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Christ Church Burial Grounds

Located on the corner of North 5th Street and Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106

 

Among the thousands buried in this cemetery are several signers of the Declaration of Independence, including Benjamin Franklin. The epitaph that Franklin wrote for himself says:

The body of
B. Franklin, Printer
(Like the Cover of an Old Book
Its Contents torn Out
And Stript of its Lettering and Gilding)
Lies Here, Food for Worms.
But the Work shall not be Lost;
For it will (as he Believ'd) Appear once More
In a New and More Elegant Edition
Revised and Corrected
By the Author.

Franklin, the printer, compares the resurrection body with a reprinted book. Thus, his epitaph reflects his publishing career as well as his belief in 1 Corinthians 15:20, “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” (NIV).

The other signers of the Declaration buried here are Joseph Hewes, George Ross, Dr. Benjamin Rush and Francis Hopkinson. Francis Hopkinson was not only a signer of the Declaration, but also the organist at Christ Church and a student of heraldry. There is good evidence that he is the one who first proposed the stars and stripes for the American flag. He also helped design symbols used on early currency.

Dr. Benjamin Rush was a signer and a notable leader in medicine, mental health and the anti-slavery movement. As a leader of one of America’s earliest Bible societies, he strongly advocated the use of the Bible in public education.