CHARLESTOWN PRESBYTERIAN CEMETERY
History | Inscriptions
| Newspaper Articles | Charlestown Presbyterian
The Charlestown Presbyterian Cemetery is located on the
Phoenixville-Charlestown road being just north of the village of
Charlestown, Charlestown Township, Chester Co., Pa. The
cemetery is associated with the Charlestown Presbyterian Church, which was
founded in 1743 on a portion of land given by Job Harvey. This
Church was located in the Northwest portion of the present grave
The present graveyard, being the original purchase, was situated on one of
the earliest laid-out roads in this section. One of the first
persons buried in this graveyard was Lewis Evans, of Vincent Township, who
died May 19, 1762. Within the boundary walls of this plot lie buried
several score of Revolutionary War soldiers, so related by a draft of
soldiers' graves that was found. Also buried here was Dr. Samuel
Kennedy, who died on January 19, 1776; he was a Surgeon to the 4th
Battalion PA Troops.
Also found in this graveyard is a marble shaft that was erected by the
people of Phoenixville to the memory of Dennis Dempsey; who was enlisted
with Capt. J. Siddans Company, Delaware regiment under Col. John
Haslett. During the Battle of Germantown, a fellow soldier of
Dempsey named McQuade, was pierced through the leg by a sword of a British
soldier. Dempsey unloosened him and brought him to
The following information was taken from papers found at the Chester
Co. Historical Society; Chester County Collections #6; research of Harmon
D. Rees (prior to 1932), and Charles E. Malin, Registrar of Veterans'
"The soldiers of the Revolutionary War who are buried in this
cemetery and in this vicinity are:
" Senior Surgeon Samuel Kennedy; Surgeon Francis Smith; Capt. Patrick
Anderson; Capt. William Bodley; Capt. Alexander McCaragher; Capt. John
Pugh; Lt. Hezekiah Davies; Lt. Ezekiel Howell; Priv. Isaac Anderson; Priv.
Llewellyn Davis; Priv. Dennis Dempsey; Priv. David Parry; Priv. Jacob
"The soldiers of the War of 1812 who are buried in this cemetery and
in this vicinity are:
"Capt. George Hartman; Capt. John C. Wersler; Sgt. Samuel Davis;
Corp. James Williams; Priv. Davis Adams; Priv. Isaac Anderson; Priv. Jacob
Buckwalter; Priv. Jonathan Davis; Priv. John Davis; Priv. Thomas Hampton;
Priv. Peter Hartman; Priv. George King; Priv. John King; Priv. Lewis
Morgan; Priv. Jacob Moser; Priv. John Moses; Priv. Abram Peck; Priv.
Samuel Ringler; Priv. Oswald Sill; Priv. Daniel Williams; Priv. John
Young; Priv. Peter Young.
"Since the marker was placed there have been some additional names
located. Mr. Rees supplies the following additional names of the
soldiers buried here and in this vicinity:
"Capt. McCall; Samuel Roberts; Frederick Yost; Edward Lane; Isaac
Richardson; William Schofield; James Schofield; George Schofield;
Frederick Gerhart; John Parry; Jacob Barley; Jacob Boyer; John Humphries;
Rev. Daniel McCalla; Abraham Haldeman; Benjamin Peck; John Vanderslice.
"A list of those buried in the Charlestown Presbyterina Cemetery with
markers erected above their graves follows. There are a great number
of unmarked graves. Around 200 or 250 graves are marked by a rough
stone with no inscription at all. These are probably the soldiers
"Bodley, James d. 9/21/1826, aged 56
Bodley, Sarah d. 10/17/1821, aged 48
Bodley, William d. 1/11/1854, aged 30 (?)
"Buzzard, Deborah d. 3/24/1848 in 63rd yr
"Cooper, Thomas d. 12/16/1851 in 53rd yr
"Davis, John W. son of Thomas & Mary A. Davis d. at Newport
News, Va. 8/9/1862 aged 26 years 4 months & 14 days.
"Dempsey, Dennis one of Kirkwood's Delaware Blues. A
Revolutionary soldier of 76. He fought in the battles of Brandywine,
Germantown, Monmouth, Camden, Cowpens and Eutaw Springs. d.
1/1/1825, aged about 70 yr
"Emrey, _______ Sen'r. 9/22/1760 - 12/3/1826
"Emrick, Elizabeth daughter of George Emrick 10/23/1734 - 4/23/1828
"Fulton, Izabella daughter of Alexander & Elizabeth Fulton d.
12/1/1845, aged 3y 8mo. ?da
Fulton, Mary daugher of Alexander & Elizabeth Fulton d. 8/2/1847 (?),
aged 1y 6mo 8da
"Hannums, Nathan L. son of Wm. & Sarah Hannums d. 8/23/1864 aged
12 yr 3mo
"Henry, Joseph d. ? aged ?
"Himes, James 6/11/1780 - 12/1/1857
"Hodge, Elizabeth consort of Kenworthy Major d. 4/1/1860 aged 80 yr.
"Humpriheys, David d. 8/27/1774 aged 80yr
"Jenkins, Barbara wife of Thomas Jenkins d. 12/20/1857, in 93rd yr.
"Kennedy, John son of Dr. Sam'l Kennedy & Sarah his wife, d.
12/2/1772, aged 8yr
Kennedy, Samuel Dr. Phisician of the General Hospital d. 6/17/1778 in 48th
Kennedy, Sam'l Jun'r. son of Dr. Sam'l. Kennedy & Sarah his
wife, d. 11/3/1773 aged 4yr
Major Kenworthy d. 1/5/1862, aged 81yr. 1mo. 12 da.
M'cAraher, Alexander d. 9/19/1787 aged 38y
McCoy, M. d. 1844 aged 80 yr. (Aunt)
M'Knig, Margaret T. M. wife of David M'Knig d. 8/25/1820 in 62nd yr.
Neiler, Jacob Esq'r. d. 5/26/1826 aged 50 yr. 5 mo. 6 da.
Neiler, Mary wife of Jacob Neiler d. 2/22/1856 aged 74yr. 2mo. 9da.
Neiler, Phinehas Jones son of Jacob & Mary Neiler d. 9/25/1846, aged
33yr. 1mo. 18da.
North, Elizabeth wife of Roger North d. 2/5/1803 in 51st yr.
Prichard, Mary wife of Griffith Prichard d. 6/26/1746 aged 63 yr.
Sahler, Barbara d. 12/10/1862 aged 69 yr. 5 mo. 1 da. (Mother)
Sahler, Isaac d. 7/22/1854 aged 59 yr. 5 mo. 18 da. (Father)
Sahler, Kate A. M. d. 7/31/1852 aged 23 yr. 2 mo. 3 day. (Sister)
Shugart, Elizabeth d. 4/23/1812 in 70 (?) yr.
Thomas, Franklin son of John & Deborah Thomas d. 10/3/1835 aged 2yr. 8
Thomas, Margaret H. dau. of John & Deborah Thomas d. 3/25/1840
aged 1yr. 9mo. 18 da.
Todd, David d. 12/7/1814 in 50th yr.
Todd, Elizabeth wife of Andrew Todd d. 7/8/1773 aged 82 (?) yr.
Todd, Ellenor dau. of David & Margaret Todd d. 12/15/1810 aged 5yr.
Todd, Ellnor wife of Robert Todd 3/9/1734 (?) - 2/20/1794
Todd, Isabella dau. of David & Mary Todd d. 11/20/1796 aged 1yr. 3mo.
Todd, Mary d. 11/8/1802 aged 38
Vanderslice, Rebecca d. 12/20/1821 aged 76
Watson, Margaret wife of John Watson d. 5/18/1860 in 83rd yr.
Waugh, William son of Robert & C. W. Waugh d. 3/14/1853 aged 1yr. 5mo.
Williams, J. 1823
Williams, Jane d. 6/15/1826 aged 52 (Mother)
Williams, M. 1829
Williams, Rachel Ann dau. of Thomas & Rachel Williams d. 10/9/1849
aged 2yr. 1 mo. 1 da. (Sister)
Williams, Thomas E. infant d. ? aged ?
Unknown newspaper and date.
AN OLD GRAVEYARD.
It Is in Charlestown Village and Contains the Bones of Patriots.
The Phoenixville Republican has at last found the old Charlestown
graveyard, wherein are buried a number of the patriots of the
Revolution. The headstones have most all tumbled down or
disappeared. Some few stones have withstood the forces of years, but
the inscriptions upon them are slowly becoming illegible. Weeds
which are taking on the proportions of young trees grow in the paths and
over the graves and it is hard to locate many of the mounds. Deep
indentations in the graveyard show where the bodies have been removed and
taken to newer and better kept cemeteries.
The cemetery is situated directly opposite the school house, and is
surrounded by a low stone wall. The most conspicuous monument in the
enclosure is a marker erected over the grave of the ubiquitous Celt,
Dennis Dempsey, by name, who was the last survivor of the Revolutionary
War, in the neighborhood, dying on January 1, 1825. Dempsey was a
member of Kirkwood's Delaware Blues, and fought in the battles of
Brandywine, Germantown, Monmouth, Camden, Cowpens and Eutaw Springs.
He was seventy-six years old at the time of his death. The monument
was erected by public contributions in December, 1858. The committee
in charge being William Davis, John Miller and Benjamin Watson.
Another interesting marker is over the grave of Dr. Samuel Kennedy, the
"physician at the General Hospital," which must have been
located in Valley Forge during the encampment of the Revolutionary forces
there in the winter of 1777-78. Dr. Kennedy died in 1778, and it is
thought his death occurred while he was serving as an army physician at
Valley Forge. The following inscription is engraved upon his
Probably the oldest marked grave in the cemetery is that of Mary
Pritchard, wife of Griffith Pritchard, who died on June 26, 1746. At
different times in the past the residents of the neighborhood and members
of the Presbyterian Church, which adjoins the old burying place have
advocated its restoration but no steps have ever been taken toward
remedying its condition.
Daily Local News; 6/18/1921
The Philadelphia Chapter, Sons of the American Revolution, will celebrate
the 143d anniversary of the evacuation of the city of Philadelphia by the
British Army under General Howe, by an unusual and notable service at the
grave-side of Surgeon General Samuel Kennedy in the old church yard of the
Charlestown Presbyterian Church, near Phoenixville, next Sunday, June
19. Dr. Samuel Kennedy, who was one of the most distinguished
practitioners of Colonial services to the American cause, served with
great distinction, and particularly throughout the disastrous Winter of
1777-1778 at Valley Forge, was so unsparing in his efforts that a little
later, being infected with an attack of camp fever, he died, on the 18th
of June, 1778. His simple grave in the old cemetery had been
neglected for many years. A committee headed by Judge Bonniwell,
President of the Philadelphia Chapter, S.A.R., caused the grave to be
rebuilt with cement and the old stone relettered, with its quaint
"In memory of Doctor Samuel Kennedy, Physician of the General
Hospital, who departed this life June 17th, A.D., 1778, in the 48th year
of his age.
"In him the patriot, scholar, Christian friend,
Harmonious met 'till death his life did end;
The church's pupil and the State his care,
A physician skillful, and a Whig sincere;
Beneath this tomb now sleeps his precious dust
Till the last trumpet reanimates the just."
The Sons of the American Revolution will leave Philadelphia at 12.30 from
the music stand, City Hall Plaza, on Sunday next, and proceed by auto bus
to Phoenixville. There they will be joined by the Josiah White Post,
No. 45, Grand Army of the Republic; Camp No. 100, Sons of Veterans, and
the Ladies' Auxiliary of Phoenixville. The Philadelphia Lodge, No.
2, of Elks, with sixty automobiles, will join the procession at this
point. The Chester county Historical Society and other patriotic
societies of Chester county have also been invited, as well as the
Daughters of the Revolution.
At the grave the principal addresses will be delivered by Judge Bonniwell,
Chancellor General of the S.A.R., Colonel Franklin D'Olier, Past Commander
of the American Legion, and Past National President Elmer E. Wentworth, of
Daily Local News; 12/03/1930
PLAN TO RESTORE AN OLD CEMETERY
Burial Plot at Charlestown Presbyterian Church to Be Improved and Cared
The Old Presbyterian Burial Plot, located in Charlestown on the
Charlestown road, four miles west of Phoenixville, was the scene of an
enthusiastic gathering of people on Sunday morning, when the Historical
Places Committee of the Philadelphia American Legion and Patriotic Order
Sons of America met the Local Improvement Committee and those interested
in improving, preserving and beautifying this historical cemetery,
containing the graves of the noted surgeon of Washington's army, Dr.
Samuel Kennedy, Dennis Dempsey, and many unknown Continental soldiers.
It is proposed to tear down the sheds fronting on the upper side of the
cemetery. When the new church was built in 1826 and dedicated on
October 7, 1827, the building committee was Robert Hughes, Robert McClure
and Davis Adams. Thirty-five years later, or in 1862, the church was
repaired, the floor being lowered and equipped with new pews and these
sheds were then built, all at a cost of $784.43. Prior to the time
of the sheds being built there was an entrance to the cemetery on the
upper side at some point where the sheds now stand. This entrance
will again be in its historic setting The will (sic), which was
built by a sum of money bequeathed by Dr. Kennedy and which has fallen
down in many places will be rebuilt.
Daily Local News; 6/18/1932
Mention in these columns has been made of exercises held on June 4,
dedicating a marker in the Charlestown Presbyterian Cemetery. The
following is a history of that burial ground, prepared by Harmon D. Rees,
The Charlestown Presbyterian Graveyard being associated with the
Charlestown Presbyterian Church, was founded in 1743 on a portion of land
given by Job Harvey. This church was located in the northwest
portion of the present graveyard. In 1741 several members of the
Great Valley Presbyterian Church split from the said church and after two
years of preaching in houses and other places, located under the
leadership of Rev. John Rowland-- the former pastor of Great Valley-- upon
the present location in Charlestown township. The men who were among
the early church officers were David Humphries, David John, Griffith
Jones, Lewis Martin and Anthony Pritchard, Rev. Mr. Rolland died in 1747;
his pastorate was followed by Rev. Mr. Campbell, who died in 1753; then
Rev. John Griffith, Rev. Benjamin Chestnut, and Rev. John
Carmichael. In 1774 Rev. Daniel McCalla was installed as pastor and
continued until the breaking out of the Revolution, when he became a
chaplain in the army.
It may be of interest to note the origin of the name of this church and
burial ground. It took the name of the township in which it was
located. To which we give the following: Charles Pickering, a
friend of Wm. Penn, landed at Philadelphia. Being an adventurer, he
started out in search of minerals. Traveling up the Schuylkill and
along the Pickering Creek, he found what he supposed to be silver.
Returning to Philadelphia, he received a grant from Wm. Penn for 5300
acres of land. After receiving title to the land he revealed his
secrets to a friend, Charles Tinker, who was a miner. They built a
cave for a laboratory, which was the firs dwelling of the white man in
this section. Charles Pickering was so closely associated with the
early history of this section that one portion of his name was given to
the creek, and the other portion to the township, which included at that
time; Charlestown, Schuylkill and Phoenixville. At Pickering's death
his land was divided between 16 of his friends.
The present graveyard, being the original purchase, was situated on one of
he earliest laid-out roads in this section. In 1731, a petition was
presented to the Court, asking for a road to be laid out and built to
connect Charlestown V. and Philadelphia, this connecting two important
settlements. This road to be known as Egypt Road and this portion
known as the Upper Egypt Road. One of the first persons to be buried
in the graveyard was Lewis Evans, of Vincent township, who died May 19th,
1762. Within the boundary walls of this sacred lot lie buried
several score of Revolutionary soldiers, so related by a draft of
soldier's graves recently found. The grave of Dr. Samuel Kennedy,
who died June 17th, 1778, is located here. Dr. Kennedy was appointed
January 19th, 1776, as surgeon to Fourth Battalion Pennsylvania troops,
commanded by Anthony Wayne, May, 1777, he was appointed senior surgeon in
military hospitals, and in November, 1777, he was appointed senior surgeon
and physician in general hospitals of middle department. Dr. Kennedy
served with the army along the Canadian border, at Ticonderago, at Long
Island, Brandywine, Paoli and Germantown. A hospital was erected at
Chester Springs upon his property. Dr. Kennedy turned this property
over without charge to the government. In his will he directed a
wall to be built around the Charlestown Presbyterian Graveyard-- providing
funds from his estate. Upon the slab over his grave we find the
"In memory of Doctor Samuel
Kennedy, Physician of the General
Hospital, who departed this life
June 17th, 1779, in the 48th year
of his age.
In him the Patriot, Scholar, Chris-
Harmonious met 'til Death his life
The Church Pulpit and the State
A Physician skilled and a Whig,
Beneath this Tomb now sleeps his
Till the last trumpet reanimates
There also stands a marble shaft erected by the people of this community
to the memory of Dennis Dempsey-- enlisted with Capt. John Siddans
Company, Delaware regiment under Colonel John Haslett. At the Battle
of Germantown a friend of Dempsey by the name of McQuade, was pierced
through the leg by a sword of a British soldier. Dempsey unloosened
him and then brought him away. McQuade lived to be a good old age
and was buried at the Grove M.E. Church.
Also the grave of John Davis, killed at Antietum in the Civil War, adds it
portion of national glory to this historic spot.
Adjoining this graveyard to the east was the first schoolhouse in this
community and prior to 1840 for several years the Methodist denomination
held services within.
Two bronze plates on the marker were dedicated:
Plate 1. Soldiers of the Revolutionary War who are buried in Old
Charlestown Cemetery and vicinity Chester county, Pa. Senior Surgeon
Samuel Kennedy, Surgeon Francis Smith, Captain Patrick Anderson, Captain
William Boddey, Captain Alexander McCaragher, Captain John Pugh,
Liuetenant Hezekiah Davies, Lieutenant Ezekiel Howell, Private Isaac
Anderson, Private Llewellyn Davis, Private Dennis Dempsey, Private Roger
Little, Private David Parry, Private Jacob Wisner.
Plate 2. Soldiers of the War of 1812 who are buried in Old
Charlestown Cemetery and vicinity, Chester county, Pa.: Captain
George Hartman, Captain John C. Wersler, Sergeant Samuel Davis, Corporal
James Williams, Private Davis Adams, Private Isaac Anderson, Private Jacob
Buckwalter, Private Jonathan Davis, Private John Davis, Private Thomas
Hampton, Private Peter Hartman, Private George King, Private John King,
Private Lewis Morgan, Private Jacob Moser, Private John Moses, Private
Abram Peck, Private Samuel Ringler, Private Oswald Sill, Private Daniel
Williams, Private John Young, Private Peter Young.