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About Francis Julius LeMoyne, Sr.
Francis Julius LeMoyne (September 4, 1798 - October 14, 1879) was a 19th century American medical doctor and philanthropist from Washington, Pennsylvania. Responsible for creating the first crematory in the United States, he was also an abolitionist, founder of Washington's first public library (known as Citizen's Library), co-founder of the Washington Female Seminary, and an instrumental benefactor to the LeMoyne Normal and Commercial School (now LeMoyne-Owen College), to which he made a $20,000 donation in 1870. He graduated from Washington College (now Washington & Jefferson College) in 1815. Fearing that decomposing bodies in local cemeteries were contaminating the water supplies and making the citizens sick, Dr. Lemoyne set out to build the first crematory in the United States. The crematory was finished in 1876 on his own land, perched atop a location known locally as Gallow's Hill. The first cremation took place on December 6, 1876. In 1901, after 41 more cremations were performed (with Dr. LeMoyne being the third), the crematory was closed.