Essex Tomb Restoration

A lasting benefit of the 2019 Essex Bicentennial celebration is the professional repair, cleaning, and straightening of old gravestones in the Old Burial Ground.  Last winter, local mason, Mark Haskell, volunteered to repair the tomb of Colonel Jonathan Cogswell, Jr.  Soon, it will be enclosed so those repairs can be made safely.  Most materials for the repairs have been generously donated and any other costs will be covered by Community Preservation Funds. 

The tomb is in bad shape.  We respectfully request that everyone stay off the tomb, because it is in danger of collapse.

A marble insert, that once had the name of the interred, has been missing for years. However, we know it is the tomb of Colonel Jonathan Cogswell, Jr. who, as it has been said, “was a man of intelligence, usefulness, and a worthy member of the community”.  Certainly, he was one who deserves having his tomb repaired.

Jonathan was born on July 11, 1740 at Chebacco Parish of Ipswich.  On February 14, 1768, he married Elizabeth Wise, the granddaughter of Chebacco’s first Minister, Reverend John Wise.

During the Revolutionary Period, he was a member of the Committee of Correspondence and Inspection.  In 1774, he was elected Captain of the Militia Company raised in Chebacco.  In 1775, he was made Major.  In 1776, he was made Colonel and commander of the new 3rd Essex County Regiment of 500 men.

In March of 1776, as the British evacuated Boston, General Washington had his staff instruct Colonel Jonathan Cogswell, and his 3rd Regiment, to go to Gloucester to repulse any attempt of attach by the British.

After the end of the War, Jonathan was a Representative to the General Court for 17 years, as well as being a Justice of the Sessions Court.

In 1780, he was a member of the Massachusetts State Constitutional Convention; and in 1788, he was a member of the Massachusetts United States Constitutional Convention, voting for adoption of the United States Constitution.

We are so grateful for the opportunity to properly restore the tomb of this outstanding Essex individual. 

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