Burials at Fair Hill likely date back to within a few years of the building of the next door Meeting House in 1703. The original cemetery, much smaller and slightly to the east, is lost to history. The current property, bounded by Germantown Avenue, Cambria Street, Indiana Avenue, and 9th Street, was fenced in as Fair Hill Burial Ground in 1842.
In May of 1843, a 19 year old tuberculosis victim named John Hare was the first person to be interred in the newly expanded burial ground. Eight others were interred that year.
The rules of the burial ground included guidelines for ‘simple’ funerals and specifications for the size of headstones — no more than 18 inches wide, 9 inches deep, and 10 inches out of the ground. This practice was in keeping with the Quaker tradition of simplicity.
The burial ground became mostly inactive by the end of the 1970s, although the records show some ashes being added to family plots as late as 1981.
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Notable interments (via Wikipedia):
- Rudolph Blankenburg, reformist mayor of Philadelphia
- Lucretia Longshore Blankenburg, American second-generation suffragist, social activist, civic reformer, writer, and first lady of Philadelphia
- William Morris Davis, US Congressman
- Mary J. Scarlett Dixon (1822-1900), physician
- Anna Jeanes, Quaker philanthropist
- Mary Ann M’Clintock
- Thomas M’Clintock
- Lucretia Mott, abolitionist, women’s rights activist, and social reformer
- Edward Parrish, pharmacist and the first president of Swarthmore College
- Ann Preston, first woman dean of a US medical school
- Harriet Forten Purvis
- Robert Purvis
- Deborah Fisher Wharton