Events Calendar

The Story of Philadelphia National Cemetery

Join us for a presentation in our Making History Greater Series when Edward McLaughlin presents Philadelphia National Cemetery.

Cemetery Talk 107 WEBPhiladelphia National Cemetery was one of 14 national cemeteries established in 1862 and was intended to be used to inter the remains of the soldiers who died in one of the many hospitals in the Philadelphia area. Over 11,500 veterans and family members are buried at the cemetery. Philadelphia National Cemetery was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1997.

Few people realize that over 1,000 black Civil War soldiers and sailors are buried in a segregated section of the cemetery, several hundred of which died in area hospitals while serving at Camp William Penn, Cheltenham Township about a mile from the cemetery. For the most part, the soldiers were commonly called USCT (United States Colored Troops). Philadelphia National Cemetery has the highest number of black Civil War soldiers and sailors buried in one section of a cemetery per number of total interments than any place in the country. Hundreds of these men were soldiers who died at Camp William Penn, La Mott, Cheltenham, Montgomery County less than a mile from the Cemetery. Camp William Penn trained and sent off to war 11 regiments of USCT.

A 74-year-old Army veteran from Flourtown and retired satellite designer for Lockheed Martin, Edward McLaughlin has been working diligently to research the lives of those buried in the cemetery. he and a corps of supporters have been fighting ever since to set it right. A genealogy buff who frequently visited Philadelphia National Cemetery, McLaughlin has been working for the past few years to see that the cemetery and its history receive greater recognition.

The Making History Greater series features scholars, authors, and historians who are currently working on telling new stories about the complexity of our region’s history. Philadelphia National Cemetery will take place on Thursday, May 16, 2019. The evening will begin at 6:30 with a social gathering and light refreshments. The presentation will begin at 7:00 pm and last for about an hour with time for questions at the end. This program is free and open to the public.