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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Florence in Lauderdale County, Alabama — The American South (East South Central)
 

Hickory Hill Plantation Slave Cemetery

 
 
Hickory Hill Plantation Slave Cemetery Marker image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, September 2, 2019
1. Hickory Hill Plantation Slave Cemetery Marker
Inscription.  

Side 1:
To the south of this marker is the Hickory Hill Plantation Slave Cemetery which contains the remains of approximately 140 African-Americans. These individuals labored in the bonds of slavery during the period 1818 to 1865 and many as tenant farmers after the Civil War. In March 1818, General John Coffee purchased 1280 acres of land in this area and established his plantation, Hickory Hill. He built his home approximately 700 feet to the east of this site and 150 feet beyond the current walled cemetery. By 1819, Coffee had moved his family to its new home. He was dependent upon slaves for the operation of his plantation and owned as many as 85 slaves at one time. Coffee cultivated his plantation with slave labor until his death on July 7, 1833. Thereafter, his family continued the work using slave labor until slavery was abolished on December 18, 1865. It is believed that many African-American remained at Hickory Hill after the Civil War and tilled the land as tenant farmers. Following then common practices, a cemetery for slaves working on the Hickory Hill Plantation was located here. 500 feet to the west of the Coffee
Hickory Hill Plantation Slave Cemetery Marker image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, September 2, 2019
2. Hickory Hill Plantation Slave Cemetery Marker
Cemetery, adjacent to a large ravine, and on a north-south ridge-line.
(Continued on other side)
Side 2:
(Continued from other side)
It is believed that the first burial here occurred around 1830. Most of the graves were marked with fieldstones. Only one grave was identified with a modern-day marble marker which has been broken, and the inscription is not legible. Some of the African-Americans tenant farmers working at Hickory Hill Plantation after 1865, their descendants and descendants of former slaves are probably buried here. Names of individuals buried here and the dates of their death are unknown. As time passed the slave cemetery lay unattended and forgotten except for a few graves that received limited care. Decomposition of the caskets and bodies resulted in sunken, elongated and oval depressions in the soil. The grounds became overgrown with grass, trees, and dense underbrush. An early record, dated May 22, 1902, described the cemetery as containing one acre; however, its shape and location were not cited. In 2014, the Florence Historical Board, utilizing a large donation from Wal-Mart, began restoration of the Hickory Hill Plantation Slave Cemetery and the nearby Coffee Family Cemetery. The Board's goal was to preserve both cemeteries and the locations as historical sites.
 
Erected
Hickory Hill Plantation Slave Cemetery Marker image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, September 2, 2019
3. Hickory Hill Plantation Slave Cemetery Marker
2017 by Florence Historical Board.
 
Location. 34° 50.509′ N, 87° 41.549′ W. Marker is in Florence, Alabama, in Lauderdale County. Marker is on Surveyor Road near Cloverdale Road (Alabama Route 157), on the left when traveling west. Marker is south of the Walmart and west of the Coffee Cemetery. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2621 Cloverdale Rd, Florence AL 35633, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. John Coffee: 1772-1833 (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); General John Coffee (approx. mile away); Florence's Early Water Tower 1890 (approx. 1.2 miles away); Ante-Bellum Cotton Mills 1840 (approx. 1.6 miles away); Governor Hugh McVay Home Site and Cemetery (approx. 1.8 miles away); Homer Givens (approx. 1.8 miles away); Gilbert Elementary School (approx. 1.9 miles away); Larimore Home 1870 (approx. 1.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Florence.
 
Categories. African AmericansCemeteries & Burial SitesWar, US Civil
 

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Credits. This page was last revised on September 4, 2019. This page originally submitted on September 3, 2019, by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa. This page has been viewed 43 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on September 3, 2019, by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.
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