many of these events were organized by women in the Boston area.
The monument was finally completed in 1842. It was dedicated on June 17, 1843 in a major national ceremony. A statue to Dr. Joseph Warren was commissioned in the 1850s to pay particular respects to his sacrifice at the battle. The statue was initially housed in a temporary structure, but by 1901/2 the Monument Association constructed a permanent granite lodge to house the statue of Warren.