Congregation of the Dead

Congregation of the Dead (HM5QX)

Location: Philadelphia, PA 19106 Philadelphia County
Country: United States of America

N 39° 56.848', W 75° 9.095'

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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.
HM NumberHM5QX
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Monday, September 29th, 2014 at 12:26am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 487050 N 4421937
Decimal Degrees39.94746667, -75.15158333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 39° 56.848', W 75° 9.095'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds39° 56' 50.88" N, 75° 9' 5.70" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)267, 484, 215, 610
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 600-630 Walnut St, Philadelphia PA 19106, US
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