Shockoe Hill Cemetery, the first burial ground to be planned, owned and maintained by the City of Richmond, recorded its initial burial in 1822. It grew from four acres to its current size of 12.7 acres by 1871. Though plot sales ceased by about 1920, the City reclaimed a number of unused plots in 2017, and has again made space available to purchase for both in-ground and niche burials. Burials are also open to family members in existing family plots.
The Cemetery is designed in an Urban/Monumental style, laid out in a flat grid pattern, with planned trees and shrubs, and with detailed records of burials. It represents the transition from early urban cemeteries, often in churchyards with little or no organization (such as St. John’s Church in Richmond), to the later “Rural Ideal” style, featuring greater landscaping, winding paths, and varied terrain (such as Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond).
Among the many leading figures in Commonwealth and American history here is Chief Justice John Marshall. He is buried next to his beloved wife Polly. Also of special interest are Virginia Governor William Cabell; famed spymaster Elizabeth Van Lew; Revolutionary War hero Peter Francisco; U.S. Senators Benjamin Watkins Leigh and Powhatan Ellis; Congressman and Unionist John Minor Botts; and John Mercer Patton, Congressman, lawyer and great-grandfather of Gen. George S. Patton.
Edgar Allan Poe lived more of his life in Richmond than anywhere else, and many of his friends and loved ones from those days are here, including his foster parents John and Frances Allan. Others of note include Poe’s early inspiration Jane Stanard; and Elmira Royster Shelton, his beloved early in his life, and again just before his death in 1849.
Among an estimated twelve hundred veterans, representing America’s wars from the Revolution to Vietnam, are more than four hundred War of 1812 veterans, perhaps the largest number of any cemetery in the country. Brig. Gen. Patrick Theodore Moore is one of about six hundred Confederate soldiers who rest at Shockoe Hill. Many of them died in the fighting around Richmond. It was long believed that hundreds of Union Army prisoners who died in Richmond were within the Cemetery. However, they were actually buried just east of the grounds, and later moved to Richmond National Cemetery. Two memorials here recollect their service. A marker also memorializes the burial of fourteen teenaged victims of the March 1863 munitions plant explosion in Richmond.
Shockoe Hill Cemetery is on the National Register of Historic Places and the Virginia Landmarks Register.
GPS Coordinates: 37.5519, -77.4317
- Added: 2 Jan 2000
- Find A Grave Cemetery: #52134
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