Slave Cemetery

Slave Cemetery (HMFZT)

Location: Somerset, VA 22972 Orange County
Buy Virginia State flags at!
Country: United States of America
Buy United States of America flags at!

N 38° 13.17', W 78° 10.369'

  • 0 check ins
  • 0 favorites

c. 1820s

The burial ground where you are standing is the final resting lace for many members of Montpelier's enslaved community. Slaves' belief in a spiritual world - originating in African religions - was reinforced by Christianity. This drawing shows slaves, in their "Sunday best," gathering for a burial. Clothing was one of the few ways available for slaves to express their individuality.

Stone Grave Marker
Some graves here were marked by the placement of field stone, but many had no markers. As a result, none of the gravesites can be associated with specific individuals. One slave, Sawney, who lived out his years at Montpelier, is likely buried here. In 1769 Sawney accompanied James Madison to college at Princeton. Back at Montpelier, he supervised a work crew that was responsible for several hundred acres of tobacco fields. In his final years he was a personal servant to Nelly Madison and was described by a family member as "the very picture of Time with his scythe."

3-D Image of Slave Cemetery
The Slave Cemetery is about one-half an acre in size with 38 visible grave depressions. Given that close to 200 slaves lived out their lives at Montpelier, the graves you are viewing represent just a small percentage of the total burials. Other unmarked cemeteries have been found at Montpelier and are likely additional slave burial grounds.

Grave Depressions Filled with Snow
The depressions, easily seen in this winter picture, are the result of coffins deteriorating and collapsing, allowing the soil above to settle. The Slave Cemetery was maintained by the enslaved community, who would have filled in these depressions as they appeared. The visible depressions mark the last burials, ones that would have settled after slavery was abolished.
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Monday, October 6th, 2014 at 6:43am PDT -07:00
Sorry, but we don't have a picture of this historical marker yet. If you have a picture, please share it with us. It's simple to do. 1) Become a member. 2) Adopt this historical marker listing. 3) Upload the picture.
Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17S E 747501 N 4233949
Decimal Degrees38.21950000, -78.17281667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 13.17', W 78° 10.369'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 13' 10.20" N, 78° 10' 22.14" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)540
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 53 Race Barn Rd, Somerset VA 22972, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

Is this marker missing? Are the coordinates wrong? Do you have additional information that you would like to share with us? If so, check in.

Nearby Markersshow on map
Check Ins  check in   |    all

Have you seen this marker? If so, check in and tell us about it.

Comments 0 comments

Maintenance Issues
  1. Is this marker part of a series?
  2. What historical period does the marker represent?
  3. What historical place does the marker represent?
  4. What type of marker is it?
  5. What class is the marker?
  6. What style is the marker?
  7. Does the marker have a number?
  8. What year was the marker erected?
  9. Who or what organization placed the marker?
  10. This marker needs at least one picture.
  11. Can this marker be seen from the road?
  12. Is the marker in the median?