Trinity Episcopal Cathedral Graveyard

By Virginia Schlosser

December 2019

At Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in downtown Pittsburgh, there’s a small graveyard connecting the cathedral to First Presbyterian Church. This graveyard is home to some of the earliest Pittsburgh settlers, with one of the oldest marked graves dating back to 1779. The land was originally used as a burial ground for Native Americans as well as French and British settlers before being given to the trustees of the Episcopalian church in 1787. The first Trinity Cathedral was built in 1805, rebuilt and expanded in 1872, and then modernized in 1967 after a fire destroyed parts of the church.

This is an Obelisk shaped grave marker for Christopher Cowan, who is considered the father of the Steel industry in Pittsburgh. He opened Pittsburgh’s first rolling mill in 1811. Photographed by author.

Even with the rebuilding and expansions, the small graveyard has remained there with few additions over the years. Graveyards and graves are an important, often overlooked aspect of religion. It is important they are preserved and maintained because they give insight into the unique history of the people of that time. A grave can show a lot about a person: who their family was, where they died, how they died, their status while they lived, their relationship towards their religion and so on. This graveyard is the resting place of many people that had a role in the formation of both Pittsburgh and this country. Revolutionary War veterans, a Shawnee Indian chief, the founder of the first steel rolling mill in Pittsburgh, and multiple religious leaders in Pittsburgh are all buried in this graveyard.

This is a grave marker for John Ormsby, who was a soldier in the Revolutionary War. Photographed by author.

Visiting graveyards are a way to learn more about the history of Pittsburgh and the people who made this city what it is. Graveyards provide visitors with rich religious history and insight. With Trinity Graveyard being one of the oldest graveyards in Pittsburgh, it contributes a great deal to that history. It is a very interesting place to visit if you are looking to learn more about both the history of Pittsburgh and the religious history of Pittsburgh.

Further Reading

“Trinity Cathedral Pittsburgh- Our History.” Trinity Cathedral Pittsburgh, Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, 2018,

 “Guide to the Records of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, 1797-1979.” Historic Pittsburgh, University of Pittsburgh’s Library System, 2006, /islandora/object/pitt%3AUS-QQS-MSS86/viewer.

How to Cite

MLA: Schlosser, Virginia. “Trinity Episcopal Cathedral Graveyard.” ReligYinz: Mapping Religious Pittsburgh. University of Pittsburgh, 20 January 2020,

APA: Schlosser, V. (2020, January 20). Trinity episcopal cathedral graveyard. ReligYinz: Mapping Religious Pittsburgh, University of Pittsburgh.

Chicago: Schlosser, Virginia. “Trinity Episcopal Cathedral Graveyard.” ReligYinz: Mapping Religious Pittsburgh. University of Pittsburgh, January 20, 2020.