The Columbus City Graveyards
Page Design 2008 by David K. Gustafson
Content 1985 by Donald M. Schlegel

Used with permission
(original on file)




The "Colored" Graveyard




As stated in the history of the North Graveyard, in 1841 Columbus City Council ordered "that the Colored People be buried under the Direction of the North Sexton, and in the same manner that Strangers are buried." This order probably meant that Black residents of Columbus were denied the purchase of family lots and were forced to be buried in the same single grave section as paupers and unknown persons, undoubtedly the most undesirable portion of the graveyard.

In response to this treatment, a group of Black Columbusites established their own graveyard in Franklin Township in 1849.1 On October 18, 1849 articles of agreement were signed whereby Henry Briggs promised to sell to David Sullivan and "others in behalf of the subscribers" a four-acre tract of land in return for payment of $200 over the next six months. The deed specifically stated that the agreement was made "for the purpose of purchasing a place for a burying ground of Franklin County, Ohio." David Sullivan, whose name is the only one appearing as a purchaser in the deed, was a forty-eight year old, Virginia-born, Black shoemaker, who lived with his family in the Fifth Ward, on the south side of Columbus.2

The plot of ground was located on the west side of Brown Road and a little way south of the southern end of Green Lawn Cemetery, which had been opened the previous summer; the site is now bisected by Ransburg avenue. It measured about 356 feet along Brown Road and its average depth was 285 feet. The 1856 county map calls the plot the "Colored Grave Yard" and in the 1872 county atlas it is labled simply "GY" for graveyard.