Saint Peter’s Episcopal Church was established in 1733, shortly after permission to found non-Congregationalist churches had been granted. In 1833, the original wooden edifice was demolished to make way for a stone building. The new foundations came in the way of a burial ground, the digging of which unearthed the remains of former worshippers. This grisly spectacle is recounted in an article that appeared in The Salem Observer on 8th June, 1833, in which the corpse of Jonathan Pue is singled out for a detailed description. The piece, undoubtedly Hawthorne's source, can be read here.