Old First has a section of plots at West Laurel Hill Cemetery in Merion. We bought them after the City of Philadelphia reclaimed our first graveyard by eminent domain (under what is now Franklin Square). Most of the bodies buried are still in Franklin Square, under the fountain, merry-go-round and mini-golf. But some bodies were moved. First to a cemetery at 17th and Cherry St. When that location closed, bodies were moved to Oaks Cemetery out in East Falls; that cemetery also closed. So some bodies were moved to the plots Old First bought in West Laurel Hill Cemetery. Somewhere along the way, bodies from our crypt might have joined those traveling multiple times from our original graveyard.
Remember what Bob Schneider schooled us about in his sermon on the Open Bible? “That sometimes we just do not know as much as we would wish about the past. Sometimes we cannot know, because we just don’t have any evidence. Our best conjectures might be fun to think about, but. . .” We cannot know. . .
Well, that’s probably even truer about our moveable graves and the lives of the earliest people our church put in the ground.
But West Laurel Hill has some really old headstones of ours. And they had not been touched for over 100 years! Some of them had sunk a full 9 inches into the ground and were completely out of sight. However, with a grant from the Independence chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, West Laurel Hill has reset all of the historic gravestones. Nancy, Kathy and Michael were there for the rededication ceremony on Wednesday, November 3, 2021.
Below are some of the photos Michael took from the event.