This old graveyard contains the burial sites (mostly unmarked) of some 4,000 inhabitants of early Vincennes, including soldiers and patriots of the American Revolution who helped Colonel George Rogers Clark to capture the nearby Fort Sackville in 1779.
The cemetery marks the site of the log church where the people of Vincennes swore an oath of allegiance to the Republic of Virginia and the United States on July 20, 1778.
During the siege of Fort Sackville (February 23-24, 1779), Clark’s men took up positions at the church and cemetery. It was at the church that Colonel Clark and the British commander, Lieutenant Governon Henry Hamilton, negotiated terms of surrender on February 24. The surrender of Fort Sackville occurred the next day, February 25, 1779.
As a result, Hamilton’s plan to crush the Revolution in the West was checked and a basis was laid for the United States to later claim the area northwest of the Ohio River, from which were eventually formed the states of Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, and part of Minnesota.
The Old Cathedral and Cemetery are located in the Vincennes Historic District, which was placed on the National Register of Historical Places on December 31, 1974.
A list of patriots believed to be buried in the Old French Cemetery can be found here: