Little White Church Cemetery (Seattle)

  • By Laura Angotti
  • Posted 11/02/1998
  • Essay 2053

The first church building in Seattle was the Methodist Episcopal or the "Little White Church." Next to the church was Seattle's first formal cemetery. The first documented burials in the Little White Church cemetery were of two young men killed in Seattle's short Indian war of 1856.

The burials in the Little White Church cemetery were eventually removed to the Seattle Cemetery (located just east of the Space Needle on the site of Denny Park), perhaps in the 1860s and certainly before 1884.

The Methodist Episcopal Congregation was founded by the Reverend David Blaine (1824-1900) and his wife, Catharine Paine Blaine (1829-1908) on December 4, 1853. The first church building, dubbed the "Little White Church," was built by the congregation on land donated by Carson Boren (1824?-1912) and was dedicated on May 12, 1855. The church's graveyard was next to the church, on the southwest corner of 2nd Avenue and Columbia Street in downtown Seattle.

Although burials near the Denny Hotel ("Denny Hotel cemetery" at 2nd Avenue and Stewart Street) almost certainly predate those in the Little White Church cemetery, the Little White Church was the city's first formal cemetery. Burials at this cemetery included Jonathan Denny, the infant son of David and Louisa Denny, who died in 1867 when he was only a few hours old.


Thomas Prosch, "A Chronological History of Seattle from 1850 to 1897," typescript dated 1900-1901, Northwest Collection, University of Washington Library, p. 50; The Seattle Times, February 18, 1950; Gordon Newell, Westward To Alki: The Story of David and Louisa Denny (Seattle: Superior Publishing Co., 1977), 85; Sophie Bass When Seattle Was A Village (Seattle: Lowman & Hanford, 1947), 64-5.
Note: This file was updated by Olaf Kvamme on May 7, 2001. It was further updated on March 23, 2005.

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