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John Tunis

Cedar Grove Cemetery
2nd Alley West, Lot 48
(1779 – 1832)

John Tunis, Esq. was born in 1779.  He was a native of New Jersey but lived in Norfolk for 27 years.  He was known as the “Merchant Prince of Norfolk”.  He established a steamboat route and service between Norfolk, Hampton and Old Point Comfort and later between Norfolk and Portsmouth.  He was the Director of the Dismal Swamp Canal Company.  His obituary reads, in part, “For some time past he was engaged in erecting extensive works, for saving and dressing plank and timber by steam power, and mills for expressing castor and lint seed oil, all of which he lived to see in successful operation.”* John Tunis married Rebecca Bowdoin Waddey of Norfolk, Virginia in 1833.  They had six children together but only one, John E. Tunis (1834 – 1866) would live to be over 23 years of age and marry.**  John Tunis, Esq. died in 1832 and is buried on the Tunis Family Lot in Cedar Grove Cemetery.  The obelisk erected on the Tunis Family Lot is engraved with the words, “In memory of John Tunis who was born in Newtown, L.I., November 18, 1805 and died in this city of the prevailing epidemic September 19, 1855.”

Norfolk’s Elmwood Cemetery was established in 1853 after Cedar Grove cemetery was full, the City purchased the land for Elmwood Cemetery from the Tunis family.

Also interred on the Cedar Grove Cemetery Tunis Family Lot are:  Franklin W. d. 1869; Rebecca, d. 1883; Lewis, d. 1864; Robert T., d. 1862; Virginia, d. 1900; Andrew Sigourney, d. 1869

There is a second Tunis Family Lot in Elmwood Cemetery and the following are there:  Carolina E.J. (alias Minnie E. King), d. 1894 (g) 1900 (c) (Cemetery and genealogical records disagree with the year of Mrs. Tunis’s death.)  John E., d. 1866; John W., d. 1863


*The Norfolk Herald 12/10/1832 
**The Recording Angel newsletter, Volume 8, Issue I, April 2009, article entitled “The Tunis Family” by Tim Bonney of the Friends of Norfolk’s Historical Cemeteries

Note:  More information on the Dismal Swamp Canal can be accessed at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dismal_Swamp_Canal.

Biographical information provided by Norfolk Bureau of Cemeteries.

Visitor Information

Visitor Hours: Sunrise to Sunset

Office hours: Monday to Friday 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM
Saturday 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM

Free parking inside cemetery.

Admission Cost: Free

Address: 238 E. Princess Anne Road, Norfolk, VA 23510

Official web site for more information: www.norfolk.gov/cemeteries

Norfolk Society for Cemetery Conservation Web Site: www.norfolksocietyforcemeteryconservation.org