Special Programs

These special ticketed programs will help us raise funds to preserve Gloria Dei (Old Swedes’) Church and its graveyard.

Does A Place Die?

When: Thur, Feb. 27th from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Where: Gloria Dei (Old Swedes’) Church

What happens when places you cherish no longer exist? This question will be answered by a panel of experts who preserve and document historic sites around the world.

Great Talks at Gloria Dei

These free lectures take place inside the Gloria Dei sanctuary. After the lectures, join us for refreshments with our guest speakers inside Riverside Hall.

Precious Dust

Precious Dust: The History of the Bethel Burying Ground

When: Thurs, Mar. 12th from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Where: Gloria Dei (Old Swedes’) Church

Terry Buckalew will discuss the Bethel Burying Ground from its establishment in 1810 to its archeological discovery in 2013 to its present day status as an important part of Philadelphia and national African American history.

Historical Research

Our historians are writing biographical sketches on our “permanent residents.” Here you will learn about the people buried in our churchyard.

Jake and Betsy Roak

Jake and Betsy Roak were married 56 years. They died within 2 days of each other. They lived their lives fully and inspired in the service of others. Together they advanced a family legacy.

Capt. Charles Sandgran

The inscription on Capt. Charles Sandgran’s headstone is now obliterated. But, a century ago, it was possible to read this terrible pronouncement: “the earth and the sea shall give up their dead.”

Battle of Rio Nunez

Capt. Robert Rae

A large obelisk commemorating the life Capt. Robert Rae stands in the Gloria Dei churchyard. Rae was “lost at sea” somewhere along the River Nuñez in 1839.

River Tingalinta, a tributary of the River Nuñez, in the 19th century.

Lost at Sea: Capt. Henry Sharp

Capt. Henry Sharp was “lost at sea” while on a voyage to Africa in 1836. What caused his demise? We may never know but many seamen of the time died from exposure to tropical diseases like malaria.

Shipwreck

Lost at Sea: James and Josephine Stewart

The words “lost at sea” are the most melancholy, and often the most mysterious, inscriptions on gravestones at Gloria Dei. In those cases, the stones are merely markers for a person who never came home and never saw their loved ones again.

Marker 434

William “The Legend” Isaacs

Bill Isaacs, a South Philadelphia taproom owner and lifelong Mummer, founded the Downtowners Fancy Brigade. Within a decade, he changed Mummers history.

Mr. & Mrs. Dunn

Jack and Margaret Dunn

Jack and Margaret Dunn were a wonderful couple from Southwark who had long family histories in the community. The Dunn’s lived on the unit block of Fitzwater where they raised their twin sons before their home was demolished for I-95.

Joseph and Mary Kane

Joseph and Mary Kane

Joseph and Mary were lifelong residents of Southwark/Queen Village. Married for over 52 years, they raised their four children in their Front Street home. They were both dedicated to helping family and friends throughout their lives.

Churchyard Map

Churchyard Map

The Gloria Dei (Old Swedes’) churchyard has been in continuous use for over 340 years. Unfortunately, due to the ravages of time, some very old gravestones have been lost. This interactive map shows the locations where gravestones remain.

Churchyard Restoration

We seek to restore the churchyard to an earlier point in history, increasing the historical accuracy of the environment, repair and preserve gravestones that have decayed due to extreme age, the ravages of an urban environment, and some very old damage caused by vandalism.