A Lost Cemetery for Enslaved Persons Rediscove…

At a Tallahassee golf course, near the 7th hole, has been found a cemetery dating to the days of the American Civil War. With a naked eye can be seen barely-there depressions in the grass. But thanks to continued local remembrance of a graveyard for enslaved persons in the area, and a report based on historical records made to the country club, an archaeological team from the National Park Service brought ground-penetration radar (GPR) to the site in 2019 to investigate.

The GPR detected roughly 40 graves. They were the right shape, and the right depth, to be graves. The finding was then confirmed by human remains detection dogs.

Based on historical records, the graveyard has been connected with a plantation owned by the family of Edward Houston. The Houstons were a prominent slave-owning family in Savannah, Georgia. When Tallahassee was being settled by white colonists, two Houston family members purchased a half square mile in 1826. The records demonstrate that this would not have been a graveyard for white residents of the plantation, for the family. It would have been a final resting place for the enslaved persons who worked the plantation.

At this time, there are no plans to excavate in the cemetery, and disturb the dead. Efforts are focused on finding descendants of those who might be buried there.