NOTABLE BURIALS

Discover the notable Americans laid to rest in Christ Church Burial Grounds, including five signers of the Declaration of Independence.

Those with Marked Graves

The Burial Ground has 1,400 markers, including those of prominent Colonial and Revolutionary Era leaders. Over 2500 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 these famous and notable names from three centuries of American history:

Benjamin Franklin portrait
Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790): Scientist, philosopher, printer, diplomat, signer of the Declaration of Independence and Constitution

Francis Hopkinson portrait
Francis Hopkinson (1737-1790): Artist, lawyer, judge, composer, signer of the Declaration of Independence

George Ross portrait
George Ross (1730-1779): Judge, signer of the Declaration of Independence

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

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

Sarah Franklin Bache portrait
Sarah Franklin Bache (1737-1811): Daughter of Benjamin and Deborah Franklin, Founder of The Ladies' Association, leading
fundraisers during the Revolutionary War

Joseph Hewes portrait
Joseph Hewes (1730-1779): Secretary of Naval Affairs, signer of the Declaration of Independence

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

George Cadwalader portrait
Major General George Cadwalader (1806-1879): Civil War General

William Meredith portrait
William M Meredith (1799-1873): Lawyer, State Attorney General, Secretary of the Treasury

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

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

Joseph Hewes (1730-1779): Secretary of Naval Affairs, signer of the Declaration of Independence

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, publisher of the first daily newspaper

Dr. William Camac (1829-1900): Prominent Philadelphia physician, founder of the Philadelphia Zoo, America's first zoo

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

Franklin Watkins (1894-1972): Painter, served in the US Navy during World War I

Dr. Thomas Bond (1713-1784): Physician, founded Pennsylvania Hospital

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

John Spurrier (1746-1798): Author of Practical Farmer

John Taylor (1718-1803): Burial Ground grave digger for over 50 years

Richard Folwel (1768-1814): Newspaper publisher and printer of the first collection of laws of the United States, commonly known as the “Folwel Edition”

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

James Humphreys (1748-1810): Printer and publisher of The Pennsylvania Ledger

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


Those Without Stones

In 1864, Christ Church warden Edward Lyon Clark compiled a book of visible inscriptions on the fading soft marble markers. Most of these inscriptions have disappeared over time. The Edward Clark Inscription book has been reprinted and is available for sale for $40.00 at Christ Church and the Christ Church Burial Ground.

We may never know where the following people are buried in our Burial Grounds, but we honor their memory. The following is a list of some of those “without stones”:

Benjamin Franklin Bache portrait
Benjamin Franklin Bache (1769-1798): Grandson of Benjamin Franklin, printer and publisher of the Aurora newspaper

Thomas Hopkinson portrait
Thomas Hopkinson (1709-1751): Father of Francis Hopkinson, President of the Philosophical Society, one founder of the Library Company

Samuel Blodget portrait
Samuel Blodget (1757-1814): Economist, merchant, designer of the First Bank of the United States

Aaron Cleveland portrait
Rev. Aaron Cleveland (1715-1757): Minister, great-great-grandfather of President Grover Cleveland

Charles Mason (1728-1756): Astronomer, surveyor, helped to settle the boundary dispute between Pennsylvania and Maryland, creating the Mason-Dixon Line

Major David S. Franks (c. 1740-1793): Highest-ranking Jewish officer in the Continental Army

Jonathan Gostelowe (c. 1744-1795): Philadelphia cabinet maker and crafter of the baptismal font and altar table still in use at Christ Church

Captain Anthony Palmer (c. 1664-1749): Governor of Pennsylvania, founder of Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia

Matthew Pratt (1734-1805): Portrait painter

Lewis Evans (c. 1700-1756): Surveyor and geographer, whose maps were used by early


Those Buried in the North Garden

Before the establishment of the 5th Street Burial Ground in 1719, Christ Church buried the earliest members of the congregation in the churchyard, a common Christian and European practice.

William White portrait
Rev. William White (1748-1836): Rector of Saint Peter Church and Christ Church, first Episcopal bishop of Pennsylvania

Robert Morris portrait
Robert Morris (1734-1806): Signer of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, financier of the American Revolution

James Wilson portrait
James Wilson (1742-1798): Signer of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States

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

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

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

Andrew Hamilton (1676-1741): Known as "The Philadelphia Lawyer,” founder of the Lancaster area of Pennsylvania

Jacob Broom (1752-1810): Signer of the Constitution

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