The Graves

The Burial Ground has 1,400 markers including some of America’s most prominent Colonial and Revolution-era leaders. It is estimated that more than 5,000 markers have disappeared due to erosion with time. 

This is the final resting place of five signers of the Declaration of Independence, the founders of the U.S. Navy and many of America’s early medical pioneers. Grave markers include people from three centuries of American history.  Some famous and notable people buried in the burial ground include:

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) Scientist, Philosopher, Printer, Diplomat, Signer of the Declaration of Independence and Constitution

Francis Hopkinson (1737-1790) Artist, Lawyer, Judge, Composer, Signer of the Declaration of Independence

Joseph Hewes (1730-1779) Secretary of Naval Affairs, Signer of the Declaration of Independence from North Carolina

George Ross (1730-1779) Judge, Signer of the Declaration of Independence

Dr. Benjamin Rush (1746-1813) Physician, social reformer, Treasurer of the United States Mint, Signer of the Declaration of Independence, founder of Dickinson College, Known as "The Father of American Psychiatry"

Sarah Knowles (1721) oldest known marker in the burial ground

Edward W. Clay (1799-1857) Political cartoonist

John Dunlap (1747-1812) Printer of the first broadside of the Declaration of Independence. Published the first daily newspaper.

Dr. William Camac (1829-1900) Prominent Philadelphia Physician who founded the Philadelphia Zoo, America's first Zoo.

John G. Watmough (1793-1861) United States Congressman, who served as First Lieutenant in the War of 1812.

Major William Jackson (1759-1828) Revolutionary War officer, Secretary of the Constitutional Convention in 1787

Sarah Franklin Bache (1737-1811) Daughter of Benjamin and Deborah Franklin, Founder and member of "The Ladies' Association," which was a leading fund raiser during the Revolutionary War

Franklin Watkins (1894-1972) Served in the US Navy during World War I, Painter with artwork featured in museums around the world

Dr. Thomas Bond (1713-1784) Physician, founded the first hospital, Pennsylvania Hospital

Philip Syng (1703-1789) Silversmith and maker of the ink and quill stand used for the signing of the Declaration of Independence

Julia Stockton Rush ( 1759-1848) Wife of and daughter of signers of the Declaration of Independence, member of the Ladies' Association

Dr. Philip Syng Physick (1768-1837) Known as the Father of Modern Surgery

Major General George Cadwalader (1806-1879) General during the Civil War

William M Meredith (1799-1873) Lawyer, State Attorney General,  Secretary of the Treasury under President Taylor

Michael Hillegas (1729-1804) First Treasurer of the United States

Commodore William Bainbridge (1774-1833) Commander of Old Ironsides

John Spurrier (1746-1798) Author of the Practical Farmer, his book promoted the idea of composting

John Taylor (1718-1803) He was the gravedigger at the burial ground for over 50 years

Richard Folwel (1768-1814) Printer and newspaper publisher. He printed the first collection of laws of the United States, which was commonly known as the Folwel Edition.

Joseph Dolby (1741-1816) Sexton and bell ringer for Christ Church.

James Humphreys (1748-1810) Printer, who founded and published The Pennsylvania Ledger.

Richard Thomson (1799-1824) Consul from the United States to Canton

In 1864, church warden Edward L. Clark compiled a book of the inscriptions that were still visible on  existing gravestones. Most of the inscriptions have  disappeared over time. About thirty new metal plaques have been placed in front of some of the more prominent markers with the original inscription on the plaques. Many  inscriptions for thousands of those we know are interred here were lost at the time the inscription book was created. We may never know where they are buried  in our burial ground but we honor their memory. The following is a list of some of those who are names without stones:

Charles Mason
-Astronomer, surveyor. Mason along with Jeremiah Dixon helped to settle the boundary dispute between Pennsylvania and Maryland, creating the Mason-Dixon Line in 1763.

Major David S. Franks -Highest ranking Jewish officer in the Continental Army, died of Yellow Fever on October 7th 1793.

Jonathan Gostelowe -Philadelphia cabinet maker, crafted the baptismal font and altar table still in use at Christ Church.

Captain Anthony Palmer -Governor of Pennsylvania, founder of Kensington area of Philadelphia.

Benjamin Franklin Bache -Grandson of Benjamin Franklin, printer and publisher of the Aurora newspaper. He died of Yellow Fever in September of 1798.

Thomas Hopkinson -Father of Francis Hopkinson, President of the Philosophical Society, one of the founders of the Library Company.

Samuel Blodget -Economist, merchant, amateur architect who designed the First Bank of the United States.

Matthew Pratt-Portrait Painter

Rev. Aaron Cleveland -Minister who served in Delaware. He is the great-great-grandfather of President Grover Cleveland.

Lewis Evans-he was a surveyor and Geographer, who made maps of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and Delaware counties. His maps were used by people migrating to the colonies and also by General Braddock during the French and Indian War.

Notables buried in the church and churchyard located at 2nd and Market Streets

Rev. William White (1748-1836) Rector of Saint Peter Church and Christ Church. First Episcopal Bishop of Pennsylvania.

Elizabeth Graeme Ferguson (1739-1801) Poet, early American writer.

Robert Morris (1734-1806) Signer of the Declaration of Independence & the United States Constitution. Financier of the American Revolution.

James Wilson (1742-1798) Signer of the Declaration of Independence & the Constitution. Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.

Pierce Butler (1744-1822) Signer of the Constitution from South Carolina.

General John Forbes (1759) Commander during the French and Indian War.

Andrew Hamilton (1676-1741) Lawyer known as "The Philadelphia Lawyer." He was founder of the Lancaster area of Pennsylvania.

Jacob Broom (1752-1810) Signer of the Constitution from Delaware.

The Edward Clark Inscription book has been reprinted and is available for sale for $40.00 at the church and burial ground. It can also be ordered via email. Contact Anne McLaughlin at









Download and print a map [583K PDF] of the burial ground showing the grave sites of famous people.

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Grave markers at Christ Church Burial Ground
Grave markers at Christ Church Burial Ground
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