Search Churchyard Records
A Raging Fever Killed Thousands in 1790s Philadelphia
In this episode, author and historian Michael Schreiber tells us about a mysterious killer — yellow fever — which ravaged Philadelphia and its adjacent suburbs in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
Bill Isaacs, a South Philadelphia taproom owner and lifelong Mummer, founded the Downtowners Fancy Brigade. Within a decade, he changed Mummers history.
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 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.