The Carthagena Black Cemetery (Union Cemetery) is a remnant of approximately 70 documented rural black and mulatto rural settlements established throughout Ohio before the Civil War. After the Cincinnati riots against blacks in 1829, Quaker abolitionist Augustus Wattles led 15 black families north in 1835 to settle in Mercer County. he bought 189 acres in 1837 and set aside this cemetery by 1840, the date of the oldest remaining headstone. In 1840, early mulatto settler Charles Moore, platted the village of Carthagena. Mulatto clergymen Sam Jones and Harrison Lee were Underground Railroad conductors. By 1860, about 100 black and mixed-race families totaling 600 people owned more than 10,000 acres in the adjacent townships of Butler, Franklin, Granville, and Marion. Four protestant churches, the earliest in 1841, and three schools were built in the black settlement. (Continued on other side)
The black cemetery is adjacent to the cemetery of St. Aloysius Church, built by German Catholics in 1878. The remaining portions of the ornate wrought iron fence mark the extent Catholic cemetery. Although the schools became integrated, the black churches closed in the 1930's. After U.S. Route 127 was widened in 1952, only 240 headstones remained. The last burial was in 1957. The Jennings family moved away in the 1950's, marking the end of the black
settlement of Carthagena. Beginning in the 1970's, the Mercer County Genealogical Society recorded all information from the headstones. Nine black and mulatto veterans were identified-one from the War of 1812 and eight from the Civil War. The Mercer County Genealogical Society composed this commemorative text to share an important time in Ohio history.