Mercersburg in Franklin County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Zion Union Cemetery
By 1850 Mercersburg had 26 freedman households. Many former slaves worked in skilled trades as carpenters, carriage builders, blacksmiths, and quarrymen. A smaller squatter community west of town was known as Africa. An active Underground Railroad functioned throughout the area, and Africa, a few miles north of the Mason-Dixon Line, was a haven for freedmen and escaped slaves.
In 1863, when African Americans were given the opportunity to join the Union Army, many men from both communities answered the call. Forty-four Blacks from the Mercersburg area enlisted in either the 54th or 55th Massachusetts Infantry. Forty-four others joined various United States Colored Troops (USCT) units. Veterans known to be buried in Zion Union Cemetery represent the following Pennsylvania USCT regiments: 8th, 22nd, 24th, 25th, 32nd, 41st, and 127th. Additionally, the 54th Massachusetts, 55th Massachusetts, and the 2nd U.S. Colored Cavalry are included. The twelve soldiers from the 54th Massachusetts interred here, constitutes one of the largest known groups from that unit buried in a private cemetery.
54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Recruitment Poster; Courtesy of the Army Heritage and Education Center.
Photograph of Thomas McCullough buried in Zion Union Cemetery. Courtesy of Betty Stenger.
Erected by Pennsylvania Civil War Trails.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Pennsylvania Civil War Trails marker series.
Location. 39° 49.547′ N, 77° 54.23′ W. Marker is in Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, in Franklin County. Marker is on North Main Street (Route 16), on the left when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Mercersburg PA 17236, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Mercersburg (within shouting distance of this marker); Mercersburg Borough (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Archibald Irwin House (about 700 feet away); James Buchanan (about 700 feet away); John Darby, Lot 14, 1786 (approx. 0.2 miles away); Ambush at Mercersburg (approx. 0.2 miles away); Col. Murphy's Hotel (approx. 0.2 miles away); Citizens Seized (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Mercersburg.
Also see . . .
1. Article from the Herald-Mail (September 28, 2007) about efforts at the cemetery (Submitted on July 17, 2011, by Robert H. Moore, II of Winchester, Virginia.)
2. List of USCT veterans buried in the cemetery via Pa African Americans in the Civil War site. (Submitted on July 17, 2011, by Robert H. Moore, II of Winchester, Virginia.)
Categories. • Abolition & Underground RR • African Americans • Cemeteries & Burial Sites • War, US Civil •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on July 17, 2011, by Robert H. Moore, II of Winchester, Virginia. This page has been viewed 800 times since then. Photos: 1. submitted on July 17, 2011, by Robert H. Moore, II of Winchester, Virginia. 2. submitted on August 23, 2012, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. 3. submitted on June 1, 2015, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. 4. submitted on July 17, 2011, by Robert H. Moore, II of Winchester, Virginia. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.