The First Presbyterian Churchyard is a testament to the faithfulness of God and the indomitable spirit of its members past. It also reflects their faith and deeds, and their trials and tribulations, mirroring those of this State and Nation as well.
Established as a burial ground by an act of the legislature in 1798, the oldest existing marker, that of the first minister, dates from 1804. In 1813, the congregation was incorporated by the legislature as the "First Presbyterian Church of the Town of Columbia" with half of the burial ground to be conveyed to it and the other half to the Protestant Episcopal Church. Thereafter, First Presbyterian Church purchased the interest of the Episcopalians.
The markers number among them people from the earliest days of the republic and this congregation: ministers, physicians, judges, merchants, legislators, government officials and university presidents, as well as soldiers of the Revolution, the Mexican War and the Civil War. The tombstones record immigrants from many birthplaces: Scotland, England, Ireland, Connecticut, Vermont, and Pennsylvania. Church records describe as well "free persons of color" and slaves as members. The churchyard testifies to the many backgrounds that joined in Christian worship at First Presbyterian Church.
In response to the many requests of members, in 2004, a Memorial Garden for the interment of cremated remains was added to the Church’s cemetery. This area is located around the east, south and west walls of the Family Life Center, and the spaces are marked with tasteful granite markers. If you are interested in obtaining more information about spaces in the Memorial Garden, please call our office at (803) 799-9062, ext. 261, or send written inquiries to the church at 1324 Marion Street, Columbia, SC 29201.
Video tour of the churchyard
Church Yard Brochure
Confederate soldiers in our churchyard
Map with plot numbers