It came to the attention of members of the Hyde Park Historical Society (HPHS) that the gravesite of some of Hyde Park’s most historical figures, the Weld/Grimké family, needed cleaning and repair. Members of this family are interred on Evergreen Walk in Mount Hope Cemetery, Boston.
Theodore Dwight Weld (1805-1895), his wife Angelina Emily Grimké Weld (1805-1879), and her sister, Sarah Moore Grimké (1792-1873) moved to Hyde Park in 1864 and lived on Fairmount Hill.
The trio were early and ardent abolitionists and friends of William Lloyd Garrison, Lucy Stone, and Frederick Douglass. Together they wrote “American Slavery As It Is” in 1839, a comprehensive and exhaustive description of the state of slavery in the United States. Their book was used as the source material by Harriet Beecher Stowe for her book “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” which was influential in changing the tide of public opinion on slavery prior to the Civil War.
As a result of the sisters’ experience on the lecture circuit demanding freedom for enslaved people, they began to see the necessity of gaining equal rights for women and began to speak out. Angelina is known for being the first woman to address a state legislature in the US when in 1838 she spoke in the Massachusetts State House decrying slavery.
As prominent suffragists, in 1870 some 50 years before the nineteenth amendment granted women the right to vote, the Grimké sisters participated in a march and local election casting ballots in Hyde Park sending shock waves around the country. In 2019 the Hyde Park Dana Avenue bridge was dedicated to the sisters for their suffrage effort.
In the Summer of 2021, the Society began the process to have the grave site made fitting for these distinguished citizens. Kelly Thomas from the Historic Burying Grounds Initiative, Boston Parks and Recreation Department approved the project, and Kevin Duffy of Line and Stone Inc, Monument and Sculpture Service, Arlington MA, completed the work.
The Weld name on the front side of the upright gravestone faces Evergreen Walk and lists four family members, although eleven are interred in the family plot. The backside of the stone has information solely on Sarah Grimké. It is likely that her name originally faced the road, she being the first person in the family to die. Twenty-three years later the Weld name was added, and that side now faces the road.
Interestingly, Angelina Grimké Weld’s name is omitted on the family gravestone because she may have requested so. Theodore Weld followed her instructions and buried her in plain clothing with a simple graveside ceremony. The HPHS funded and installed a simple flat gravestone only to recognize Angelina, not to glorify her.
When the Hyde Park Branch Library opens for community meetings, lecture series hosted by the Hyde Park Historical Society will resume in Weld Hall.
If you would like to join or support the work of the HPHS you do so on this site. Questions comment to firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Evergreen Walk is .4 mile from the front gate. Follow Central Avenue which is to the left of the flag pole. Go up the hill and turn left on Grove Avenue ( .3 mile). Take the 1st right and the gravesite will be on on your right side up near the 3rd tree.