Some Facts About The Burial Ground
The Buckingham Friends burial ground has been in continuous use since about 1705, several years before the first Meetinghouse was built. Stone walls were constructed around all but the north side in 1752, and in 1805 the graveyard was extended toward the north. When the Meetinghouse was requisitioned as an army hospital during the Revolutionary War, soldiers were buried either in the graveyard or nearby, and an area in the graveyard was set aside for the burial of African Americans in the early 19th century. There are also several Native American graves in the burial grounds.
The earliest gravestones are dated in the 1790s, for Quakers did not use grave markers at first. In fact, Buckingham Meeting noted in 1706 that “it is altogether wrong and of evil tendency for to have any grave stones or any other sort of monument over or about the graves.” Today there are about 2500 gravestones, although some have sunk in the ground, some have tilted from frost heaves, and some have fallen over completely and need to be reset.
Burial Rights Ownership
Burial rights to an individual or family plot may be purchased by or for members of Buckingham Friends Meeting, who may then specify who may be buried in the plots. Two full burials (or more than two cremations) are permitted in an individual plot. A family plot contains four or six individual plots. Gravestone markers, as well as the opening and closing of the grave, are arranged and paid for by burial rights owners or their representatives. Burial rights may not be re-sold without the approval of Buckingham Friends Meeting.
If you would like help locating gravestones, feel free to contact Peter Ray, Caretaker of Buckingham Friends Meeting, at 215-794-2708 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Complete records of Buckingham Friends burials may be found in the Friends Historical Library at Swarthmore College.
Find-a-Grave.com has photos of more than 800 Buckingham Friends gravestones on its site at http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=cr&CRid=2147910.