Graveyard / Cemetery
The graveyard surrounding the church was the first public cemetery in Richmond and it holds significant historical interest. Many people important to Richmond and Virginia are buried here, including George Wythe, who not only signed the Declaration of Independence, but also taught the law to Thomas Jefferson, Chief Justice John Marshall, and Henry Clay.
How many people are buried at St John's?
We believe there are about 1300 souls buried here at St. John's. As the first public cemetery in Richmond, we have some of the oldest residents in the area.
Why do some gravestones look like picnic tables? (They are not!)
The original cemetery had no gates and area livestock roamed freely. Table top graves were used to protect graves from livestock, dogs, hogs, and even thieves. They also gave a large space on which to honor the deceased, so it may indicate that the person was important.
What do the symbols on the stones represent?
Gravestone symbols are fascinating. Our gravestones have many of the most commonly seen symbols, including the heart, the hand, the willow, and the urn.