Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Paying My Respects

Kurt Wille (left) and Allen (right)
pay their respects to General Smith

On October 30, 2015, my wife and I paid our respects to Major General Charles F. Smith at his grave in the Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia, PA.   We were joined by Smith's distant cousin, Kurt Wille, and his friend Jeff Albright. Kurt has been assisting my research on General Smith for over five years and has been an enthusiastic supporter of the general’s biography.

Allen at grave site
The General, his wife, Fanny M. Smith, and Smith's mother, Margaret F. Smith, are buried at the Laurel Hill site. The 55-year old general was interred on May 5, 1862. Fanny was 47 when she died and was buried on May 28, 1866. The last grave belongs to Smith's mother, Margaret, who died at 75. It appears that her remains were moved from another site and re interred on December 6, 1901.

Laurel Hill was founded in 1836 by John Jay Smith "Laurel Hill was not only established as a permanent, non-sectarian burial place for the dead, but also as a scenic, riverside sanctuary for the living." Laurel Hill is comprised of about 78 acres that is divided into three sections—the North, Central and South. . Laurel Hill is one of the few cemeteries in the nation to be honored with the designation of National Historic Landmark. Many prominent people are buried at the cemetery, including many of Philadelphia’s leading industrial magnates. General George Meade and over thirty other Civil War-era generals and six Titanic passengers are buried here. The Civil War generals include about twenty who received brevet promotions as part of the omnibus promotions issued after the Civil War. Many of these promotions were post dated to March 13, 1865. The cemetery also includes the grave of John C. Pemberton who was a Pennsylvania native who joined the Confederate Army. 

About 125 Union officers and soldiers who died during the war are buried at Laurel Hill. Of this total 53 died from disease, 39 were killed in action, and 25 died from wounds.  Seventy-four of those men were officers and fifty-one were soldiers.

Old Pine Street Church
Reverend John Blair Smith's Grave
at Old Pine Street Church

Smith's father, Dr. Samuel B. Smith, is buried in the Old Pine Street Presbyterian Church Cemetery in Philadelphia near the grave of his father Reverend John Blair Smith. The Pine Street Church was founded in 1768 as the Third Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia.One of Old Pine's first pastors, George Duffield served as chaplain to the First Continental Congress in 1774 and, with many of his parishioners, joined Washington at Valley Forge in the winter of 1776-77. Old Pine became known as the "Church of the Patriots" because of George Duffield's activities and those of parishioners such as John Adams and other members who supported the Revolution. It is the only Presbyterian structure in Philadelphia dating back to colonial and revolutionary times. Over the years, two congregations merged into Old Pine and today, the official name of the church is The Third, Scots and Mariners Presbyterian Church.


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