There was a widespread myth on campus that the Fordham cemetery is a "phantom"
one (tombstones but no remains). Documents housed in the University Archives
(diaries, reports, charts and publications) provide the following facts about
the cemetery and they imply a refutation of the myth.
The Chronology of the Cemetery
1847, July 11 - First burial in the old Fordham cemetery on a hillside, east
part of campus: Joseph Creeden, aged 26, Irish-born Jesuit novice Brother.
1850, November 1 - The remains of Irish-born Rev. Eugene Maguire were re-interred
in the Fordham cemetery. He was the only Jesuit who died in St. Mary's College,
KY; at age 33, he expired on June 11, 1833. The Jesuits came to Fordham from
St. Mary's in 1846.
1889, April - After payment of $93,966.25 New York City took title to 26.845
acres of Fordham's east campus, which included the college cemetery; the property
was taken by the authority of the state 1884 New Parks Law. Those acres later
became part of the New York Botanical Garden. Thereafter the cemetery could
no longer be used and so for a short time 3 Jesuits' bodies were kept in a
vault in the St. Raymond cemetery.
1890, January 21-28 - The remains of 61 Jesuits (including the 4 recently
deceased ), 3 seminarians, 9 college students, and 2 workmen were transferred
to the new cemetery near the university church. The remains of one Brother
and one workman were not found. The transfers were meticulously documented
in Latin and English by Fr. Joseph Zwinge, S.J., the Fr. Minister (administrator).
1890, January 26 - First burial in the "new" cemetery: Fr. James Perron,
aged 72, French- born former French army officer who was regarded as a model
1909, January 24 - Last burial in the Fordham cemetery: New York-born Fr.
William O'B. Pardow, aged 62, formerly Jesuit provincial superior and famous
1931 - Campus engineering blueprint showed entrance to the cemetery was on
its south side (Fordham Rd. side). A chart dated 1950 confirmed that entrance.
1950-1953 - Sometime during these years the entrance gate and its white marble
posts were moved to the north side of the cemetery, and a brick wall, surmounted
by a monstrance-like blessing symbol, was erected on the south side.
1959, March 20-23 - To facilitate the building of Faber Hall the remains
of 38 Jesuits were moved to the west and south-west sides of the cemetery.
1998, September 22 - Rev. Joseph A. O'Hare, S.J., appointed a committee to
study the most appropriate way to insure the sacred character of the campus
1999 - At the committee's suggestion, the deteriorating tombstones were replaced
by low granite markers. The cemetery and the markers were blessed by the Rev.
Gerald Blaszczak, S.J., Rector of the Jesuit Community, in a well-attended
2000, April 5 - A permanent plaque was placed beside the cemetery to bear
witness to those interred in "God's Holy Acre."
Text of the Year 2000 Cemetery Plaque
"IN THEIR HOPE
OF RESURRECTION HERE LIE THE REMAINS OF
124 SONS OF ST. IGNATIUS LOYOLA: 68 JESUIT PRIESTS;
44 JESUIT BROTHERS; 12 JESUIT SCHOLASTICS;
77 OF THEM HAD ASSIGNMENTS TO FORDHAM.
OTHERS BURIED IN THE SAME CEMETERY FOR WHOM AND WITH WHOM
THE JESUITS LABORED ARE: 3 DIOCESAN SEMINARIANS,
9 STUDENTS, AND 2 COLLEGE WORKMEN.
MAY THEY REST IN THE PEACE OF CHRIST."