St. John's Episcopal Church - York, PA
N 39° 57.843 W 076° 43.855
18S E 352168 N 4425201
Quick Description: Fantastically old and historical church with graves everywhere you look. There is a neat bell and belfry which have its own history and many references to the Revolutionary War may be found here.
Location: Pennsylvania, United States
Date Posted: 7/26/2010 9:53:51 PM
Waymark Code: WM9BG9
St. John's Episcopal Church, NW. corner Beaver St. and Gas Alley, was built in 1766 as the church of St. John the Baptist in the Wilderness. The structure, topped with a tower and belfry bearing the date of 1769, is of brick, painted gray, and has an entrance portico. In the cupola is the bell that once hung in the old courthouse on the square. Commonly known as York's 'Liberty Bell', it announced the news of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Within the church are many Revolutionary relics, and the cemetery hold the Grave of Thomas Hartley, a colonel in the Continental Army and later a member of Congress from York. The grave of Major John Clark, chief of staff for General Greene after 1778, is also here. The building has been enlarged from time to time. --- Pennsylvania: A Guide to the Keystone State, 1940; page 351
This church is very similar to the Philadelphia churches. LIke those, this church is built on a small street filled with home. Revolutionary War patriots and veterans are buried here. It really is a religious oasis. The church site offers a PDF document about their history.
Architecturally speaking, this is a typical 18th century church, complete with bell tower, cemetery, built of brick and hidden away on a street , obscured by homes and businesses, It is like the town grew around them and just left them alone. The date stone is actually a date shield made of stone is very unique. It reads:St John's
1850 - 1862
The church building has been enlarged on four occasions. In 1810, the gallery was built. Further enlargements were made in 1850, 1862 and 1882. It was in 1882 that the side walls were removed and placed on a line almost parallel with the transepts. Pillars were introduced to support the roof. The tower was incorporated into the building, also a new Narthex and porch were added.
For a history lesson on the church go HERE
From the above site:
The churchyard is said to be the oldest burying place in York. Many graves antedating 1800 are there, including some Hessian prisoners-of-war. This graveyard was the scene of a dramatic episode associated with the "Conway Cabal" - the plan to oust Washington and replace him with General Gates. A duel was planned to be fought in the graveyard between General Horatio Gates and Colonel Wilkinson, a member of his staff. This was called off at the last moment when Gates apologized to Wilkinson although all but Gates himself were on hand among the graves and the pistols were ready for use.