Fall 2015 is fast approaching. September weather and the promise of Halloween fun make this a great time to learn more about Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. In 1855, Concord purchased a 25-acre plot of farmland for use as a cemetery. Ralph Waldo Emerson spoke at the consecration ceremony, and William Ellery Channing made another noteworthy contribution by reading his poem, “Sleepy Hollow.” With such an impressive start, the burial ground seems a fitting final resting place for the following remarkable people:
- Louisa May Alcott
- Ephraim Wales Bull
- Henry David Thoreau
Louisa May Alcott made her mark on the American literary scene, to say the least. The Little Women author provided a perspective on 19th-century life for a family of young women. The novel still sparks feminist and literary debate in 2015. Alcott died just two days after the death of her father, and the two were buried at Sleepy Hollow on the same day when the ground thawed after a winter freeze.
Ephraim Wales Bull may not be as well-known around the country in 2015 as he is here in our community. However, children everywhere will eat back-to-school lunches this September that include products containing the famous grapes Bull created in the mid-nineteenth century. His famous Concord grapes were designed to withstand harsh New England winters while providing a sweet flavor and generous size. Just a few years later, Bull was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives. His epitaph, which reads, “He Sowed Others Reaped,” refers to the lack of profit produced by his high-quality grapes.
Henry David Thoreau is yet another luminary whose final home is at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. The famous Concord native wrote the iconic book Walden, and is still known in 2015 for the philosophy touted in the book. Even now, the transcendentalist writer, poet, abolitionist, historian and surveyor inspires people around the globe to return to the simplicity of nature. In Civil Disobedience, another of his revered works, Thoreau makes the case for resisting authority when necessary. Thoreau’s writing influenced so many leaders, activists and movements that it would be impossible to list them all.
With so many impressive occupants, it’s easy to see why Sleepy Hollow Cemetery still attracts visitors in 2015. This September, why not spend an afternoon visiting one of the most fascinating places in Concord and share your experience with us in our comment section below.