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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Carlisle in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Old Graveyard

Walking Tour Stop 10

 
 
Old Graveyard Marker Photo, Click for full size
By William Fischer, Jr., May 20, 2009
1. Old Graveyard Marker
Inscription. The Old Graveyard was Carlisle's first burial ground. The earliest surviving marker is dated 1757, six years after Carlisle's founding 1n 1751. Title from the Penn family for the original “three acres, three quarters, and fifteen perches” for the Old Graveyard was not legally transferred until 1767. As one of the original seven public graveyards in colonial Pennsylvania, the Old Graveyard reflects the European pattern of public ownership rather than private ownership by families, churches, and associations. Today, the Old Graveyard continues to be owned and maintained by the Borough of Carlisle, and burials are accepted only on a limited basis.

Carlisle's location, as well as its institutions, attracted individuals and families who became colonial, state, and national leaders. Among those buried here are members of the U.S. Continental Congress, Presidents and Trustees of Dickinson College, Justices of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court including two Chief Justices, Pennsylvania Legislators, founders of the Female Benevolent Society, and the U.S. Commissioner of Agriculture under President Grant. Also of note are artists and writers, ecclesiastical leaders, early advocates for public education, philanthropists, architects and builders, industrialists and historians, as well as the men, women, and children who collectively
Old Graveyard Marker Photo, Click for full size
By William Fischer, Jr., May 20, 2009
2. Old Graveyard Marker
reflect the culture of South-Central Pennsylvania.

Some 800 war veterans lie within these walls. They include officers as well as enlisted men and women from all branches of service. The monument recognizing fifty-three Revolutionary War soldiers was erected in the 1930s, and several monuments pay tribute to Revolutionary War heroine “Molly Pitcher,” who is buried here. Fifteen members of the Society of the Cincinnati, the first U.S. veteran's organization, are also buried here.

The native limestone walls that surround the graveyard was begun in 1806 to keep out cattle and to prevent “outrages.” The “New Section” of the graveyard was laid out in 1891, and in its SE corner is a monument marking the 1891 re-interment of those once buried in the Lutheran Graveyard on South Hanover Street.

The shapes of the grave stone markers, as well as their decorative motifs, symbols and epitaphs reflect the area's conservatism and the heritage of its early Scots-Irish and German settlers. Collectively, the markers document three centuries of technique and materials: from hand carving to cast metal to laser cut, and from rough field stone to polished granite. An iron grave marker, two white bronzes, a small family mausoleum, and Victorian iron fence attributed to Robert Wood of Philadelphia, are features to note.

You are invited to
Old Graveyard Marker Portraits Photo, Click for full size
By William Fischer, Jr., May 20, 2009
3. Old Graveyard Marker Portraits
Dr. Charles Nisbet (1736-1804). A graduate of the University of Edinburgh, Nisbet was persuaded to leave his position as minister of the Presbyterian congregation in Montrose, Scotland to become the first president of Dickinson College in 1784. Courtesy of Archives and Special Collections, Dickinson College, Carlisle, PA. Hugh Henry Brackenridge (1748-1816). A Jurist, Trustee of Dickinson College, Justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and author, Brackenridge's 1792 novel "Modern Chivalry" is one of the earliest examples of American fiction. Courtesy of Archives and Special Collections, Dickinson College, Carlisle, PA. Dr. Robert Davidson (1750-1812). Educator, President of Dickinson College from 1804-1809. Dr. Davidson delivered a sermon at First Presbyterian Church that was attended by President George Washington in October, 1794. Courtesy of Archives and Special Collections, Dickinson College, Carlisle, PA.
respectfully stroll through the Old Graveyard. To help preserve the markers, and to honor those interred here, please do not sit, stand, walk upon, or lean on the markers.
 
Erected by Historic Carlisle, Inc.
 
Location. 40° 11.889′ N, 77° 11.266′ W. Marker is in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, in Cumberland County. Marker is at the intersection of South Street and Bedford Street, on the right when traveling east on South Street. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Carlisle PA 17013, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Brigadier General William Thompson (within shouting distance of this marker); Molly Pitcher (within shouting distance of this marker); Carlisle Old Graveyard Revolutionary War Soldiers (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); a different marker also named Molly Pitcher (about 600 feet away); Major André (about 600 feet away); Andre & Despard House (about 600 feet away); The Salvation Army (about 600 feet away); Saint Katharine's Hall (about 700 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in Carlisle.
 
Categories. Cemeteries & Burial SitesCharity & Public WorkColonial EraEducationGovernmentPoliticsWar, US Revolutionary
 
Molly Pitcher Photograph on Old Graveyard Marker Photo, Click for full size
By William Fischer, Jr., May 20, 2009
4. Molly Pitcher Photograph on Old Graveyard Marker
Molly Pitcher's statue has long been the backdrop for group photos such as this photo of the Keystone Area Boy Scout Council taken in August, 1953 before the troop left for a Jamboree in California. Courtesy of Cumberland County Historical Society and James F. Steinmetz
Old Graveyard Photo, Click for full size
By William Fischer, Jr., May 20, 2009
5. Old Graveyard
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by William Fischer, Jr. of Fort Scott, Kansas. This page has been viewed 2,211 times since then and 71 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on , by William Fischer, Jr. of Fort Scott, Kansas. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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