Graveyard by Bryn Mawr’s Campus Offers Insight into Local History


The Harriton Cemetery (Harrison Family) is located off Caversham Road on private property in Bryn Mawr. (Image via the Lower Merion Historical Society)

A graveyard, established around 1719 by Richard Harrison near Bryn Mawr’s campus, offers passersby an insight into local history, writes Rachel Hertzberg for The Bi-College News.

The cemetery was established by Harrison, the Harriton tobacco plantation owner, as a family burial ground. It was then was passed down to his son-in-law, Charles Thomson.  Thomson was a lesser-known founding father who designed the United States seal and served as the secretary of the Continental Congress.

At least ten of the graves date back to the Harrison/Thomson period, all of them unmarked as dictated by the Quaker practice of equality and humility.

In the 19th century, the remains of Thomson and his wife Hannah were exhumed and moved to the Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia. However, since the graves were unmarked and it was years after their burial, it is possible that those bones may not have been the Thomson’s.

Today, nearly three decades after being designated a cemetery, the graveyard offers a testament to local history, and provides passersby with a unique place for meditation and a chance to appreciate nature.

Read more about the historic location at The Bi-College News by clicking here.

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