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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Syracuse in Onondaga County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Rose Hill Cemetery / African Americans on the North Side

The Freedom Trail

 

— The Underground Railroad —

 
Rose Hill Cemetery / African Americans on the North Side Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, August 17, 2019
1. Rose Hill Cemetery / African Americans on the North Side Marker
Inscription.  By the 1820s and 1830s, families such as the Allens, Jacksons, Reeds, Robinsons, Thompsons, Wales, and Wandells formed a coherent black community.

Rose Hill Cemetery
Established in 1841, Rose Hill was the burial place of many people who lived and died in Syracuse in the mid-19th century. Syracuse's first mayor, Harvey Baldwin, was buried here, along with Oliver Teall, an Erie Canal superintendent, and many African Americans, including Thomas Leonard, who helped Harriet Powell escape in 1839; William Briscoe, Civil War veteran and well-known caretaker of the Police Office; and Enoch Reed and Prince Jackson, who helped rescue William "Jerry" Henry in 1851. Part of the cemetery was set aside as a potter's field and divided into areas for Africans, Irish, English, German, and "Americans." Most of the Rose Hill burials are no longer marked with stones, but many hundreds of Syracusans still rest here.

African Americans on Syracuse’s North Side
A small number of African Americans were among the earliest post-Native American settlers in central New York. Two African Americans were boiling salt here
Marker detail: Newspaper advertisement image. Click for full size.
from the Syracuse Standard
2. Marker detail: Newspaper advertisement
William Briscoe,
Whitewashing, coloring,
and
Hard Finishing,
Done with Neatness and Despatch. Orders may be left at the Police Office, or at his residence, No. 89 Harrison Street.
Click or scan to see
this page online
in 1774. An African American doctor settled among the Onondagas in the 1770s. Most likely, they had escaped from slavery to find freedom among these Haudenosaunee people. Most settled in what is today Syracuse. Originally they settled on the north side; later many lived on the near east side.

By the 1820s and 1830s, families such as the Allens, Jacksons, Reeds, Robinsons, Thompsons, Wales, and Wandells formed a coherent black community. Working in transportation and service occupations (with jobs as cooks, barbers, school teachers, whitewashers, laundresses, farriers, cartmen, and laborers), they bought property, created community organizations (including the A.M.E. Zion Church), and promoted the Underground Railroad.

Isaac Wales, born in slavery in Maryland, bought his freedom for $80 and settled in Syracuse in 1824. He bought a house on the corner of Ash and Lodi Streets, next to Richard Wandell, cartman. Before 1830, Francis and Jane Allen bought a house on Catawba Street. Their son, Francis H. Allen, a barber, was the last surviving participant of the Jerry Rescue at his death in 1908. Mary Robinson owned two houses near the corner of Catherine Street and Burnet Avenue, next door to Francis Lando, the last person living in Syracuse known to have been born in slavery in New York. The Robinson houses remained in the same family until the 1960s.
 
Erected by
Marker detail: Members of the Robinson family, from photos found in Mary Robinson's house image. Click for full size.
Courtesy of Onondaga Historical Association
3. Marker detail: Members of the Robinson family, from photos found in Mary Robinson's house
Preservation Association of Central New York, City of Syracuse, and Onondaga Historical Association. (Marker Number 10.)
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Abolition & Underground RRAfrican AmericansCemeteries & Burial SitesCivil Rights. In addition, it is included in the African Methodist Episcopal Zion (AME Zion) Church ⛪ series list.
 
Location. 43° 3.488′ N, 76° 8.609′ W. Marker is in Syracuse, New York, in Onondaga County. Marker is on Lodi Street east of Douglas Street, on the left when traveling east. Marker is located beside the sidewalk near the northwest corner of Rose Hill Cemetery, which is now a city park. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Syracuse NY 13203, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Enoch Reed (approx. ¼ mile away); George and Rebecca Barnes House (approx. 0.3 miles away); Prince Jackson House Site (approx. 0.4 miles away); Gunpowder Blast (approx. half a mile away); Erie Canal (approx. 0.6 miles away); Erie Boulevard Was Once the Erie Canal (approx. 0.6 miles away); How Much Does a Canal Boat Weigh? (approx. 0.6 miles away); Poster Project (approx. 0.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Syracuse.
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Syracuse Freedom
Marker detail: Allen/Schneider & Mary Robinson Houses image. Click for full size.
By Jane Kowalik-Daily
4. Marker detail: Allen/Schneider & Mary Robinson Houses
The Allen/Schneider house (left) on Catawba Street, near the Townsend Street corner.
Mary Robinson’s houses, (right) at Catherine Street near Burnet Avenue, remained in her family until the 1960s.
Trail & Underground Railroad
 
Also see . . .  Rose Hill Cemetery (Find A Grave). The cemetery was established in 1841, covering an area of approx. 22 acres. It was abandoned as an active cemetery in the early 1900s, and converted into a city park in 1910. There are a lot of burials here but over time the stones have been lost or destroyed. A number of the graves are sunken. Some estimates are that over 10,000 unmarked burials are present. (Submitted on September 6, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 
 
Marker detail: Sites Relating to the Underground Railroad, Abolitionism, and African American Life image. Click for full size.
By H.H. Bailey, Bird’s-eye View of Syracuse, N.Y., 1874
5. Marker detail: Sites Relating to the Underground Railroad, Abolitionism, and African American Life
Standing Sites
1 • Mary Robinson Houses
2 • Allen/Schneider House
3 • Rose Hill Cemetery
Sites No Longer Standing
4 • Samuel Jackson House
5 • Prince Jackson House
6 • Richard Wendell House
7 • Isaac Wales, Jr. House
8 • Enoch Reed House
9 • Church of the Messiah
10 • Barnes House
Rose Hill Cemetery Marker<br>(<i>wide view • looking east along Lodi Street</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, August 17, 2019
6. Rose Hill Cemetery Marker
(wide view • looking east along Lodi Street)
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on September 6, 2019. It was originally submitted on September 3, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 240 times since then and 72 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on September 4, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.   2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on September 6, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.

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Jul. 29, 2021