Early records indicate that there was a church on the site of the Old Wye Church in the 1600’s and that the old church was in need of repair in 1698. Early burials, however, were typically in family graveyards on the local plantations and farms. The earliest burial date on a marker in Old Wye Cemetery is 1817 on the gravestone of Mary Fiddeman in plot 131. Church records tell us that this gravestone and the adjacent gravestone of her husband were moved to Old Wye from a family graveyard in Harrington, Delaware but no bodies were reinterred. The oldest grave at the Old Wye Church is the 1821 grave of Mary Griffin located at plot 110 in the center of the old cemetery. There are graves in the cemetery without markers but none of their records indicate an earlier date of burial. It is also interesting to note that the graves of the seven Paca family members whose names are recorded on the large monument in plot #46 were moved to Old Wye Cemetery in the early 1900’s from the family graveyard on Paca Island (now Wye Island).
Some people of note in Old Wye Cemetery are:
- August Belmont, who was the bearer of one of the most distinguished names in New York, is buried in plot 41. Following in the family tradition of involvement on Wall Street, he rose through the ranks at the investment firm of Dillon, Read and Co. to become its Chairman and President. His horse, Caveat, won the Belmont Stakes in 1963 at the Belmont Race Track, which was named for his great-grandfather.
- Charles Wetmore Kellogg who was considered by many the most knowledgeable man in the field of electric utilities is buried in plot 74. He was appointed Chief Consultant for National Defense in the Light, Heat and Power Unit of the office of Production Management during World War II. He served the Episcopal Church in many capacities including deputy to convention, vestryman of Wye Parish and member of the Standing Committee for the Diocese of Easton.
- Conrad Powell “Nick” Carter played baseball for Connie Mack’s Philadelphia Athletics in 1908 is buried in plot 76.
- Arthur A. Houghton, Jr., president of Steuben Glass and chairman of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the New York Philharmonic, is buried in plot 97. He funded and directed the restoration of Old Wye Church, the reconstruction of the Vestry Cottage and the building of the Wye Parish Rectory and Parish House. He later donated to The Aspen Institute a thousand-acre parcel of land on the Wye River.
- Rogers C. B. Morton who was a Congressman from the Eastern Shore (1961-1971) and later Secretary of the Interior (1971-75) and Secretary of Commerce (1975-76) is buried with his family in plot 137.
Several former rectors and their families are buried at Old Wye:
- The Rev. Christopher Wilkinson, who consecrated Old Wye Church on Oct. 18, 1721 and was its first rector, serving from 1713-1729. It is reported that he is interred beneath the communion table in the church sanctuary, however research is ongoing to confirm this.
- The Rev. Elisha Rigg, who served from 1797-1804, is buried beneath the chancel arch.
- Three children of The Rev. Mr. Albert Ware (1880-1887) are buried in plot 114.
- The Rev. Algernon Batte (1896-1907) and his wife and daughter are buried in plot 70.
- The Rev. Matthew S. Higgins (1933-1944) is buried in plot 72.
- The Rev. Harvie A. Zuckerman (1951-1957), who died while rector of Wye Parish, is buried in plot 73.
There are 31 veterans in the cemetery and 4 veterans in the columbarium. We honor their service to our country by marking their graves with flags every year from Memorial Day through July 4th.
There are over 600 persons buried at Old Wye Cemetery and the rights to be buried in many of the remaining grave sites have been purchased by local families. All remaining available grave plots and columbarium niches are being reserved for the needs of active parish members. But thanks to the generous donation of a parcel of land across the creek from the church property, there are long range plans to develop a cemetery annex which will once more open up grave sites to the public.
For a map of the cemetery, please click here for the Plan of Old Wye Church Cemetery.
For a listing of those buried in the cemetery, please click here.