In the fall of 2019, Kevin Williams, who hails from Chester, Pennsylvania, came to the Old Pine Conservancy to work as an intern to fulfill his 30 hours fieldwork requirement for Temple University’s School of Education. His passion for history and research was so impressive that, upon graduation, he was invited to continue his work with us as an independent contractor. Over the next year, Kevin assisted historian, Dan Campbell, in extensive research that yielded a wealth of information about the lives of those buried at Old Pine Street Church’s Historic graveyard.
Kevin’s diligence led to important discoveries revealing the diversity of people interred in the Graveyard of Patriots. He identified the monument of James Hamilton, a southern plantation owner who retired to Philadelphia and died here having enslaved over 600 people. Kevin also identified the gravesite of Ralph Isaacs, who invaded Florida and killed someone in a duel. Additionally, he researched Joel Sutherland, an officer during the War of 1812 who was such a strong supporter of Andrew Jackson that it generated intense newspaper opposition. Kevin revealed that Joseph Prowell took part in the Sullivan Expedition against the Iroquois in northern Pennsylvania/Southern New York during the Revolution. Finally, he wrote about Benjamin Templeton, an African American pastor at Lombard Central Church, city leader of his community, an abolitionist, who is also believed to have been involved in the Underground Railroad.
Kevin’s extensive research into the lives of John and Stephen Gloucester was published in the 2020 winter edition of our newsletter, Heritage, They Were Once Lost, But Then Were Found. This article can be found on our website www.oldpineconservancy.org/Research. Besides this body of work, Kevin also conducted research into the Underground Railroad, which led to the creation of a Pennsylvania map detailing the intricate labyrinth of stops of this road to freedom.
With his background in secondary social studies education, Kevin was instrumental in helping to design our self-guided audio tours, one of which is geared to students grades 5-8. In addition to leading tours of the historic graveyard, Kevin was a key presenter during the Old Pine Conservancy’s program commemorating Black History Month in 2022.
In the spring of 2022, Kevin joined the teaching staff at Mastery Charter, Hardy Williams High School, where he is currently teaching history. He is a member of Phi Alpha Theta National History Honors Society.
Coming full circle, Kevin joined the Old Pine Conservancy as a Trustee this past fall!
When he is not busy teaching, he continues to assist Dan Campbell in the creation of a comprehensive graveyard report that will yield an accurate database of the graveyard. When he gets the chance, Kevin also enjoys hunting frogs, which he then cooks and eats. He is a football enthusiast and a fan of the Game of Thrones books and show.
The Old Pine Conservancy is fortunate to boast the membership of several educators on our Board of Trustees. Kevin wants the Old Pine Conservancy to continue with the preservation of graveyard’s tombstones and to continue researching the compelling stories of the people buried in the Graveyard of Patriots. He is helping fulfill the hope of the late Ronn Shafer, former Old Pine Conservancy president, that “someone will pick up the cudgel and become addicted to it as I’ve become addicted and continue.” Indeed, we have that person in Kevin Williams!