In Dutchess County, burial of Persons of Color took place in separate, segregated cemeteries into the early 20th century. The last known such burial was Lemuel Jackson of Red Hook, buried in the Turkey Hill “Colored Cemetery” in the Town of Milan in 1927.
In addition to segregated cemeteries, there were segregated sections of larger cemeteries, often disallowing permanent markers. There were homestead or farm burials, as was the tradition especially prior to the Civil War. There were some, but few instances where highly regarded servants were buried in a predominantly White cemetery.
A piece of land measuring 50 feet by 130 feet was conveyed for the purpose of being a “Union burial ground for the colored inhabitants of Fishkill Landing (Beacon)…”
An 1870 Poughkeepsie newspaper quotes an older gentleman as saying that there was a burial ground for slaves in the area. As Main St. was being dug up, coffins were unearthed, at a blacksmith shop identified as located at 204 Main St., just south of Market Street.
The Storm family slave cemetery was rededicated in 1985. Betty Johnson, and other persons of color whose names are lost to time, are buried here. It is believed the last burial may have been 1848.
Fishkill, Cedar Hill
Sometimes called Osborne Hill Cemetery, it is called “Negro grounds” at Cedar Hill in the 1924 book, “Old Gravestones of Dutchess County.”
Milan, Turkey Hill
The last referenced burial of an African American so far identified is 1927. In 1935 this burial ground was re-cast as an “Indian” burial ground. Known as “Nancy Crow Lot” for Nancy Bradford, a prior Black owner, the racist epithet “Crow” became “Chief Crow.”
Walter Patrice is shown at the southeast corner of Yeoman’s cemetery where after a lifetime of searching he found the resting place of his maternal grandparents and family, early founders of the town of Milan. Identified through interviews with older residents and confirmed in newspaper accounts.
Red Hook, Cherry Street
The head gardener of Montgomery Place, Alexander Gilson, his mother and sister are buried here. As are servants of the Rokeby Estate, like Jane Cross (shown). Research into the cemetery by Historic Red Hook (which is located adjacent to the cemetery) continues.
Red Hook, “Colored Cemetery”
A change in the orientation of the road, and an expansion of a lake have obliterated what used to be known as the “Red Hook Colored Cemetery.”
Red Hook, Tivoli
Located on private property a significant distance from the road, the plot includes Civil War veteran David Wool. Each Memorial Day local veterans decorate his grave. Wool named his son, born after the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln Wool.
Rhinebeck Cemetery’s Section E was a gift from Mary Garretson in 1850, for the burial of the poor, and persons of color. Buried there, but adjacent to, or right at the line of Section E, is Andrew Frazier and his family. Read more…
East of the railroad tracks and the “main” cemetery of the Bangall Baptist Church, this section contains family members of Milan’s Rev. War veteran Andrew Frazier (see Rhinebeck burials). A son Andrew, his wife Nancy, and their son Edward. Another son, John and his wife Mary. A daughter Temperence who married Thomas Rowe. Private property, no access without permission. Read more…