Shockoe Hill Cemetery

Shockoe Hill Cemetery, Richmond: Address, Shockoe Hill Cemetery Reviews: 5/5

Shockoe Hill Cemetery
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Points of Interest & Landmarks • Cemeteries
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urbanguy
Richmond, VA4,331 contributions
I always thought that Richmond's Hollywood Cemetery was "the" oldest cemetery in Richmond. No, Hollywood was established in 1847, whereas Shockoe Hill dates from 1822. Hollywood certainly has more notable figures buried there and a greater diversity of cemetery architecture. But, Shockoe Hill being only 12.7 acres (compared to Hollywood's 135 acres) is easily walked in a short amount of time.

The more historic figures to be buried at Shockoe Hill, I believe, are Chief Justice John Marshall, Peter Francisco, a Revolutionary War hero, and Elizabeth Van Lew, a Richmonder who was famous for being a spy for the Union Army.
Written June 15, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Melanie M
Richmond, VA106 contributions
Friends
I have lived in Richmond all of my life and had seen this cemetery from a distance but never visited. The Bon Air Historical Society arranged a tour with the Friends of Shockoe Hill Cemetery. Because the cemetery not in the best part of town, I would not recommend going alone. Our guide, Jeffry Burden, was very knowledgeable !
and enthusiastic. This cemetery is older than Hollywood Cemetery and has a number of well known "residents", The history is fascinating
Written September 12, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

SHABG
8 contributions
The Shockoe Hill Cemetery is a segregated part of the "Shockoe Hill Burying Ground". It was/is a much larger burial ground than what you see today, it extends 31 acres to the east and to the north beyond its brick walls. This extended part of the burial ground (the Shockoe Hill African Burying Ground) was made to disappear from the visible landscape. But it is still there, and remains threatened to this day. The DC2RVA high-speed rail project and the proposed widening of I-64, as well as any and all proposed street and sidewalk improvements through the area, are all threats to the Shockoe Hill African Burying Ground. The heart of the Shockoe Hill African Burying Ground is located at 1305 N 5th St. (the site of the abandoned gas station). That is the location of the original two one acre plots first established by the city of Richmond in 1816. They were titled on the 1816 Plan of the city of Richmond Property located at the Poorhouse as the "Burying Ground for Free People of Color" and the Burying Ground for Negroes" (enslaved). The parcel at 1305 N 5th St. was reclaimed by the city of Richmond in 2021, and is 1.21 acres of the two original parcels of the "Shockoe Hill African Burying Ground".

The over 600 Union Soldiers who were buried on Shockoe Hill, were buried in the Shockoe Hill African Burying Ground. Most of those those deceased Union P.O.W.s were buried to the north and east of the City Hospital building, which is now the Hebrew Cemetery Annex (part of the Shockoe Hill African Burying Ground). Some of the P.O.W.s were buried near the Almshouse. The soldiers were moved to the Richmond National Cemetery shortly after the war.

It is conservatively estimated that over 22,000 people of African decent were buried in the Shockoe Hill African Burying Ground. Its grounds were expanded from 2 acres to 31 acres, before it was closed in 1879 due to overcrowded conditions. It is likely the largest burial ground for free people of color and the enslaved in the United States (larger than the African Burial Ground in New York City).

The Shockoe Hill African Burying Ground has suffered many abuses, from being a main target of the illegal cadaver trade, to using bones and bodies as street fill when 5th St. was extended in 1883. The illegal cadaver trade supplied bodies to medical schools - especially the Medical College of Virginia (now VCU) and the University of Virginia.) Streets were extended and run through it, 4th St., 5th St. to include the viaduct, Hospital St to the east of 5th St., I-64, and the railroad tracks. Its land was divided up, some portions of it were gifted, and others sold. A large portion of it is part of today's Hebrew Cemetery. High-speed rail plans to run its new railroad track through the historic grounds of the Shockoe Hill African Burying Ground over the distance of 5 1/2 blocks. I-64 will eventually be widened over the burial ground.

Despite all that has happened here to the Shockoe Hill African Burying Ground, it deserves to be remembered, recognized, honored, and memorialized, just like its other segregated half the Shockoe Hill Cemetery. It also deserves to be protected from further desecration.

When you visit the Shockoe Hill Cemetery... please also remember the thousands of people who were laid to rest in the 31 acres beyond the cemetery walls.
Written January 29, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Goth Gardener
Mechanicsville, VA80 contributions
This was the first City-owned burial ground in Richmond established in 1820 with the first burial in 1822. The cemetery is not quite 13 acres and includes approximately 30,000 burials. While there are numerous historical figures buried here, the cemetery is significant to the author Edgar Allan Poe. One could imagine if the events went a bit differently in his final days, we would be visiting Poe's grave here instead of in Baltimore. He grew up in and around Shockoe Hill. Poe neighbors, playmates growing up, his foster family, and even some of the ladies he loved are buried here. The Friends of Shockoe Hill is quite active and offers a variety of historic tours.
Written October 13, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

riterchick
Richmond, VA53 contributions
Couples
The great justice, John Marshall and his wife are buried here, as well as Peter Francisco of Revolutionary War fame. Union spy Elizabeth van Lew also is interred here, as well as William Waller Hening, Thomas Jefferson’s contemporary who pulled together all of Virginia’s laws in print. I first found this cemetery looking for the grave of my ancestor, William Waller Hening, and found so much more. Gen. George Patton’s family members are buried here as well. Incredible history abounds.
Written July 22, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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