Mary S. Brown Memorial-Ames United Methodist Church and Turner Cemetery are located at 3424 Beechwood Boulevard, right on the border between the Squirrel Hill and Greenfield neighborhoods of Pittsburgh, PA 15217. Click on the “About” link for contact information. For more information about the church and cemetery, scroll down this page.


Todd and Helen Wilson collaborated on the book, Images of America: Pittsburgh’s Bridges. It is part of Arcadia Publishing’s Images of America series, filled with photographs and other illustrations. Pittsburgh’s Bridges presents a history of 144 bridges within Pittsburgh’s borders, including those around the area where Turner Cemetery and MSBA Church are located. The book shows the sequence of bridges at various sites and explains the reasons behind their unique designs. The book will be released on October 26, 2015. For more information or to order, go to amazon.com or click on this link: http://www.arcadiapublishing.com/9781467134248/Pittsburghs-Bridges



The Seventh Annual Turner Cemetery History Walk took place on Saturday, September 19. The event included self-guided tours of the graveyard, historical displays, military re-enactors from the 8th Pennsylvania Regiment and a soup and bake sale. When the re-enactors shot off their long rifles, it brought traffic to a standstill on Beechwood Boulevard!

Todd Wilson, author of Images of America: Pittsburgh’s Bridges,  gave a presentation, “Evolution of the Roads and Bridges of Squirrel Hill and Greenfield.” 


In the spring of 2014, Ken Girty, descendant of Simon Girty’s brother Thomas, whose half-brother was John Turner, visited the cemetery and gave a talk in the church community room about his family’s turbulent history. Unlike the other Girty brothers Simon, George and James, Thomas remained loyal to the United States during the Revolutionary War. After the war he moved a bit north and established a trading post at Girty’s Run, buying land and eventually owning most of what is now Oakmont. The Girtys were half-brothers to John Turner.

A few weeks after his visit, Ken Girty invited the North Hills Past Finders to come to Turner Graveyard with an assortment of metal detectors to examine the graveyard for artifacts. The major find was an ax and possibly a chisel dated to between 1850-1860. Several churches were built on the site beginning in 1842, so it is possible the tools were used to build or maintain one of the structures.

We received the results of the Mercyhurst study of Turner Cemetery. As expected, the fluxgate gradiometer (magnetometer) scans showed anomalies that could mean burials, and, also as expected, most of the anomalies did not correspond to the present locations of the tombstones, since we knew they were moved around through the years. We are hoping Mercyhurst returns to study the upper half of the half-acre graveyard. We are also trying to find a way to have ground-penetrating radar scans done, which are more accurate. We have no plans to do any excavations in the graveyard. We would just like to mark the graves to honor those buried there.

Click on this link for the Turner-Mercyhurst Press Release.

Click on this link to see the article about the Mercyhurst study that appeared in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on May 6, 2013.

Here is some general information about the Turner Cemetery/Mary S. Brown-Ames Historical Site.

Turner Cemetery and Mary S. Brown Memorial-Ames United Methodist Church are located at 3424 Beechwood Boulevard on the border between the Squirrel Hill and Greenfield neighborhoods of Pittsburgh. The Turner Cemetery/Mary S. Brown-Ames Historical Committee (TC/MSBA) is researching the site because of its historical and genealogical importance. The cemetery dates to 1785 and provides information about many of the earliest settlers of Squirrel Hill. The adjacent church was built in 1908, but several churches preceded it on the same plot of land.

The churches on the site have been known by various names, which are listed on the page about the church. Click on the MSBA Church tab to go to that page. The present church, now known as Mary S. Brown Memorial-Ames United Methodist Church, was originally named Mary S. Brown Memorial Chapel.

The purpose of this website is to disseminate information about the cemetery and church, collect additional information, enable correspondence among interested people, and work toward preserving the site for the future.

So what makes this site so important? The short answer is that the cemetery and church, taken together, form a strand of Pittsburgh’s history extending from the area’s earliest days to the present and relating to every part of it.  The cemetery and church have ties to Native American prehistory, the settlement of the area by colonists from Europe, the first wars fought by the new United States, the Civil War, industrialization, urbanization and, since the church is still a living ministry, events spanning the 20th century. We’re now into our third century at the same location!

Today the cemetery and church site now faces the dilemma of being a priceless treasure in need of restoration and conservation.

6 Responses to Home

  1. Jeff Ebdy says:

    An excellent well planned, easy to navigate, informative site..really enjoyed it…didn’t realise Simon
    Girty was connected..I’d read about him..a graphic novel by a Pa.native called Wilderness. Thankyou!

    • Helen Wilson says:

      Thanks for the feedback, Jeff. I’d like to tell readers that Jeff has a connection to Turner Cemetery. The last known person to be buried there was Edward Schenley Ebdy in 1880. The family later went back to England. Edward’s father was Charles Ebdy, a Civil War veteran who is buried in the GAR section of Homewood Cemetery.

      • admin says:

        I just added a link to well-known Greenfield historian Anita Kulina Smith’s e-book “In the Footsteps of Renegades” that has information about Simon Girty and the Girty/Turner family. It’s an interesting read with lots of illustrations.

  2. Ashley says:

    I really enjoyed the Turner Cemetery History Walk today. I just wanted to mention that one of your signs said that the closest maintained Native American burial mound is in Moundsville, WV, but the Hodgen’s Cemetery Mound in Tiltonsville, OH is actually closer. Worth checking out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hodgen's_Cemetery_Mound

    • Russell Lang says:

      The closest native american burial mound would be the Mc Kee’s Rocks burial mound. Check with the Carnegie Museum for more information.

      • admin says:

        The McKee’s Rocks Adena mound was partially excavated in the late 1800s by Carnegie Institute, so only part of it still remains. I haven’t visited the site yet. I understand it is in a relatively inaccessible industrial location. The historical marker says, “McKees Rocks Mound–Largest Native American burial mound in Western PA (16 ft high & 85 ft wide). It was hand-huilt by the Adena people between 200 BC and 100 AD and later used by the Hopewell people. Late 18th century excavations uncovered 33 skeletons and artifacts made of stone, copper, & shells.”
        On the other hand, Grave Creek Mound in Moundsville, WV, and Hodgen’s Cemetery Mound in Tiltonsville, OH, are sites that can be visited and are relatively complete.

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