New Jersey City of Trenton Restores Mostly Forgotten Burial Ground of Black Civil War Veterans

A flag placement ceremony sponsored by the 6th Regiment U.S. Colored Troops re-enactors and the Kiwanis Club of Trenton at Locust Hill Cemetery in Trenton, N.J. on Sat. May 29, 2021. (Michael Mancuso | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com)

In a steady rain this past Saturday morning, more than 50 people attend a flag placement ceremony at Locust Hill Cemetery, Trenton’s largest and oldest remaining African American burial ground, which was neglected for many years but is now undergoing a major restoration effort.

During the ceremony, Boy Scouts from Trenton and Lawrence planted 10 flags in the cemetery sod, one for each of the Civil War veterans buried there, as names of the known veterans were read aloud. No headstones remain and the exact locations of their graves are unknown.

The identity of four of the veterans is “known only to God.”

“It’s our honor to try to restore this,” said Algernon Ward, president of 6th Regiment U.S. Colored Troops re-enactors, who co-sponsored the event with the Kiwanis Club of Trenton.

Ward said that Locust Hill was opened in 1876 and interred people from cemeteries at the Friends Meeting House on Hanover Street and The Mount Zion Church on Perry Street. “They were moved here and anybody (Black Civil War veterans) who died in that period was buried here.”

Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora in his remarks called Locust Hill, “An opportunity for Trenton to not only celebrate its revolutionary history, but the African-American experience in our city.”

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SOURCE: NJ.com, Michael Mancuso