History Stories

Mummers Museum Display

Frank “Mr. Clown” Stermel

Francis (Frank) Stermel was born on June 3, 1916 to Anthony Stermel and Helen Szymanski Stermel. He was a lifelong resident of South Philadelphia and a true mummer.

Spring 2019

This issue of FOUNDERS Magazine is devoted to several early sea captains and their families who are buried in our churchyard. We hope you will enjoy the stories of the individuals and families resting here, how they lived and died, and how they contributed to the fabric of American life.

Reverend Simes

Reverend Snyder Binns Simes And His Wife Eleanor

The Rectorship of Mr. Simes holds a unique place in the record of the Gloria Dei Church’s ministry. During his long tenure, the congregation grew, developed and prospered. He was the spiritual guide of more than a generation of affectionate parishioners.

Catharine Marett And Her Family

Before her death in 1998, Catharine Marett donated the bulk of her life savings toward the 300th anniversary historic restoration project at Gloria Dei Church. Thanks to her generous endowment, the congregation was spared from financial ruin.

Sampson Harvey, Sea Captain And Patriot

Sampson Harvey was born in Cornwall, England, on March 14, 1731. He was master of a number of merchant vessels in the 1760s and often sailed to the West Indies.

Martha Stewart

The Stewarts Of Carpenters’ Hall

Members of the Stewart family, buried in the churchyard of Gloria Dei (Old Swedes’ Church), had a long relationship with another important Philadelphia landmark—Carpenters’ Hall.

Cushing

Caleb Cushing And Family

Caleb Cushing’s sea passages took him across the Atlantic as well as to the West Indies. His family traces its lineage in America back to Matthew Cushing, who had emigrated from England to Massachusetts in 1638.

Rhoda McCoy

In 1865, Rhoda McCoy, almost 90 years old, was buried in the Gloria Dei Churchyard. Rhoda must have had a strong constitution — she died of “old age” rather than an ailment or disease.