Biographical / Historical
Fair Hill Burial Ground was established on land bequeathed by George Fox in 1690 to Friends in Pennsylvania, including six acres "for a meeting house and school house and a burying place." A small meeting house was built in 1702-03 on four acres purchased by Philadelphia Monthly Meeting adjacent to Fox's twenty acres on a "fair hill." Fox's will was never probated in England, and title to the twenty acres remained in controversy with the heirs of George Fox until it was fully confirmed to Philadelphia Monthly Meeting in 1767. The 1705 warrant included in this collection was William Penn's attempt from England to clear title to the land because it was a gift from the proprietor to George Fox.
Part of the land was set aside as a burial ground as early 1707, but there were few interments. Interment ceased when the land was leased to a tenant farmer in 1795. In 1818 the Fair Hill property was assigned to Green Street Monthly Meeting. In 1830, it was proposed that a burial ground be established for three Hicksite Philadelphia Monthly meetings, Philadelphia, Spruce Street, and Green Street. Title was to be held by Green Street, with the cemetery initially under the care of a joint committee from the three meetings. In 1858, Rules and Regulations for the Government of Friends' Burial-Ground at Fair Hill was published. The records prior to 1843 have been lost.
In 1882, an indulged meeting was set up under Green Street at Fair Hill, and a new stone meeting house was erected by 1883. The Fair Hill Friends Association, which included members who were not Friends, was established in 1919 to promote a meeting of worship and a First Day School. However, by the 1960s, few Friends lived in the vicinity of Fair Hill. The property was almost sold in the early 1970s to be the site of a new school building for the Philadelphia School District, but the sale never materialized. In the 1970s and 1980s, the neighborhood continued to deteriorate, making the upkeep of the burial ground increasingly difficult. In 1985, the property was sold to Ephesians Baptist Church, with the original records to be retained by the Green Street Monthly Meeting. In March 1993, Fair Hill Burial Ground was incorporated, and in the same year, the property was purchased by the Philadelphia Quarterly Meeting, which now owns and maintains the burial ground. Fair Hill Burial Ground, Inc., deposited these records at Friends Historical Library. A small number of additional materials are located within RG4, Green Street Monthly Meeting.
Members of many Quaker family, including Morris, Truman, Lippincott, Child, Clothier, Longstreth, Lukens, and Parrish, are interred at Fair Hill. Probably the best known of the many prominent Friends is Lucretia Coffin Mott, the noted suffragist and peace activist, who died in 1880, and is buried beside her husband, Thomas Mott. The burial records will be of particular interest to genealogists.