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Finding John Penn’s Original Burial Site | Signer of the Declaration of Independence

John Penn's Original Burial Site
John Penn Original Burial Site modern art

This modern art creation nailed to a tree in the dirt cul-de-sac near John Penn’s Original Burial Site.

Finding John Penn’s original burial site was quite a challenge!  He was a Signer of the Declaration of Independence, and the Articles of Confederation from North Carolina.

We searched for and found Signer, John Penn’s Memorial, his original burial site in the backwoods of North Carolina.

His original burial site is more than one hour from any large city and fifteen minutes from any town.

Finding John Penn’s Original  Burial Site

Using SIRI and GPS coordinates, you drive down a country road just northwest of Henderson, North Carolina.

Make a turn down a country road, then turn onto a blacktop drive “John Penn Road”, until you pass a church…take the gravel / red clay road beyond the church until you get to the end, turn left.

See 30-second video of dirt road leading to the burial site.

Ignore SIRI from here on, we were deep into the forest, and she was freaking out. She instructed me to pull over and just walk from here. No kidding. (listen to the video above), It’s way too far to walk, trust me. We just shut her down and continued blind.

By now we are 3 miles deep into a North Carolina woods.  Nothing, or no one was around us, only trees and more trees. Glad I didn’t hear any Banjos…

We turned left, and continued driving until my wife asked,

“How much longer are we going to follow this path, do you know where you are going?”

We are probably 4 miles into the woods.

I tell her “only one more mile honey,” she smirks and gives me the “LOOK.”.  Guy’s you know the “look”.  When your wife knows you are completely lost, and not willing to admit it!  Yup, that look!

Just then I notice that the road extends uphill, and a dirt cul-de-sac appears. Hey, I say to myself, this looks hopeful.

I look across the cul-de-sac and notice one of 6 million trees. This one tree supports a toilet tissue size sign about eye level, on the far side of the road…Next to a path!

Found the Burial Site for John Penn

The weathered sign reads:John Penn Cemetery Note Original Burial Site

“No turn around for cemetery, best to walk from here”…

We decided to ignore the message and drive down the narrow path “with no place to turn around”.

Seriously!!! No place to turn around…we should have walked, should have listened to the sign.

But no!!!!! I know better….Wife is really ready to kill at this point!!!!

About a quarter mile down that path I noticed another sign. It was the size of a one-half sheet of toilet tissue, that pointed to two grave sites, one for John Penn, and one for his slave. (Still looking for his slave’s names so I can honor them as well).

John Penn’s original site is 100 yards past this small sign. 

I could not locate the slave grave site, but I saw another sign stating that I was there..  The leaves were covering all the ground and I could not make out any burial sites.

John Penn’s Original Burial Site

His marker is new, made out of marble and shows honor and respect.  It is surrounded by a fence, to keep out…????? Well, I don’t know what it keeps out, but it is a very nice headstone and serves this signer well.

I was so happy to have found this memorial even though it was a challenge to find. The Signers hold such a place in my heart!

Hope you enjoyed all this crazy story, it’s all true, and it happened on a beautiful Sunday afternoon in February.

Lest I forget. The funniest event of this day came when my mother-in-law spend fifteen minutes trying to turn the car around, on that skinny “walking” path!!!!  It was like a 15 point turn around.  I near about peed my pants laughing.

The truth is, she did an amazing job and did get the car turned in the correct direction in the end, but I got such a laugh. She has much more patience and tenacity than me!

We had so much fun!  Thank you to the John Penn Chapter NSDAP, Oxford, NC for your care, and for maintaining this national landmark.

Thank you, Mr. Penn, for forging a path to freedom, and for paying the dear price you paid for the liberties I am enjoying today!  

We will never forget!

Neil on adventure!

The new internment of John Penn

Guilford Courthouse National Military Park (U.S. National Park Service)

 in Greensboro, North Carolina.  He is one of two buried below the memorial, William Hooper is the other.  

The third signer remains from North Carolina were never recovered.  

Note: There is apparently a vacant crypt below the monument should they ever identify the remains of the third signer, Joseph Hewes.

John Penn's final resting place, Signer of the Declaration of Independence

#SignersTour, #JohnPenn, #OnAdventure, #DeclarationofIndependence, #ArticlesofConfederation

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2 Comments

  • Reply
    Rob
    September 24, 2017 at 1:46 pm

    Do you have the gps coordinates? Thanks for posting this information.

    • Reply
      nstagner
      September 30, 2017 at 9:24 pm

      I sent you the coordinates via email. Let me know you received them.

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