Cemetery notes and/or description: The cemetery was established in 1671 and yet the earliest stone is 1681, with the most recent being 1848. In 1671, John Lovett sold the land to the Town of Beverly. The acre lay in back of the First Parish Church which was established in 1667 a year prior to the time when Beverly separated from Salem. The church site has been altered slightly since that time and in the late 1800's a shady action of the aldermen allowed Abbott Street to be laid out through the middle of the plot. Approximately seventy stones were removed and placed at a different location on the grounds. Both parcels are now enclosed by an iron fence. The Cemetery Department has taken an active interest in keeping the grounds. One section is enclosed by a dry rock wall which originally surrounded the First Church and was a barricade in time of Indian attacks.
A section of the burial ground is particularly notable as the burial place of the Reverend John Hale who brought the hanging of witches to a halt when his wife, Sarah, was accused during the Salem Witch Trials. She is also buried here, as are nine original settlers of Beverly and Salem, a minute man, two of the Committee of Correspondence, and an English noblewoman of 1680.
There are 241 graves here in all, with a possibility of restoration uncovering more.
The Massachusetts Historical Commission refers to this cemetery in MACRIS as BEV.800 Ancient Burial Ground.
This cemetery is referred to as GR1 Ancient Burying Ground, Abbott St. in the "Vital Records of Beverly Massachusetts to the end of the year 1849".