Philadelphia Public Cemetery

Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, USA Add to Map
Memorials 78 added

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There are many people in the early Philadelphia City death records who are listed as buried in the "Public Cemetery". However, there is no longer a public cemetery, and it is quite possible that it was bulldozed for development long ago.

In 1902, a developer decided to purchase the cemetery for housing and transit expansion. In June of 1904 there were 12,000 (newspaper reported) bodies buried in the Philadelphia Cemetery located at 21st and Passyunk avenue. Burials date back to 1848 in this cemetery that originally contained 22 acres and no burials were made there after 1903. Relatives of the deceased were outraged about the management of the cemetery and the pending sale. $75,000 was paid to Philadelphia Cemetery to cover legal expenses and reburial of the bodies to another cemetery. The treasurer of the Philadelphia Cemetery was accused of embezzling these funds and a decade of litigation followed. Relatives of the deceased were given until the Fall of 1906 to remove the bodies but this timeline wasn't met - some people couldn't afford to move their relatives. Some bodies were removed and reburied in other cemeteries by family and remaining burials were threatened to be moved to Potters Field for burial. In February 1916, Charles H. Warfield (Arlington Cemetery) took title from Philadelphia Cemetery Company. He claimed to exhume about 100,000 bodies from the old cemetery and had them removed to Arlington Cemetery at Lansdowne, where he provided 21,000 lots for the bodies. The remainder of the cemetery was purchased by another developer for the construction of several thousand homes. (Philadelphia Inquirer: July 3, 1915, Page 4; Feb. 20, 1916, Page 16; June 7, 1904, Page 5; Aug 1, 1906, page 2 and Aug. 2, 1906, Page 9) The inconsistencies in the reported number of burials makes it difficult to know how many burials were originally there. Newspaper reports show the original cemetery was bounded by Snyder avenue, Jackson and Wolf streets and Passyunk avenue; Broad street to Nineteenth street and from Ogden avenue to Packer and Curtin streets; NW corner of 20th street and Passyunk avenue, NW corner of 20th and Jackson streets; SW corner of 21st street and Snyder Ave and the SW corner of 21st and Jackson streets.

  • Added: 28 Jun 2012
  • Find A Grave Cemetery: #2455241