We hope that you will find this summary helpful and informative, and that during your next visit to the church you will find the time to reverently walk through the cemetery between the hours of sunrise and sunset, when it is open to the public.
- Notable Markers
- Burial Right Purchase
- Memorial Garden
- Stones, Flowers, etc.
- Current State
The foresight of the Vestry of the late nineteenth century has been a blessing to the parishioners of Pohick Church. Prior to 1886, burials were conducted in the church yard in places now unknown. The stones seen in the church courtyard have been moved there from other locations.
In 1886, the cemetery was formally organized through Vestry action. The land to the immediate west of the church was surveyed and benchmarks were installed with great accuracy, as surveying was already a mature engineering practice. The plan divided the land into sixteen foot by sixteen foot plots with four foot aisles of separation, and these large family plots were marked by stone markers. Although many of these stone markers are visible today, many more are buried beneath the turf.
In 1920, additional cemetery lands were surveyed and laid out. No additions have been made to the cemetery grounds since that time. However, a Memorial Garden has been placed near the belfry. The Memorial Garden accepts cremated remains only.
The Reverend Lee Massey (†1814), second rector over Pohick Church, buried under the pulpit; originally buried at Bradley estate near the now-defunct town of Colchester.
Memorial Honoring six local soldiers killed while serving in World War I. Dedicated by President Warren Harding on May 29, 1921. Located on the wall near the SW door.
East of the Church Building
Daniel French (†1771), initial contractor of the present church building; originally buried at Rose Hill.
Will Harris (†1698), oldest grave in Fairfax County, moved from his family graveyard at Neabasco in Woodbridge.
Long Tom, according to legend, this Indian Chief was shot and killed by Susanna Alexander either in self-defense or to save the life of her husband, John.
Daniel (†1801) and Sarah (†1823) McCarty, Jr., originally buried at Cedar Grove.
Fitzhugh Family monuments — Over a period of a century, this family established the largest landholding in Fairfax County. A fire of "suspicious origin" destroyed their plantation, Ravensworth, in 1926. These monuments were moved to Pohick Church in 1957.
Next to the Vestry House
Elizabeth Massey (†1805) — wife of the The Rev. Lee Massey; originally buried at Bradley estate.
Peter Wagener (†1798) — Truro Parish vestryman and officer in the Revolutionary War; originally buried at Stisted plantation, near the now defunct town of Colchester, with other Wagener family and household members.
Hugh West (†1754) — Truro Parish vestryman and founder of Alexandria; originally buried at Cameron with other West family and household members.
Near the Parish House
Monument remembering the unknown dead of Pohick Church, who were buried in the church courtyard prior to the Civil War. The inscription reads, "To the Unknown Dead of Pohick Church, this Tribute of Respect is paid to the many parishioners buried in this hallowed churchyard, the records are lost and the graves cannot be identified 1925"
Section of the Cemetery Near Richmond Highway
Harrison Dodge (†1937) — Vestryman of Pohick Church and longtime Superindentent of Mt. Vernon (1885 - 1937).
William Brown (†1792) — Surgeon General of the Continental Army and personal physician to George Washington.
Alexander Family — The remains of members of the Alexander family, for which the city of Alexandria is named, were moved to the Pohick cemetery in 1922 from Preston Plantation. Among the family members whose remains were re-interred at Pohick Cemetery are:
John Alexander — grandson of Capt. John Alexander, who originally seated Preston before 1677; buried with his wife Susanna.
Gen. Alexander Hunter (†1849) — Veteran of the War of 1812.
The General Laws and Regulations for the cemetery state clearly that the cemetery is not a public place of interment. At the present time, the vestry has limited the sale of all plots to parishioners, except for those non-parishioners who already have relatives buried in the cemetery. In addition, burial in the Memorial Garden (covered in a separate section) is unrestricted.
The basic unit of purchase in the cemetery is the four foot by eight foot plot, although years ago sixteen by sixteen foot family plots were often purchased. When one purchases a plot in the cemetery the value that is actually transferred is a right of burial. The land itself does not convey. The purchase price also includes a one-time fee for perpetual care. The current purchase price for parishioners is $4500, and the price for non-parishioners is $9000. Normally, payment in full is expected at the time of purchase, although a plan for purchase by installment may be made at the discretion of the vestry. In any case, however, all fees must be paid before an interment may be carried out.
Deed holders may resell their burial rights only back to the vestry, and only at the original price paid. Burial rights may be transferred by gift only to blood relatives, such transfers being subject to approval by the vestry. Since the composition of families changes over the course of years, it is natural that earlier intentions about the use of plots may give way to new intentions. Deed holders are encouraged to contact the Cemetery Warden and the Finance Administrator about such matters as they become known. Prior planning will smooth the path in the event that an interment is required suddenly.
Fees for burials are normally, but not always, included in the fees collected by the funeral home with which the family is engaged. This is a convenience to the family.
Please note that these fees are associated only with the cemetery and not with the churches or ministers (including Pohick Church clergy) conducting the service. Upon the death of a loved one, family members are strongly encouraged to promptly contact those members of the clergy who have had the most recent pastoral relationship with the deceased so that arrangements can be made for services to be conducted by that minister in his or her home church, at a funeral home chapel, and/or at the graveside. Accordingly, burials in the Historic Church are reserved for those who, at the time of death, were active members of the congregation. Such services are normally presided over by the clergy of Pohick Church with the support of church staff and volunteers.
Cemetery fees are on a sliding scale that considers a number of factors. First of all, time of day and day of week affect the rate. Burials after 3:00 p.m. or on Saturdays have a higher fee associated with them. A Saturday burial after 3:00 p.m. could be as much as $450 higher in cost than a similar interment on a weekday before 3:00 p.m.
A second factor affecting the burial price is whether the burial will be the only burial carried out in the plot, or if two burials will eventually take place. It is a common and proper practice to conduct two burials in the same plot, one above the other. But since the lower burial is at a greater depth, the fee for that first burial is accordingly higher. A single burial on a weekday during normal hours currently carries a fee of $1050. The same burial conducted as the first of two will bear a fee of $1250. The second burial in such a plot has the same fee as a single burial. In general, such double burials may be conducted in any plot, as long as the slope across the site does not inhibit the work of the gravedigger. Consult the Cemetery Warden on this matter when considering the purchase of plots on sloping ground.
Lastly, the size of the casket and vault/liner to be interred will affect the burial fee. Burial of infants carries a fee less than half of that for adults. In turn, the burial of persons of exceptional size carries a somewhat higher fee.
For all burials, the casket must be placed in either a concrete liner or burial vault. In both cases the purpose is the same. Since all caskets are eventually subject to structural failure, a vault or liner will support the casket and prevent the sinking of the ground above. Both liners and vaults are purchased through one’s funeral director. A concrete liner typically costs several hundred dollars. In contrast, burial vaults can easily cost thousands of dollars, particularly when ornately decorated and lined with solid bronze.
The liner meets all requirements of the cemetery. Use of a liner or vault may be waived at the discretion of the Cemetery Warden for the burial of infants and children under the age of two.
In lieu of burial in full caskets, one may choose to bury cremated remains in one’s own deeded plot. The fees for such burials are in the range of several hundred dollars. One advantage to burying cremated remains in one’s own plot is that the family may select and use a container of their choice for the interment.
Interments of all types require at least 48 hours notice. Burials may not be conducted on Sundays or on Christmas Day.
The acceptance of cremation for Christian burial has never been higher. In response, Pohick Church has reserved a portion of its grounds as a perpetual Memorial Garden. The Garden is laid out in ten sections, each approximately ten feet by ten feet. Within each section, the first of which is currently in use, one hundred square sites are scribed.
The Garden is perpetual in that when the day comes that all spaces have been filled, interments will begin again at the first location. That day will not come for some hundreds of years. Those resting in the Garden are thus not to be thought of as interred at an exact location but rather “in the Garden.” Interments may only be conducted in special fiber cylinders furnished by the Church. These cylinders will decompose naturally over the course of time.
Burials were originally conducted in the first, or “Dogwood” section at a depth of about three feet. That level is now filled, and so interments are presently being done at a depth of two feet. When those are filled, they will be done at a depth of one foot. Only then will a new section be opened. There is therefore sufficient space to accommodate the burial of some three thousand sets of remains before returning to the Dogwood section.
The fee for interment in the Memorial Garden is currently $450 for parishioners. Non-parishioners incur a slightly higher fee. The fee includes perpetual care and the installation of a commemorative name plate on the large marker at the head of the section.
Although the style and size of stones and other markers placed on individual grave sites is largely a matter left to the discretion of the family, cemetery General Laws and Regulations have some specific and general requirements. It goes without saying that a marker must be placed entirely on one’s own deeded plot or plots.
Markers must be made of natural stone and shall not be of “bizarre or unconventional design.” If in doubt, contact the Cemetery Warden before purchasing any stone or monument that differs from the traditional themes or sizes normally found in the cemetery. When considering size, it should be kept in mind that if a future interment requires that a stone or marker be temporarily moved, an appropriate fee proportional to the size of the marker to be moved may be assessed. Mausoleums are prohibited.
No fences or permanent plantings may be placed. The use of artificial flowers is regulated. Deed holders should consult their copy of the General Laws and Regulations for a complete listing of such rules.
A very limited number of single and double plots remains available in the cemetery. In addition, some half-plots suitable for the burial of cremated remains can be found on the cemetery’s perimeter. Of the few plots that remain, those in the upper section of the cemetery have been reserved by the vestry for parishioners and deceased rectors and their families. Many have some degree of slope. Plots in the lower section are currently available to the general public, but numbers are, once again, limited.
While this webpage is sure to answer many questions, it is likely also to generate others. Please do not hesitate to contact your Cemetery Warden, Rusty Booth, with any questions you may have. He may be reached at the church office - (703) 339-6572.