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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Fredericksburg, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
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From a Burying Ground to a Park

 
 
From a Burying Ground to a Park Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Kevin W., September 15, 2007
1. From a Burying Ground to a Park Marker
Inscription.  “On motion made and seconded, resolved unanimously that the new burying ground be enclosed with brick….”
     Council Minutes of July 6th, 1824      Robert Lewis, Mayor (Buried in the Masonic Lodge Cemetery)

In 1774, St. George’s Parish purchased the land that comprises Hurkamp Park today. It was to be a church cemetery, but in 1787, after the Revolution and disestablishment of the Anglican Church in America, the Corporation of Fredericksburg appropriated this land for a public burying ground. The western lot line of the cemetery coincided with the town boundary and is still marked by a brick wall.

After burials ended, in 1853, the Corporation Burying Ground fell into disrepair. The cemetery served as a bivouac site during the Civil War and livestock grazed among the graves in its aftermath. In 1875, the Fredericksburg City Council sought to convert the neglected grounds to a public park and crews began removing headstones and graves to other cemeteries. On July 12, 1881, the new park was dedicated and named in honor of prominent local businessman John G. Hurkamp.

In 1953, the Fredericksburg Rescue
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Squad asked to lease a portion of the park. At that time, legal research revealed that there was no recorded conveyance of the property to the City. The local government had simply assumed title from the Anglican Church. In 1860, the wardens of St. George’s Church had petitioned the Council to investigate its title to what was then the Corporation Burying Ground, but this matter was tabled, presumably because of the Civil War. Not until 1953 did this issue resurface, but by then public usage through several generations was considered to have established ownership. Hurkamp Park remains public—one of the spoils of war from the American Revolution.

Caption of picture in lower left: John Hurkamp resided at 406 Hanover Street, from 1862 until his death in 1886. This ornamental cast iron fence and gate, which is still standing at the above address, bears Hurkamp’s name. Both this fence and the Hurkamp Park gate were designed by Benjamin Bowering and cast at the Hope Foundry of Fredericksburg.

Caption of picture in upper right: In 1883, John Hurkamp donated a handsome cast iron gate bearing the name “Hurkamp Park” in raised letters. This circa 1900 photo shows this gate as well as the brick wall along the western edge of the park. The brick wall on the remaining three sides was removed in 1898.

Caption of picture in lower right: I selected
Hurkamp Park Gate image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Kevin W., September 15, 2007
2. Hurkamp Park Gate
Can you help us find out what happened to this gate?
the point behind the wall of a cemetery, which is actually within the town. It is quite a large piece of ground, and would hold my regiment very readily. There was a brick wall all around it, which would enable me to hold the position against very great odds…

     Commander of the Seventh Massachusetts, in describing his unit’s activities on May 3, 1863, during the Chancellorsville Campaign.
 
Erected by City of Fredericksburg, Virginia.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Cemeteries & Burial SitesChurches & ReligionParks & Recreational AreasWar, US Civil. A significant historical month for this entry is May 1794.
 
Location. This marker has been replaced by another marker nearby. It was located near 38° 18.106′ N, 77° 27.776′ W. Marker was in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Markers are in the center of Hurkamp Park, which is located on the corner of William and Prince Edward Streets. Touch for map. Marker was in this post office area: Fredericksburg VA 22401, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this location. A different marker also named From a Burying Ground to a Park (here, next to this marker); Fredericksburg Cemeteries and the Corporation Burying Ground (here, next to this marker); Fredericksburg Rescue Squad
406 Hanover Street, showing the ornamental cast iron fence and gate still standing. image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Kevin W., September 15, 2007
3. 406 Hanover Street, showing the ornamental cast iron fence and gate still standing.
(within shouting distance of this marker); 1920 (within shouting distance of this marker); Fredericksburg Roll of Honor (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); 1850 (about 400 feet away); A Memorial Landscape (about 400 feet away); The James Monroe Law Office - Museum and Memorial Library (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Fredericksburg.
 
Regarding From a Burying Ground to a Park. The civil war quote can be attributed to Colonel Thomas D. Johns, Commander of the 7th Massachusetts volunteers. The 7th Massachusetts was part of the 3d Division (General Newton) of the 6th Corps (General Sedgwick), Army of the Potomac.
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. New Markers At This Location also titled "From a Burying Ground to a Park".
 
Also see . . .  Report of the Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War. Seventh Massachusetts volunteers commander, Colonel Johns' account of his position during the Chancellorsville Campaign. (Submitted on September 24, 2007, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia.) 
 
The remainng brick wall on the western side of the park. image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Dawn Bowen, August 20, 2008
4. The remainng brick wall on the western side of the park.
The modern center of Hurkamp Park image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Dawn Bowen, August 20, 2008
5. The modern center of Hurkamp Park
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on February 2, 2023. It was originally submitted on September 24, 2007, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia. This page has been viewed 2,253 times since then and 24 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on September 24, 2007, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia.   4, 5. submitted on August 20, 2008, by Dawn Bowen of Fredericksburg, Virginia. • J. J. Prats was the editor who published this page.

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Apr. 21, 2024