Members and supporters of the Friends of Shockoe Hill Cemetery work to provide a full slate of programs and events intended to celebrate the Cemetery's history, restore its beauty, and educate the public on its place in community life.

Most programs are free and open to the public.  A suggested donation of $5 per person is greatly appreciated. Your donation will help us to recover and restore markers, install new monuments, assist the City of Richmond with maintaining the Cemetery, and create future public programs. (Private or fundraising events will be noted as such.)

Parking is available inside the cemetery.  Programs generally begin at the Keeper's Shed, near the southeast corner of the Cemetery, where a restroom is available.

Upcoming Events and Programs

(Note that events may be rescheduled or cancelled on short notice due to inclement weather or other factors.  See our Facebook page for last minute updates.)

2023 "Summer Sunday" Tours

We're back for more great stories! All tours are free (a $5.00/person donation to the Friends group is appreciated) and start at 2:00 (park inside the Cemetery, entering through the Bates Street or Hospital Street entrances.)

JUNE 18: "Polly's Richmond: Mary Ambler Marshall's Life and Times"
After settling in Richmond with her husband, the future Chief Justice John Marshall, Mary Ambler "Polly" Marshall built her life amongst the capitol city's elite. What was Polly's social, familial, political, and cultural journey as daughter, wife, mother, and wife of the Chief Justice, in the Early Republic? Which people, experiences, and personal objects illustrate Polly's life, and death, in Richmond?
In a special ticketed tour, join Preservation Virginia's John Marshall House and the "Friends of Shockoe Hill Cemetery" for a back-to-back guided tour honoring Polly Marshall's birthday. Your visit will begin with a tour of the John Marshall House where Polly spent over 40 years. Following that, you'll travel the short distance to Shockoe Hill Cemetery to view Polly's grave and learn of her contemporaries buried there, as well as how these individuals helped shape Polly's Richmond.
JULY 2: "Echoes of Gettysburg on Shockoe Hill"
It was contested far from Richmond, yet the Battle of Gettysburg had an immense effect on the City and Commonwealth. Join Jeffry Burden on the 160th anniversary of the battle for a look back at some of those buried at Shockoe Hill who fought and fell there, and how a Richmond civic disaster may have played a role in the outcome of the largest engagement ever fought in North America.
SEPTEMBER 16: "Struggle for Fairness: Civil Rights Warriors"
Despite the reality of a highly segregated society, the fight for political and human rights touched the lives of several persons buried here. We will highlight their stories, including the daring exploits of a Richmond socialite, and the former Confederate naval officer who faced death while advocating for African-American voting rights.
OCTOBER 8: "Family, Friends and Foes of Edgar Allan Poe"
We welcome back Dr. Sharon Pajka, who will pull together the web of connections that bound Poe to Shockoe Hill, and to Richmond -- his once and forever "hometown". Buried here are his foster parents and siblings, two of his great romantic interests, and numerous others -- some of whom he loved...and some he didn't. Sharon's tour is sure to delight the Poe afficionado and Poe neophyte alike. Her new book, "The Souls Close to Edgar Allan Poe: Graves of his Family, Friends and Foes" is a great accompaniment to this special event!

New Marker Recognition Day - Sunday,  April 30, 2023

Join us as 2:00 as we recognize and celebrate sixty-two new grave markers honoring seventy-two persons. These markers have been placed through the efforts of family members, of several historical organizations, and of the Friends of Shockoe Hill Cemetery.


2023 Community Clean-Up Day -- Saturday, April 1 2023

Join other citizen volunteers as we do some Spring cleaning! We'll rake, trim and pick up trash. Tools provided. We kick-off at 9:00, but join us when you can!


John Marshall Birthday Commemoration

Happy Birthday, Mr. Chief Justice!

The 267th anniversary of John Marshall's birth is September 24, 2022. Join the John Marshall Center for Constitutional History & Civics, and local D.A.R. chapters, at 2:45 on Friday, September 23 for a birthday commemoration at the Marshall Family gravesite in Shockoe Hill Cemetery. The event will include music, readings, and placing of wreaths and other items honoring the "Great Chief Justice" and his wife Polly, who rests by his side.

The event in Shockoe Hill Cemetery will be followed at 4:00 by a Birthday Cake Reception at the Arthur Ashe Center, 428 N. Arthur Ashe Boulevard.


2022 "Summer Sunday" Tours

Join us for our latest series of tours on select Sunday afternoons at 2:00, focusing on the stories of our "residents" here. The suggested donation to the Friends of Shockoe Hill Cemetery is $5 per person.
May 22: "OUTSIDE THE NUMBERS: Fascinating Folks NOT Found in Our Brochure"
Our visitor's brochure provides numbered locations of the graves of more than two dozen select individuals, but theirs were not the only interesting lives. Join Clayton Shepherd of the FoSHC for a deep dive into the stories of five others, including a World War One hero and an early Civil Rights advocate.
June 5: "SCANDALOUS SHOCKOE PART II: More Buried Tales"
Our popular "Scandals" tour from 2019 is back with new glimpses of intrigue, betrayal and stealth. Come for the history, stay for the infamy!
June 19 (Father's Day): "GREAT DADS OF SHOCKOE HILL (And Some Not-So-Great Ones)"
Many fathers give their all...some fall short. Shockoe Hill has both types, and we'll talk about a few of them, including attorney John Wickham (father of fourteen!) and James H. Royster, who reportedly ended his daughter's relationship with a young man named Poe.
July 3: "PATRIOTS' DREAM: Veterans of the Revolution"
More than 20 Revolutionary veterans rest at Shockoe Hill, who at the time of their deaths were among the last of the patriot generation. Jeffry Burden of the FoSHC highlights their service, and recent efforts at the Cemetery to commemorate their sacrifices.
September 11: "RIVER CITY SOLDIERS: Richmond's Own Light Infantry Blues"
The L. I. Blues was an honored local militia unit with service that extended over many years and many wars. Join Eric Motley for a glimpse of how they served, and of the men at Shockoe Hill who gave good service in the Blues.
September 25: "MEDICAL MARVELS: Physicians of Shockoe Hill Cemetery"
Professor Ryan Smith, author of "Death and Rebirth in a Southern City: Richmond's Historic Cemeteries", joins us for an in-depth look at the physicians here and their medical and social roles in the growing Richmond of the 1800s.
The Cemetery is a mecca for Poe aficionados. Professor Sharon Pajka (author of 2021's "Women Writers Buried in Virginia") shares her special insight into Poe's life and his connections here, with a delightful tour near the anniversary of Poe's death.
We'll see you at the Cemetery!


Join us in 2021 for special themed Sunday tours highlighting the fascinating people and stories found here. Each tour starts at 2:00, and parking is inside the Cemetery.

September 12: Shockoe Hill Cemetery: By The Numbers

Our visitor's guide, available near the Hospital Street entrance, provides a numbered list of some of the most prominent persons here. Clayton Shepherd will highlight a range of those "numbered persons" and how their lives intertwined in Virginia's past.

September 26: The Creative Legacy: Painters, Writers, Actors and Athletes of Shockoe Hill

The arts were well-represented in the lives of many of the persons buried here. Jeffry Burden reveals the creative genius of various Virginians who inspired and entertained us, in this first-ever presentation.

October 3: Raven Walk: Edgar Allan Poe and Shockoe Hill Cemetery

Poe spent more of his life in Richmond than anywhere else, and considered it his hometown. Noted author and speaker Sharon Pajka of River City Cemetarians masterfully ties together the web of connections Poe had here, as illustrated in the stories -- and graves -- of those he knew best. Her talk follows the Friends special event acknowledging all newly-placed markers in the Cemetery -- see below for details.

October 17: Scandalous Shockoe: Stories of Murder and Mayhem

Not all of those buried here left uplifting legacies. Join us for a look at the "seamy side" of Richmond's past, with tales of our resident wrong-doers and their victims, led by Board Member Jeffry Burden.

October 31: Shadows at Shockoe Hill: Civil War Tales

VCU Professor Ryan K. Smith, whose 2020 book "Death & Rebirth in a Southern City: Richmond's Historic Cemeteries" includes compelling details of Shockoe Hill's past and present, guides visitors through tales of woe and remembrance connected to some of the hundreds of soldiers buried here...just in time for Halloween!

November 14: Tragedy at the Play: Luminaries of the 1811 Richmond Theater Fire

No one in Richmond was unaffected by this disaster, which killed seventy-two persons in a town of fewer that 4,000. Board member Barbara Lagasse tells the story of this event, and of those buried here who were saved, were orphaned, or performed heroic deeds of rescue.


October 3 2021: New Marker Commemoration

12:00 p.m

After a pandemic hiatus, our normally-annual event to acknowledge all newly-placed grave markers is returning.

Join the Friends, and descendants of those whose resting places now are acknowledged, as we honor the lives and legacies of more than seventy-five persons newly-remembered. More than fifty of them were soldiers or sailors of the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, and the Civil War.

The event will include remarks from John Tucker of the Nora Houston Foundation, which placed a marker in 2019 for that noted Richmond artist and social reformer; and Dr. E. Gaynell Sherrod of Virginia Commonwealth University, regarding markers placed in 2019 for the only three persons of color known to be interred here.

After the event, please stay for the tour, Raven Walk: Edgar Allan Poe and Shockoe Hill Cemetery, led by historian Sharon Pajka.




Wreaths Across Shockoe Hill - Saturday, December 21, 2019 10AM to 1PM
Bring a wreath of your choosing and honor a soldier.  Our goal is 300 wreaths.

Marshall University Fife & Drum Corps Annual Day of Service - Friday, May 17, 2019 from 9 AM to 12 PM
Join the Marshall University Fife & Drum Corps for its annual day of service at Shockoe Hill Cemetery, and stay for a concert afterwards!

Flags Across Shockoe Hill - Saturday, May 11, 2019 from 10AM to 1PM
Join us as we place flags on the graves of veterans in preparation for Memorial Day.

Shocking Secrets of Shockoe Hill - Sunday, May 5, 2019 at 2PM
Join Board member Jeffry Burden as he leads us on our first tour of the 2019 season, focusing on the stories of betrayal, murder and mayhem that may be found within these walls.

Spring Cleanup Day/ Earth Day of Service - Saturday, April 27, 2019, 9AM - 3PM
Come out and help the Friends of Shockoe Hill Cemetery prepare the cemetery for the annual marker dedication. We are a partner of the Enrichmond Foundation, and this clean-up is a part of the foundation's Earth Day of Service initiative.  Please wear clothing appropriate for outdoor work, and bring gloves, sunscreen and a hat. No open toe shoes, please.

3rd Annual Headstone Dedication - Sunday, April 28, 2019, 2PM - 4PM
Join the Friends of Shockoe Hill Cemetery in dedicating all the monuments installed within the last year.

Peter Francisco Day Celebration - Saturday, March 16, 2019, 2PM - 4PM.
Join the Friends of Shockoe Hill Cemetery for a tour focusing on Peter, his friends, family, and associates interred at Shockoe Hill Cemetery.

John Marshall Day - Sunday, February 3, 2019, 2PM - 4PM
Join us as we celebrate the 218th anniversary of John Marshall being installed as Chief Justice of the United States.

Wreath Retrieval - Sunday, January 20, 2019, 12:30PM - 2PM
Help us gather the holiday wreaths placed in December.

Holiday History at Shockoe Hill Cemetery - Saturday, December 15, 2018 from 2PM to 3PM
Join Sharon Pajka of the River City Cemetarians for this special holiday tour. Suggested donation is a wreath of your choosing to be placed on a grave.

Wreaths Across Shockoe Hill Cemetery - Saturday, December 15, 2018 from 12:30 to 2PM
Bring a wreath of your choosing and honor a soldier.  Our goal is 300 wreaths.  While there, stay for the tour beginning at 2PM.