Chester Rural Cemetery

Chester Rural Cemetery is a historic rural cemetery founded in March 1863 in Chester, Pennsylvania. Some of the first burials were Civil War soldiers, both Union and Confederate, who died at the government hospital located at the nearby building which became the Crozer Theological Seminary.

Chester Rural Cemetery
Chester Rural Delco M Milmore.jpg
CountryUnited States
Coordinates39°51′37″N 75°22′5″W / 39.86028°N 75.36806°W / 39.86028; -75.36806
Size36 acres (15 ha)
No. of graves31,000

The cemetery is landscaped and had a large lake that was drained in the 1950s. It covers 36 acres and contains approximately 31,000 graves. Two monuments in the cemetery have been documented by the Smithsonian Institution Research Information System: the statue "Sorrow" by Samuel Murray atop the Alfred O. Deshong memorial, and the Civil War Memorial, by Martin Milmore.[1][2]

On April 13, 1917, 55 unidentified victims of the Eddystone Explosion at the Eddystone Ammunition Corporation were buried in a mass grave at the Chester Rural Cemetery. An estimated 12,000 people attended the funeral service.[3]

"Sorrow" (1912), a memorial to Alfred O. Deshong, by Samuel Murray
Civil War Memorial by Martin Milmore
The Eddystone explosion memorial marks the location of the mass grave of 55 unidentified victims

Soldiers CircleEdit

Veterans from the Civil War and other conflicts are buried in this area of the cemetery. There are also memorials to commemorate each war since the Civil War.

On September 17, 1863, the Soldier's Monument was dedicated to the memory of the soldiers and sailors of Delaware County who died in the Civil War. The dedication was attended by 8,000 people. The main speaker at the dedication was the author and editor John Weiss Forney and many dignitaries attended including Major General Galusha Pennypacker.[4]

On the front of the Civil War Memorial is the following inscription:

"The people of Delaware County erected this monument to commemorate the patriotism of their citizens, soldiers and sailors who fell in defense of the Union in the War of the Rebellion 1861-1865"[5]

Many of the soldier's graves were moved to Philadelphia National Cemetery in Philadelphia in 1891.[6]

Notable burialsEdit


  1. ^ Sorrow SIRIS, Control Number IAS 44730002, accessed October 31, 2011.
  2. ^ Civil War Soldier SIRIS, Control Number IAS PA000125, accessed October 31, 2011.
  3. ^ "Some History of Eddystone". Retrieved 26 January 2018.
  4. ^ Martin, John Hill (1877). Chester (and Its Vicinity,) Delaware County, in Pennsylvania. Philadelphia: Wm. H. Pile & Sons. pp. 392–393. Retrieved 17 January 2018.
  5. ^ Chester. Charleston, South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing. 2008. pp. 30–31. ISBN 978-0-7385-6348-0. Retrieved 31 December 2017.
  6. ^ A brief history of Chester Rural Cemetery Chester, PA, accessed October 31, 2011.
  7. ^ "Dorothy Chacko, Selfless At Home, Abroad". web report. Philly. 1 January 1993. Retrieved May 31, 2015.

External linksEdit

Chester Rural Cemetery website

Further readingEdit

A History of Delaware County, George Ashmead.