Mount Moriah Cemetery (Philadelphia)

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Mount Moriah Cemetery
Mt Moriah Button Gate HABS 138911pu.jpg
Mount Moriah Cemetery Gate (1855), Stephen Decatur Button, architect.
CountryUnited States
Coordinates39°55′47″N 75°14′08″W / 39.9297°N 75.2356°W / 39.9297; -75.2356Coordinates: 39°55′47″N 75°14′08″W / 39.9297°N 75.2356°W / 39.9297; -75.2356
Size380 acres (150 ha)
No. of graves120,000
WebsiteFriends of Mount Moriah Cemetery
Find a GraveMount Moriah Cemetery

Mount Moriah Cemetery is a historic cemetery in southwest Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, along Cobbs Creek. It was incorporated on March 27, 1855[1] and established by an act of the Pennsylvania Legislature. The cemetery, which originally occupied 54 acres (22 ha), was among a number of cemeteries established along the "rural ideal" popular at that time. An ornate Romanesque entrance and gatehouse were built of brownstone on Islington Lane, today known as Kingsessing Avenue.

Mount Moriah Cemetery held a notable place among Philadelphia's grand rural cemeteries like Laurel Hill Cemetery and the Woodlands Cemetery. It was easily accessible by streetcar. Over time, Mount Moriah grew to approximately 200 acres (81 ha), spanning Cobbs Creek into the Borough of Yeadon in adjacent Delaware County, making it the largest cemetery in Pennsylvania. While reports indicate that the cemetery is 380 acres, a review of real estate records indicates that it was approximately 200 acres. Philadelphia and Yeadon share almost equal shares of the cemetery, which spans Cobbs Creek. Since the construction of Cobbs Creek Parkway the cemetery is slightly less that 160 acres.


For several years the cemetery has suffered from neglect and the ownership and management responsibilities of the cemetery have been in a state of confusion.[2][3] Two military plots dating back to the Civil War are well cared for by the Department of Veterans Affairs.[3]

View of Center City skyscrapers from near the Gatehouse

Horatio Jones, who was the last known member of the Mount Moriah Cemetery Association, died in 2004 and the cemetery closed its gates in 2011. Having no known owner, the cemetery may be in a unique legal situation in the United States.[2] The Friends of Mount Moriah Cemetery, Inc., a non-profit organization, holds regular restoration events and progress has been made to returning the cemetery to normal condition. Expected annual maintenance costs are about $500,000.[4][5]

External video
Mt Moriah Old Gatehouse 2.JPG
3D Laser Scan: Mount Moriah Cemetery Gatehouse (1:05), DJS Associates[6]

In 2014, Philadelphia Orphan's Court appointed Mount Moriah Cemetery Preservation Corporation as receiver for the long neglected cemetery. In February 2015, the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission announced that the Cemetery was eligible to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places, subject to review by the NRHP, and Friends of Mt. Moriah Cemetery began a campaign to raise funds to stabilize the gatehouse.[7][8]

External video
Mt Moriah Philly John H Jones grave.JPG
In Memoriam, Courtney Coombs[9] 16:12, December 2013
Mount Moriah Cemetery, Antiquity Echos[10] 4:29, June 2010


Notable burials[edit]

Grave of John Q.A. and Mary Ziegler
The Civil War section

Among those buried in the cemetery are:

In 1856, the remains of Betsy Ross and her third husband John Claypoole were moved from the Free Quaker Burying Ground to Mount Moriah. Then in December 1975, Betsy's descendants petitioned to have her remains moved to the Betsey Ross House. A physical anthropologist, Dr. Alan Mann, moved some bones but was unable to determine whether they belonged to Ross or not. [13].

The cemetery contains one British war grave, of a World War I Serjeant of the Royal Scots Regiment.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ History of Philadelphia, 1609-1884, by John Thomas Scharf and Thompson Westcott, Published 1884, L. H. Everts & Co., Philadelphia, Pa.
  2. ^ a b Pompilo, Natalie (July 15, 2011). "Abandoned Mount Moriah in grave condition". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved January 21, 2013.
  3. ^ a b "Mount Moriah Cemetery Naval Plot and Soldiers' Lot Philadelphia, Pennsylvania". Civil War Era National Cemeteries. National Park Service. Retrieved January 21, 2013.
  4. ^ Bolling, Louis (May 23, 2012). "Mount Moriah Cemetery clean up a moving experience". Philadelphia Tribune. Retrieved January 21, 2013.
  5. ^ "Cemetery History". Friends of the Mount Moriah Cemetery. Retrieved January 21, 2013.
  6. ^ "Digitally Preserving A Historical Philadelphia Landmark". DJS Associates. February 9, 2015. Retrieved February 17, 2016.
  7. ^ "Historic Resource Information, key # 201334". CRGIS. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. Retrieved 17 February 2016.
  8. ^ "Mount Moriah Cemetery Gatehouse". Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia. Retrieved 17 February 2016.
  9. ^ "In Memoriam". Courtney Coombs. December 10, 2013. Retrieved December 21, 2013.
  10. ^ "Mount Moriah Cemetery". Antiquity Echos. June 20, 2010. Retrieved December 21, 2013.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab Mount Moriah Cemetery: Famous names at Find a Grave
  12. ^ "Baseball President Dead: George Dovey of Boston Passes Away on a Railroad Train" (PDF). The New York Times. June 20, 1909. Retrieved 2011-09-16.
  13. ^ "Rediscovering Betsy Ross' bones". Strange Remains. 2016-07-01. Retrieved 2018-07-21.
  14. ^ CWGC casualty details: MacFarlane, Malcolm

External links[edit]