Remains of Delaware patriot moved to new gravesite

The Wilmington and Brandywine Cemetery is now the new resting place for Delaware patriot Gunning Bedford Jr., who was among five men who signed the U.S. Constitution for Delaware.

This is the second move for Bedford who was originally buried in 1812 in the first Presbyterian church in Wilmington, now known as the site of the Rodney Square Library.

Located several feet from the main entrance of Wilmington and Brandwine Cemetery, community members and a middle school choir named after the Delaware patriot gathered at the new gravesite Thursday for a dedication.

Bedford wore many hats, serving as a state attorney general, U.S. District Court judge and first grand master of the Grand Lodge AF&AM of Delaware.  His remains were first moved in 1921 to the Masonic Lombardy estate, where Bedford lived until his death. However, his Lancaster Pike gravesite for the past 92 years is being sold, prompting the second move.

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Wayne Mower, one of the driving forces behind Bedford’s second burial site, says it was necessary to have the remains relocated and most importantly protected.  “As a Mason, of course, and member of the lodge that owns Gunning Bedford’s house, Lombardy Hall, it was just a part of me to get involved in this project,” said Mower, who volunteers at the Wilmington and Brandywine Cemetery weekly to help people find information about their families. 

“We’re very grateful that the Masons selected our cemetery. We have a lot of history here. We have another signer of the Constitution here, Mr. [Richard] Bassett. We’re very grateful that he’s with us and his family members,” said James Chandler, president of the cemetery.

Bedford’s remains were placed in a concrete vault and reburried at the cemetery in May.

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