Barnett Cemetery

From Ohio History Central
Revision as of 18:11, 24 April 2013 by (Talk)

The Barnett Cemetery is principally an African-American cemetery in Pike County, Ohio.

Located near the Eden Baptist Church in Pike County, the Barnett Cemetery was named for the Barnett family. The Barnetts were African Americans and formerly had been slaves in Virginia. Upon gaining their freedom, the Barnetts moved to Pike County, where they became farmers. They also assisted escaped slaves to freedom along the Underground Railroad.

The cemetery remained in use from 1849 to 1941. The first recorded burial was of Chana Huse, who was the grandmother by marriage of Madison Hemings. Hemings was a former slave of President Thomas Jefferson. While much evidence suggests that Jefferson fathered several children with Sally Hemings, one of his slaves, it does not appear that Madison Hemings, although he was one of Hemings's sons, was a descendent of this liaison. Madison Hemings's daughter, Julia, also was interred in the cemetery, and it is speculated that Madison, himself, also is buried here.

Unfortunately, the cemetery has fallen into disrepair in recent years. Still, it illustrates the prejudice that existed in Ohio during the years before the American Civil War. Ohio was a state that did not allow slavery. Nevertheless, that did not mean that whites were open to granting African Americans equal rights. Free blacks found that it was difficult to get fair treatment, and they often formed their own communities and institutions away from whites.