Episcopal Diocese of Virginia
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“Do not be amazed; you seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen, he is not here; see the place where they laid him. But go tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him as he told you.” -Mark 16:6-7

Ware Church is graced with a cemetery of over a thousand burials or memorials.  One can find markers honoring everyday folk, unknown Confederate solders, generals, children, veterans, doctors, the clergy, judges, attorneys and statesmen.

Notable people buried or memorialized in the cemetery include Lt. Gen. William H. Tunner USAF, author Will F. Jenkins (a.k.a. Murray Leinster), historian/author Col. Ludwell Lee Montague, historian/author Sally Nelson Robins, portrait artist Felix Thomas Sharples, and long time Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates John Warren Cooke.

The first known burial at the present Ware Church was that of The Reverend James Clack (1655-1723) who, at the beginning of his ministry, had the vision of a new church for Ware Parish. He lived to see its completion and his grave is just east of the center of the east wall of the church.  The grave of The Reverend Charles Mann (1792-1878) is adjacent.

Other early burials are under the church floor where The Reverend John Richards (1689-1735) is buried. Others buried beneath the church floor include the rector's wife Amy Richards (1685-1725), their servant Mary Ades (1697-1725), Ann Willis (1695-1727) and her infant daughter Anne, The Reverend John Fox's wife Isabell Booth Fox (1704-1742), and their daughters Mary (1738-1742) and Susannah (1740-1743).

The William & Mary Quarterly, Vol. 3, No. 3. (January, 1895, by Lyon G. Tyler) reported on old tombstones in Gloucester, including those under the chancel floor. The Rev. William Byrd Lee also described the tombstones under the church, on page 190 of the Register of Abingdon and Ware Parishes, 1830-1918 and these descriptions are reported in The World of Ware Parish. For the eight burials under the floor, the WMQ describes six tombstones and appears to try to reproduce the inscriptions exactly, but Mr. Lee describes four grave sites, combines two pairs of the six inscriptions of the WMQ, and seems to be modernizing the text of the inscriptions. The WMQ inscriptions are used in the list of tombstones on this site, but combined as done by Mr. Lee. The WMQ transcriptions are also used for unreadable tombstones moved to Ware from family cemeteries.

In the early days of the parish, parishioners were typically buried in family cemeteries near their homes.  Many gravestones were moved to Ware Cemetery in the 20th century by the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities, most to what is known as the "APVA" area in the north of the northwest section.  Several of these gravestones date to the early 1700s. Click to view a map of the APVA section [pdf].

The APVA collected inscriptions on old headstones throughout Gloucester and Mathews Counties in Epitaphs of Gloucester and Mathews Counties in Tidewater Virginia through 1865.

The original church and cemetery were located approximately one and one half miles east of the current location, on Glen Roy plantation on the north side of the Ware River. A marble slab, east of the remains of a brick foundation for the original church circa 1660, marks the grave of William Potter (d. January 29, 1703).  No above-ground evidence remains of the old church foundation or the cemetery.

The oldest tombstone in the present cemetery is that of Edward Porteus (d. bet. 1696-1700). The stone was relocated for preservation in 1959 from Violet Bank near Poropotank Creek.

The Ware Church cemetery is the final resting place for a number of veterans of most wars, including veterans of the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Spanish-American War, two world wars, and Confederate veterans of the Civil War, including two unknown soldiers who were among those who perished at Burgh Westra, a local home owned by Dr. Philip Taliaferro used as a Civil War hospital.

Memorial Garden

In the cemetery is a walled Memorial Garden that can be used for cremations.

Cemetery lots are available to members of Ware Episcopal Church through consultation with the Cemetery Committee.

The pages in this section allow you to

  • View the names of people memorialized in the cemetery and locate their sites.
  • View the inscriptions on the gravestones.
  • View a map of the cemetery to help you locate grave sites.
  • View the cemetery rules and regulations.

The cemetery is open to the public for respectful visits from 8am to dusk.


Researching Gloucester County Tombstones

Gloucester County tombstones have been extensively catalogued.  Researchers may view the following online resources.

Cemeteries, Gloucester Genealogical Society of Virginia

USGenWeb Archives Tombstone Transcription Project

Epitaphs of Gloucester and Mathews Counties in Tidewater Virginia Through 1865, Collected by the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities, Joseph Bryan Branch, Gloucester; The Virginia State Library, Richmond, Virginia, 1959.

Findagrave.com has a section for the Ware Episcopal Church Cemetery and many other area cemeteries.

The Gloucester County Geographic Information System can show a county map with cemeteries marked (Internet Explorer and map viewer software download required).