After years of discussion, and recognizing that the public burial ground on and near the grounds of St. John's Church was nearing full capacity, the City of Richmond in 1820 set aside four acres north of the City center as a public burial space for white citizens. Known then as the "New Burying Ground", the first burial occurred in April 1822. Along with the nearby Hebrew Cemetery, and Richmond's "Second African Burial Ground", both established in 1816, the "New Burying Ground" was a portion of a cemetery district on what was then Richmond's northern boundary.
Shockoe Hill Cemetery eventually expanded to 12.7 acres. It is the final resting place of many known throughout the Commonwealth and the nation, including Chief Justice John Marshall, Governor William Cabell, Revolutionary War heroes Peter Francisco and James Gibbon, and Union spymaster Elizabeth Van Lew, to name but a few.
Intermingled with them are the elite, the working class, the immigrants, and the poor, who together helped comprise the Richmond of its time. Our common history comes alive as you see the names, countries of origin, and public and military service records of those buried here.
For fans of Edgar Allan Poe, you will walk in his footsteps to visit the graves of John and Frances Allan, Jane Stanard, his beloved Sarah Elmira Royster Shelton, and other who knew him well.
At least 1,300 military veterans are buried here, including several hundred who died of wounds or disease in and around Richmond during the Civil War. Also, more than 400 veterans of the War of 1812 can she found at Shockoe Hill -- perhaps more than any cemetery in the country. For interesting and timely items related to the soldiers and sailors interred here, visit Shockoe Hill Soldiers: Their Stories and Service on Facebook.
You can discover more of the approximately 22,000 "residents" of Shockoe Hill Cemetery at FindaGrave.
Note that many graves do not have markers. Many never were marked, while other markers have been lost or destroyed over time. Some markers have receded into the ground -- in fact, one of our primary projects is finding and raising such markers.
To assist you in locating grave locations we have included a plat map. This link will present a small map image. By clicking on the small image you can then expand the image on your smart device or scroll left/right/up/down on your PC.
Also, Richmond Cemeteries is an excellent source of information on this and other historic cemeteries in the area.