|Copyright 2018 The Union Foundation All rights reserved.
Established in 1864, the Union Baptist Cemetery is one of the oldest African-
American cemeteries in Hamilton County at its original location purchased,
maintained, and still used by a black congregation. Prominent African Americans,
including Reverend David Leroy Nickens, the first Pastor of the Union Baptist
Church of Cincinnati; Honorable George W. Hays, Jr.; and Jennie D. Porter,
founder and principal of the Harriet Beecher Stowe School, are buried in the
cemetery. Many former slaves, anti-slavery advocates, and active members of the
Underground Railroad are interred here.
United American Cemetery is in Columbia Township north of Duck Creek with an
entrance east of Kennedy Avenue. The cemetery was founded in 1844 by United
Colored American Association and dedicated three years later. The Association
was incorporated in 1882. In 1884 the United Colored American Association
owned one and one-half acres of land. It is said to be the oldest Black cemetery in
Ohio. The United Colored Association’s early officers included Robert Gordon, a
former slave who came to Cincinnati in 1847 and purchased his freedom and
became a wealthy coal dealer. Also interred at United American Cemetery is
Hartwell Parham was an affluent tobacco merchant and father of William Parham –
the first Black nominated to the Ohio State Legislature. United American
Cemetery is the final resting place of Wendell P. Dabney (1865-1959), who in
1908 founded and edited in Cincinnati one of first Black newspapers in the United
States called The Union. Other dignitaries buried in the cemetery include John
Isom Gaines – a pioneer Black educator whose remains were first interred in
Avondale Black Cemetery and later moved in 1884 to the current resting place.
Horace Sudduth, a 20th century real estate mogul and financier, owned the
Manse Hotel in Walnut Hills, where the most prominent Black celebrities stayed,
such as Duke Ellington. In addition, there are over 100 veterans dating back to
the Civil War buried in these cemeteries. There is no written account of a burial
site in Madisonville for Blacks prior to the United American Cemetery.
The cemetery became increasingly neglected over the years. Cincinnati City
Councilman Charles P. Taft, trustee of Spring Grove Cemetery was appointed to
operate United American Cemetery. In 1968 he transferred the cemetery to the
Union Baptist Church.
The goal of The Union Foundation is to revitalize both cemeteries to their original
beauty, reclamation of forestry overgrowth, restore damaged and sunken historic
headstones, digitize existing burial records, and repair access roads and fences.
The Foundation has in the past partnered with community volunteers and church
members to achieve some landscaping tasks.
However, we have a bigger dream for these cemeteries. We want to preserve
historic gravesites and markers for future generations to learn of the contributions
of those buried at these sites. We also have a dream to add walking trails where
visitors can view these historic sites. We have a dream to add garden spaces for
cremains, plus benches for reflection on our past, and a mausoleum.
We believe that revitalization of the cemeteries will not only preserve past history,
but will also enhance the neighborhoods where the cemeteries are located.
Our financial goal for this project is $150,000. We humbly ask that you will partner
with The Union Foundation to help us preserve and restore these historical sites.
Any donation to this project would be greatly appreciated.
|ABOUT THE UNION BAPTIST AND
UNITED AMERICAN CEMETERIES