November 11th commemorates the end of World War I and is a date on which we honor all U.S. veterans who have served and are serving in our country’s military. A walk through Trinity and St. Paul’s churchyards would remind you that many of our country’s earliest veterans are interred right in our parish’s lower Manhattan burial grounds.
Perhaps the largest monument in either churchyard is the Soldiers’ Monument which stands in the Northeast corner of Trinity churchyard and memorializes the many soldiers who died while imprisoned on prison ships docked around the city throughout the revolutionary war.
In the South Churchyard of Trinity Church is a monument marking the grave of Captain James Lawrence, a U.S. Navy Captain of the frigate Chesapeake and whose famous dying words are now part of Navy lore: “Don’t Give Up the Ship”.
Not far from Cpt. Lawrence’s grave is the final resting place of Alexander Hamilton, who not only was first Secretary of the Treasury and a Founding Father of our nation, but was also a captain of a provincial artillery company during the Revolutionary War. Interred next to him is his wife Eliza Schuyler Hamilton, daughter of Philip Schuyler, who served as Major General of the Continental Army.
A few blocks north in the churchyard of St. Paul’s Chapel you will also find the graves and monuments of two famous foreign born veterans in General Richard Montgomery and Stephen Rochefontaine.
Montgomery died in the attack on Quebec on December 31, 1775 and was one of the earliest war heroes of the American Revolution. The monument to him that faces Broadway on the east porch of St. Paul’s Chapel was commissioned by Congress on January 25, 1776 – making it the first monument commissioned by our newly formed government, our first National Monument.
On the west end of St. Paul’s churchyard is buried Rochefontaine, a French-born military engineer and soldier who commanded one of the first Corps of Artillerists and Engineers in the U.S. Military in 1794.
These veterans, and many others, including revolutionary soldiers Captain William Henry Talbot, Captain Cornelius Swarthwout, can be found throughout Trinity and St. Paul’s Churchyard. We thank them for their service!