41. Old Burying Ground, Dorchester
Located at the intersection of Stoughton Street and
Columbia Road in Dorchester.
In this ancient cemetery, beneath an imposing marble table stone adorned with skulls (Plate 21), lies buried William Stoughton, the chief justice of the Court of Oyer and Terminer. Stoughton was born in 1631 and graduated from Harvard College in 1650. He then went to England to continue his education and received the degree of Master of Arts from Oxford. In 1662, following the restoration of Charles II, he returned to Massachusetts where he refused a church calling and served on the Massachusetts courts. In 1692, he was appointed lieutenant governor under the new charter. When the Court of Oyer and Terminer was appointed, Governor Phips chose Stoughton to serve as its chief justice, in which capacity he proved the scourge of the accused witches. In 1694, when Phips returned to England, Stoughton served as acting-governor in his stead until 1698. He served as chief justice of the Massachusetts courts until shortly before his death in 1701.