Merion Friends Burial Ground

Established 1682

Merion Friends Burial Ground

Merion Station, Pennsylvania 19066, United States

Created By: Merion Friends Meeting

Tour Information

Welcome! You are standing in Burial Ground at Merion Friends Meeting, which was established on a well-traveled Lenape tribe route and became at busy crossroads in colonial Pennsylvania.

The Burial Ground is still in active use by the members of Merion Meeting.

From the Lower Merion Historical Society:

The Meeting, as a group of Quakers, began in 1682 upon arrival of the first boatload of the First Company of Welsh families fleeing persecution for their non-conformist worship in Wales. Edward Jones, son-in-law of Dr. Thomas Wynne, Quaker physician and friend of William Penn led them.

In 1695 the now thriving community in "Merion," named in honor of their Welsh Merionethshire, built a stone meeting house, later to be enlarged. It stood on a well-used path linking the Welsh farms to Philadelphia. Tradition says William Penn visited and preached here. In the loft above the meeting room, school was held for girls and boys, including Indian children.

There is evidence that this is the most pictured Friends meeting house in the United States, if not the world, probably because of its age, and because it was easily accessible from a growing metropolis once a publishing center. Two additional acres were given the Meeting in 1801 and 1804 by John Dickinson, a participant in founding our nation who had family ties to Merion.

Merion Friends received a great honor when the meetinghouse was declared a National Landmark by the Dept. of Interior in Washington, D.C. Weekly meetings for worship, as well as occasional weddings and burials in the adjacent grounds, continue to the present day.

Tour Map

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What You'll See on the Tour

This Burial Ground was established by the original Welsh settlers shortly after their arrival in 1682 for the infant daughter of Edward Ap Rees. Since then, about 2,100 graves have been dug. As Quakers believe that all are equal in the eyes... Read more
As you face the Meeting House, notice the steps on the right that lead down to the underground crypt.  There, bodies were stored when the ground was frozen until it thawed enough to dig a grave. As graves were unmarked in the early years o... Read more
T. Thomas Zell (1828-1905) was a member of Merion Meeting who participated in the Civil War as captain of Company A of the 121st Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers. Zell mustered out as a lieutenant colonel. At the end of the war, he started... Read more
Samuel J. Levick (1819-1885) worked for the abolition of slavery and was treasurer of the Junior Anti-Slavery Society when I was young. He was also active in several other anti-Slavery societies, participating in debates on abolition and su... Read more
There are 63 Revolutionary War Veterans buried here. Many of their stones are marked with a flag and Revolutionary War marker. How many can you spot?
John Roberts the Third (1721-1778) was hanged in 1778 for selling a horse to British troops during the Revolutionary War. He was a member of Merion Meeting and wealthy miller whose house still stands on Old Gulph Road near Mill Creek Road. ... Read more
The oldest cherry trees lining the walkway through the burying ground were planted as a test before the same type (Yoshino) was donated to Washington D.C. by the country of Japan.
Infant Joshua Owen is listed as having died January 31, 1697, but you won’t see a headstone. Most early graves lack headstones because they were discouraged by Quaker Meetings until the middle of the 19th century. Since infant Joshua d... Read more
I. Robert and Jane Owen came to America on the ship Vine, reaching Philadelphia in 1684. They came from Dolsereu, near Dolgelly, Merionethshire, in Wales, and were interred at the Merion Friends Burial Ground within a few days of each other... Read more
Two-year old Catherine lived from 1680-1682 and was the first person to be buried in the burial ground.
Jesse George-lived from 1785-1873, owning Ridgeland in West Philadelphia. A member Philadelphia Meeting Western district, and an Orthodox Quaker, it is notable that he is buried in Merion's Hicksite burying ground. He and his sister Rebecca... Read more
Thomas Wynne (1733-1782) was a member of Merion Meeting and fought in Revolutionary War for the rebel Americans. He served in the Pennsylvania "Flying Camp" and was taken prisoner by the British at the Battle of Fort Washington.  Thomas sp... Read more
John M. George (1802-1887)-member of Merion Meeting who held a farm in Overbrook. He never married, and in 1881 he endowed most of his estate to establishing the boarding school just 74 days before his death.     ...
Joseph Price (1753-1828)-member of Merion Meeting and carpenter, innkeeper and caretaker of the burying ground. He built numerous houses in Merion, many of which are standing today. His detailed diary from 1788-1828 provides a sense of life... Read more
  The existing sheds for horses and equipage were probably built in the 1820s, but stables were there in the 1790s as mentioned in the Price diary. (p. 20) As many worshippers must have arrived by carriage, it seems likely that horse sheds... Read more
This is the site of a saw pit that was used by Merion Friends meeting.   A pit where a tree and or timber was positioned over it, deep enough for a person to stand in the pit. Two sawyers would work together with a two-handled saw to saw t... Read more
An American sycamore, aka American planetree, Platanus occidentalis had been on this site for over 300 years. The beloved tree was taken down in the early 2000s and a cross section of the tree is preserved in the Activities Building. This... Read more
Sleeper stones supported the rails of the Philadelphia-Columbia Railroad which ran in front of the Meeting House on what is not Montgomery Avenue. The railroad was active from 1834-1857, and originally featured horse-drawn cars. The stones ... Read more


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