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Graveyard for Enslaved at Belmead

February 24, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

A quarter mile or so from the Belmead mansion is a graveyard. I'm not sure anyone knows how many people are actually buried there. The site is on a hilltop overlooking fields and forests that were once part of the Belmead plantation and later on the St Emma school. For many years enslaved people were buried on the site.

Philip St John Cocke had 124 enslaved people on Belmead in 1860. I don't know of any records of burials in the cemetery. Only one of these graves is marked by a large headstone. A couple of others have a small stone next to the cross. A plaque is mounted on a large boulder with the names of 45 people buried in the cemetery. Interestingly, some of the dates indicate the burials happened after the civil war. The large headstone marks the grave of Napoleon B. Drew whose life spanned 1843-1925. He would have known Philip St John Cocke, the plantation owner as well as the Drexel and Morrels, founders of the two schools. 

Another cemetery exists a quarter mile away from this one. That cemetery was for the sisters and other members of the community, probably white only. I'll have images from there in an upcoming post.

Graves of EnslavedGraves of EnslavedGraveyard on Belmead for the enslaved


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