Historic St. Luke’s Cemetery
Old St. Luke’s Cemetery includes the area around the church and a small area across the pond. The oldest legible gravestone on the grounds dates to 1767, although Joseph Bridger’s 1686 ledger stone was moved from White Marsh Farm to the church interior in 1894. There are many unmarked graves in the cemetery. Archaeologists believe that only ten percent of the markers still exist.
British Lt. Colonel Banastre Tarleton camped here during the Revolutionary War on his way to raid Smithfield. The large red oak tree he camped under was named after him. Felled by a lightning strike in 1875, that tree produced many oaks still on the grounds today.
Along with several veterans of the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812, there are twenty-six soldiers of the Confederacy buried in the old cemetery. Confederate troops called the grounds Camp Ruffin in 1861 and camped here while forming military companies and regiments. Only one Civil War soldier is said to have died here. Burials in the old cemetery are rare now, but St. Luke’s Memorial Park is regularly used.
Robert J. Little, Cemetery Business Manager
Historic St. Luke’s Genealogy
The long history of Historic St. Luke’s Church makes the cemetery of prime interest to genealogists.
Download our Old St. Luke’s Cemetery Map.
Search for a grave by name on the Old St. Luke’s Cemetery page at Find a Grave.
Garden Club of Virginia Restoration Project
The cemetery is populated by many varieties of trees and shrubbery such as black walnut, red oak, tulip poplar, spruce, pine, cedar, dogwood, holly and boxwood.
The Garden Club of Virginia designated Historic St. Luke’s as a historic Restoration Project and has provided screening plants of native Virginia species against encroaching development.
Some of the species here are yaupon hollies, hornbeams, river birches, sweetbay magnolias, live and willow oaks, poet’s laurel, and Franklinia tree.