Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Philadelphia in Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Congregation of the Dead

 
 
Congregation of the Dead Marker image. Click for full size.
By Beverly Pfingsten, July 5, 2008
1. Congregation of the Dead Marker
Inscription. On January 27, 1777, Deborah Norris wrote to her friend Sally Wister of a "shocking sight." Large pits are dug in the negroes burying ground (Washington Square), and forty or fifty (soldiers) coffins are put in the same hole.
Throughout that winter, disease thinned the ranks of the American army. John Adams, a member of the Continental Congress meeting in Independence Hall, visited the Square in April 1777. He spent an hour "in the congregation of the dead." The graves of the soldiers, perhaps 2,000 he had been told, "are enough to make the heart of stone melt away."
During the British occupation later that year, American captives died every day. Their bodies were dragged into carts, hauled here and dumped into the earth.
Only after yellow fever ravaged Philadelphia in 1793, did burials in the Square stop. Some believed that graves emitted miasmas, vapors suspected as sources of epidemics.
 
Location. 39° 56.848′ N, 75° 9.095′ W. Marker is in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia County. Marker can be reached from Walnut and 6th Streets. Touch for map. Marker is on the left side of the path from the northeast entrance to the center of Washington Square Park. Marker is in this post office area: Philadelphia PA 19106, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least
Tomb image. Click for full size.
By Beverly Pfingsten, July 5, 2008
2. Tomb
In 1957 the City dedicated the memorial to the unknown soldiers of the American Revolution. It includeds the remains of a soldier discovered in a nearby grave in 1956
8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Sorrow and Joy (here, next to this marker); Linked in Memory (here, next to this marker); Tom Foglietta (here, next to this marker); Penn's Plan (a few steps from this marker); The Capital City (a few steps from this marker); A Fashionable Promenade (a few steps from this marker); Washington Square (within shouting distance of this marker); Bicentennial Moon Tree (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Philadelphia.
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Other Washington Square markers.
 
Categories. African AmericansCemeteries & Burial SitesMilitaryNotable EventsNotable PersonsWar, US Revolutionary
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on July 10, 2008, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland. This page has been viewed 859 times since then and 31 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on July 10, 2008, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland.
Paid Advertisement