The name Union Cemetery is derived from the fact that this burial site was created to inter deceased members affiliated with the African-American houses of worship in this area. Originally owned by James and Hester Till, the land for the cemetery was purchased on April 8, 1904 for $250.00 by Anna M. Johnson, Florence Whaley, Sarah A. Hemsley, Rebecca Viney, Mary E. York, and Mary E. Bedford. All of the women who purchased the land resided in Smyrna. Because of the racial segregation of cemeteries during the time period, it is believed that the Tills (residents of both Smyrna and Philadelphia) sold the land to secure a place in the Smyrna area where African-Americans would have a place to be buried. Until the late 1960s and early 1970s, families of the deceased buried in Union Cemetery would gather here on Memorial Day for a ceremony to remember their loved ones. While the cemetery fell into disrepair during the late 20th century, the local St. John’s Masonic Lodge No.7, Prince Hall Affiliated took over the care and maintenance of the cemetery in 2010. Union Cemetery continues to serve in the 21st century as a burial site for the Smyrna community.
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The Delaware Public Archives operates a historical markers program as part of its mandate. Markers are placed at historically significant locations and sites across the state. For more information on this program, please contact Sarah Denison at (302) 744-5016 or via email at Sarah.Denison@state.de.us.
LOCATION: Monrovia Ave, Smyrna