At the May 4, 2009 meeting, FCCPA member Dayle Dooley introduced us to the Congressional Cemetery.
Congressional was the earliest national burial ground in the sense that persons from every part of the country were laid to rest there. Currently CC is 32.5 acres with 62-66,000 “residents”. It was founded April 1807 and the first burial was William Swinton, considered the best stone cutter in Philadelphia, recruited to DC by Benjamin Latrobe to work on the Capitol building. There are 165 cenotaphs for members of Congress with approx. 65 occupied.
The only signer of the Declaration of Independence buried in Washington, DC is buried here…Elbridge Gerry. Also Mathew Brady, Civil War photographer; William P. Wood, 1st Chief of US Secret Service; George Watterston, 1st Librarian of Congress and the list goes on!!!
In 1975 the cemetery was leased to the Association for the Preservation of Historic Congressional Cemetery for 99 years after the US Park Service declined to take it over! In 1998 it was placed on the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s 11 Most Endangered List.