Located right next to Massachusetts Route 27 and not far from the Natick Common is a small cemetery. Historic grave sites can be found all over the state and being located within urban areas is not uncommon. However, this burial site is different as it’s specifically dedicated to Native Americans who fought in the Revolutionary War.
The burial site was established around 1750 as a location for members of the Natick tribe to bury their dead and was originally part of a much larger plot of land of a hundred acres acquired by 20 native proprietors with the support of their preacher on May 11, 1719. However, the burial ground is all that remains of the original land. Exactly 181 years after the purchase, a tablet was placed on a boulder marking the site by the Wamsquon Association on May 11, 1900.
Almost two dozen veterans are buried at the site, including Alexander Quapish who was interred in 2020. Quapish was originally from the Cape Cod area and a member of the Wampanoag tribe but records indicate he married a member of the Natick Praying Indians named Sarah David in 1767. They settled in the Dedham area and he joined the Continental Army in 1775 after his wife’s death the previous year. He served in a company commanded by Captain Daniel Whiting in Colonel Jonathan Brewer’s regiment and Quapish reportedly died of illness on March 23, 1776, in Needham.
He was buried in Dedham but his remains were exhumed by Dr. Henry Jacob Bigelow in 1856 and transferred to the Warren Anatomical Museum at Harvard University in Boston. For over 160 years he was kept at the museum until the Natick Select Board unanimously voted to have his remains interred at the Natick burial ground in November 2020. The history and contributions of Black, Native American, and immigrant veterans of the American Revolution often go unrecognized and the burial ground in Natick serves as an important reminder that soldiers of the American Revolution came from all walks of life. If you would like to pay your respects to Alexander Quapish and other Native American veterans, the burial ground is there to visit.
Know Before You Go
There is a parking lot very close to the burial ground.