African Jackson Cemetery

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
African Jackson Cemetery
Broken gravestones in the African Jackson Cemetery.jpg
Gravestones in the cemetery
African Jackson Cemetery is located in Ohio
African Jackson Cemetery
Location North of Piqua on Zimmerlin Rd.
Coordinates 40°9′25″N 84°14′7″W / 40.15694°N 84.23528°W / 40.15694; -84.23528Coordinates: 40°9′25″N 84°14′7″W / 40.15694°N 84.23528°W / 40.15694; -84.23528
Area 1 acre (0.40 ha)
Governing body Private
NRHP Reference # 82001475[1]
Added to NRHP December 16, 1982

The African Jackson Cemetery is a historic cemetery in the western part of the U.S. state of Ohio. Formed as the resting place for a colony of freedmen, the cemetery is the last extant significant component of a black settlement founded near the city of Piqua in the 1840s. It has been named a historic site because of its connection to the history of free people of color in pre-Civil War Ohio.

Beginning in the 1820s, Virginia landowner John Randolph of Roanoke wrote a succession of wills in which the treatment of his slaves was carefully addressed, but carelessly he contradicted himself in various documents and failed to provide clear direction regarding which will was to be followed. Accordingly, following his death in 1833, lawsuits were quickly filed over the proper probate of his estate, and twelve years passed before the litigation was finished and his six hundred slaves' futures were resolved. As ultimately resolved by the courts, his will provided for his slaves' emancipation and transportation to a free state, and western Ohio was chosen as their destination.[2]:1002 Money from Randolph's estate was used to buy 2,000 acres (810 ha) in Mercer County, but the area was home to the freedmen for only a short while before they left due to opposition by the whites living in the region; they soon migrated southward to Miami and Shelby Counties.[3] The resulting Randolph Slave Settlement, located just north of Piqua at the settlement of Rossville, was one of many rural black settlements in pre-Civil War Ohio.[2]:1002 Churches had already been established in Rossville as early as 1815, but the new settlers ultimately founded their own church, a Baptist congregation, in 1864.[4] Within the following decade, they established their own cemetery (1866) and school (1872),[3] and in contrast to the white Baptist cemetery, which was abandoned and thoroughly derelict by 1880,[4] the African cemetery remained active well into the twentieth century.[5]

By the early 1980s, comparatively little remained of the black settlement at Rossville;[2]:1002 the nearby York Rial House has been documented to be the home of a prominent member of the community,[2]:1016 but the cemetery is the primary component of the community still in existence. For this reason,[2]:1002 it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982, and the York Rial House followed it four years later.[1]


  1. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2010-07-09. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Owen, Lorrie K., ed. Dictionary of Ohio Historic Places. Vol. 2. St. Clair Shores: Somerset, 1999.
  3. ^ a b Randolph Settlement/Jackson Cemetery (African), Ohio Historical Society, 2008. Accessed 2013-12-20.
  4. ^ a b The History of Miami County, Ohio. Chicago: Beers, 1880, 397.
  5. ^ Rayner, John A. The First Century of Piqua, Ohio. Piqua: Magee Brothers, 1916, 192.