Grace  Church Cemetery

Yorktown, VA

Grace Episcopal Church

A walk through the churchyard surrounding Grace Episcopal is a walk through time.  Resting in the shadow of the historic marl wall are men who shaped the future of our colony, commonwealth and country.  Gov. Thomas Nelson, Signer of the Declaration of Independence, lies at the foot of his father, who also lies at the foot of his father.  The generational walk through time continues as one approaches next the Nicolas Martiau family group.  Martiau was granted the original patent for the land that became Yorktown.  He is also the earliest American ancestor of both President George Washington and Gov. Thomas Nelson.  If one reverently listens, while treading these ancient grounds, it is possible to hear the ages whisper. "It is the duty of each generation to preserve the past for the future we don't yet know."  May our generation honor that pledge as have those that came before.   

"The sturdy marl walls of this church have been standing since 1697 despite the ravages of war during the two sieges of Yorktown (1781 and 1862) and despite the "great fire" of 1814.  It continues, as it has for generations, to serve York - Hampton Parish in the Protestant Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia."


Colonial Grace Church
York - Hampton Parish
A National Shrine At
The Cradle Of The Republic
Erected 1697 Burned 1814 Partially Rebuilt 1825 Rebuilt 1926
These Are The Original Walls, Built of Marl.
The Bell Was Cast In London in 1725
Broken During Fire of 1814.
Recast In Philadelphia 1882.
The Original Hammered Communion Silver,
Made In London 1649, Is Still In Use.
First Confirmation Service In Virginia
Was Held In This Church In 1791.
General Thomas Nelson, Jr.,
Signer Of The Declaration of Independence,
Lies Buried In The Churchyard

George Read

Oct. 25, 1608 - 1671

Here lyeth intered Coll George Read Esqr who was born ye 25th day October in ye yeare of our Lord 1608 and deceased October 1674 he being in the 66th yr of his age.



George Read, the son of Robert Read of London and his wife Mildred Windebank, was one of the about one hundred colonists, who emigrated to the colonies from England and Wales before the end of the 17th century, known to have legitimate descent from a Plantagenet King of England.  He was a member of the Colonial Council, Secretary of the Colony, and served as an Acting Governor."

Adventurers of Purse and Person 1607 - 1624/5 and Their Families" published by the Order of First Families of Virginia, indicates in a footnote (pp. 419-420) the discrepancy between the dates inscribed on the Grace  Church tablets (shown above) and the filing of the wills for George Read and his wife Elizabeth as follows:  "His and his wife's gravestones were discovered during street excavations in Yorktown in 1931.  The inscriptions on both were recut with errors.  George Reade's stone now states he died Oct. 1674, "he being in the 66th yr of his age."  Since the date should be 1671 (per his will), either the age shown, or his year of birth, is in error as well....The gravestone of Elizabeth (Martiau) Read now states she was born in 1625 and died in 1696, "being in ye 71st yeare of her age."  Since the year of death should be 1686 (per her will), again the age or year of birth is in error.  Since Nicholas Martiau claimed...his daughter Elizabeth as would appear Elizabeth was born prior to his arrival in Virginia in 1620...and that Elizabeth's birth occurred in 1615 rather than 1625."

Elizabeth Martiau Read

1615 - 1686

Here lyeth intered Elizabeth Martiau, deceased wife of George Read Esqr who was born ye in ye yeare of our Lord 1625 And deceased 1696 she being in ye 71st yeare of her Age.

Elizabeth Martiau was a daughter of Nicholas Martiau, who arrived in Virginia in June 1620.  He is known as the "Father of Yorktown".

Nicolas Martiau

1591 - 1657

"Father of Yorktown"

Captain of Militia, Yorke Shire Justice, Burgess, Military Engineer, Planter and Wine Maker

Nicolas Martiau and 16 of his family members were reinterred from the family burial site on Buckner Street to this site in 1936.  This marker is dedicated to Nicolas Martiau, 1591 - 1657, upon whose land the Town of Yorke was founded in 1691.  He was the earliest American ancestor of General George Washington and Governor Thomas Nelson.  Dedicated May 22, 1993

Nicolas Martiau Descendant Association




The Reade tablets sit in a straight line with the graves of Thomas Nelson, Jr. (signer of the Declaration of Independence), his father & grandfather.  Gov. Nelson's tombstone is pictured with the flag to the right.  Directly behind his tombstone are the graves of William Nelson, Thomas Nelson, then the Reade tablets.  The picture to the left is the opposite view.  Below left is a side view.  Bottom right is a closer view of the tablets and the Nicholas Martiau marker.




"Scotch" Tom Nelson

Hic jacet
Spe certa resurgendi in Christo
Thomas Nelson,Generosus
Filis Hugonis et Sariae Nelson
de Perith in Comitatu Cumbriae
Natus 20th.die Februarii Anno Domini 1677 Vitae bene geste finem implevit
7th.die Octobris 1745-AEtatis suae 68

Here lieth
in the certain hope
of being raised up in Christ
Thomas Nelson, Gentleman
Son of Hugh and Sarah Nelson
of the County of Cumberland.
Born on 20th day of February
in the year of our Lord 1677
He completed a well spent life
on the 7th of October 1745
Aged 68.

William Nelson

He died the 19th of November Anno Domini 1772.  Aged 61.

Here lies the body of the Honourable William Nelson Esquire.  Late Resident of His Majesty's Council in this Dominion in whom the Love of Man and the Love of God so restrained and enforced each other and so invicurated the mental power in general as not only to defend him from the vices and follies of his country but also to render it a matter of difficult decision in what part of laudable conduct most excelled whether in the tender and endearing accomplishments of domestic life.  As a neighbor, a gentleman or a magistrate.  Whether in the graces of hospitality or in the possession of piety, reader if you feel the spirit of that excellent ardour which aspires to the felicity of conscious virtue animated by those considerations and divine admonitions perform the task and expect the distinction of the righteous man.


Gen. Thomas Nelson Jr.

Patriot - Soldier - Christian -Gentleman

Born December 16, 1738

Died January 2, 1789

Mover of the Resolution of May 15 1776

in the Virginia Convention

Instructing her Delegates in Congress

To Move that body to Declare the Colonies

Free and Independent States.

Signer of Declaration of Independence

War Governor of Virginia

Commander of Virginia Forces

He Gave All For Liberty


The Page-Nelson Society of Virginia



William Nelson

January 17, 1801

March 24, 1849

Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord.



Catharine M. Nelson

Beloved Wife of William Nelson

Died 4th November 1840

Aged 39 Years

Whose life was an evidence of Whatsoever Things are Pure, Whatsoever Things are Lovely, Whatsoever Things are of Good Report.

Catherine Maria Moss was the 1st wife of William Nelson III.  She married (1) (John?) Fox.



Elizabeth Page Nelson

Daughter of

William & Catherine Nelson

Died August 10, 1918



At Rest

Fanny Burwell Nelson

Wife of Corbin Waller Mercer

July 16, 1848

January 12, 1932




At Rest

Corbin Waller Mercer

Born April 2, 1845

Died November 20, 1910


In Memory of


Daughter of

Wm & Catharine Nelson

Born August 11, 1835

Died July 30, 1896

At Rest



Mary B. Nelson

April 30, 1839

January 7, 1911

Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord.



In Memory of

Charles J.

Son of

John & Catharine Fox

Born August 21, 1824

Died March 19, 1887




William Nelson

Born April 25, 1845

Died September 10, 1877

Citizen    Soldier

Lawyer    Engineer

Blessed are the Dead Which Die in the Lord




Frederick Cosby Newman

1834 - 1882

Ada Fonerden Newman, his Wife

1837 - 1918




Thomas Newman C.S.A.

1843 - 1902

His Wife Martha S. Newman

1846 - 1882



Here lieth the Body

of M. Mary Gibbons

who departed this life

the 22nd of Sept. 1792

Aged 75 Years

With a character unblemished she passed this life a Tender and Affectionate Wife.




George Lee Eagle

1865 - 1882

Anna Eagle Cluverius

1861 - 1891


Here lie the

Imortal Remains

Thomas Newman

Born June 6, 1846

Died March 6, 1882

Affectionate Regard

for the Memory of the

Deceased has prompted

the Erection of this




Martha W.

Wife of Thomas Newman

Born June 6, 1846

Died March 6, 1882

Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord




Thos. Newman 6th

1875 - 1933

Wife Annie Davis Newman

1876 - 1948

Richard Wynne Newman

1873 - 1936




Sacred to the Memory of

(Mrs?) S. (M?) Wolcott

Born November 17, 1837

Died ? 2(?), 18(?)1




Here lies interred the body of

Mary Sansum

Who departed this life

the 28th of October 1785

Aged 23 Years


Elizabeth Krieyer

Born Princess Anne Co

February 12, 1815

Died at Yorktown March 12, 1870

I know that my Redeemer liveth

Beloved wife and faithful ?

By her husband G. A. Krieyer

and her Adopted Son ?y O. Heitman



James McL(?)

Who departed this life

October (broken)

Anno Domini

Aged 42 Years




Peters Halstead

Born July 16, 1824

Died March 13, 1885

Phoebe Halstead

Born September 4, 1822

Died October 10, 1904


Scenes From Grace Churchyard (South Face)

September 2004



Scenes From Grace Churchyard (South Face)

August 2002


Scenes From Grace Churchyard (North Face)

September 2004




In Memory of

George Washington Southall

A Distinguished Jurist at Williamsburg

Born in Yorktown

January 1st 1810

Died in Baltimore

November 24th 1851



Mrs. Helen Maxwell Macauly

Died at Williamsburg Va.

December 15, 1868

in her 86th Year

Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.








Underneath this stone are deposited the remains of John Henry of Richmond in Virginia.  A citizen of America.  Born at Fairview near Castledawson in Ireland on 11 November 1761, who departed this life on the 21st August 1870.  By his death his brother and sister have to lament the loss of the most affectionate of brothers.  His country--------  Member of the Commonwealth and his----acquaintance a much valued friend.  This stone was placed by John Henry of Fairview.  Tribute of Gratitude to the most disinterested.



At Rest

Annie E. Potter

Born March 20, 1850

Died October 28, 1907





John S. Potter

Born February 20, 1826

Died March 28, 1897



At Rest

Sarah M.

Beloved Wife of J. W. Rogers

Born in Accomack Co, VA

April 11, 1847

Died in Yorktown, VA

October 12, 1895

Oh how sweet it will be in that beautiful land.  So free from all sorrow and pain with songs on our lips and with harps in our lands.  To meet with our Lord once again.



Victoria V. Templeman

1871 - 1942




Patty H. Sheild

Wife of Edward Mathews

Born September 20, 1872

Died August 5, 1907




Frances M. Howard

Wife of John R. Sheild

Born August 18, 1837

Died September 23, 1906



John G. Sheild


February 28, 1895

Aged 20 years

He asked life of thee




R. W. Sheild

Born in Yorktown

July 24, 1866

Died August 28, 1909

Saved By Grace



Caroline Frances Sheild

Born September 8, 1898

Died Same Day

Mary Stryker Sheild

Born July 1, 1902

Died September 4, 1902

Robert Archer Sheild, Infant

August 23, 1936

Son of Conway H. Jr.




Henry Stryker

Born March 2, 1838

Died March 10, 1908




Caroline A.

Wife of Henry Stryker

Born March 14, 1840

Died May 11, 1910




Virginia Morris

Infant Daughter of JM & Clara M Knight

Died July 21, 190(?)





Letty Sheild Scott

Born January 19, 1907

Died January 24, 1984





Wylmer Leon Scott

Born December 9, 1898

Died May 26, 1976





Conway Howard Sheild

Born March 17, 1870

Died April 28, 1928





Catherine Morris Sheild

Born February 10, 1869

Died March 25, 1946





Conway Howard Sheild Jr.

Born August 6, 1902

Died September 20, 1970

Jurist 1952 - 1968





Elizabeth Susan Slaight Sheild

Born December 8. 1909

Died April 29, 1984



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