A historic African American cemetery in Penbrook, Dauphin County, PA

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Free Persons of Color

Underground Railroad

US Colored Troops

Year of Jubilee (1863)

Lincoln Cemetery, Dauphin County

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A preservation organization has been set up to look after this cemetery.  The contact address is below.  Contributions for the care and preservation of this cemetery may be sent to this organization:
SOAL: Saving Our Ancestors' Legacy

Very old tombstone at Lincoln CemeteryLincoln Cemetery was opened in 1877 and older graves were moved here from the old Wesley Union M.E. burial ground that was located on Herr Street near Ridge Avenue (modern day Sixth Street).

 This tombstone, the inscription on which has worn away, is of a style popular in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.  It is possible that it pre-dates even the Herr Street site, having possibly been moved there in the late 1850's from the old African American burial grounds next to Meadow Lane and Fourth Street.

Tombstone of Ephraim Slaughter, Civil War veteran.Ephraim Slaughter was one of the last two surviving Civil War veterans in Harrisburg.  The other was John Henry Barton, who served in the 7th U.S.C.T. regiment, and who is also buried at Lincoln Cemetery.

Escaping from slavery in North Carolina in 1863, Slaughter joined Company B of the 3rd N.C. Colored Infantry, which became the 37th U.S.C.T. infantry regiment.  He moved to Harrisburg well after the war and joined the local African American G.A.R., David Stevens Post 520. He died on February 17, 1943, seven months after Barton's death.  Harrisburg American Legion Post  733 is named in his honor.

Calobe Jackson notes, " I just found that Ephriam Slaughter entered the USCT as Ephraim Newsome. Newsome was the surname of Ephraim's owner when he was a slave in NC. Pension records list both names. Ephraim Newsome is the name listed on USCT Memorial in Washington DC." (email 26 October 2009)


Detail of Civil War Monument showing names of sponsors.One of the most significant monuments in Lincoln Cemetery is inscribed, "This monument erected in memory of the colored soldiers and sailors of Dauphin C. who gave their lives for the Union in the rebellion and to the unknown dead by a benevolent society composed of the following persons  Jane Chester, Laura Robinson, Cath. McClintic, Matilda Greenley, Hagar Hoober, Mary Wolfe, Elisha Marshall, Benj. J. Foote, Jas. Stocks, Jas. Greenley, Geo. E. Douglass, Jos. B. Popel."



Tombstone of William T. Lee, 55th Massachusetts Regt.In 1863, Harrisburg African American men traveled in large numbers to Boston to enlist in two of the first state regiments to accept men of their race.  

One of these men, William T. Lee was 21 years old when he was mustered into Company H of the 55th Massachusetts Infantry regiment.  Mustering in on June 6, 1863, Lee was probably one of many "overflow" enlistments which began to fill out the ranks of the 55th after the ranks of the 54th were full.  Three days after Lee was mustered in, 135 more men left Harrisburg for Boston to enlist in this regiment.


Tombstone of Thomas J. Miller, 5th Massachusetts Cavalry.Another Massachusetts "Colored" regiment, but lesser known, is the 5th Cavalry, recruited at the same time as the 54th and 55th infantry.  Born in Baltimore, Thomas J. Miller enlisted in Company G of the 5th Cavalry at age 21 on March 4, 1864.  The 5th Massachusetts Cavalry was one of the first units to enter Richmond after the fall of the Confederate capital in 1865.  Miller settled in Harrisburg after the war.  (for more on this regiment, click here)

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Known Burials at Lincoln Cemetery:
Surnames, unknown and A-C  |  Surnames D-G | Surnames H-L | Surnames M-P | Surnames Q-S | Surnames T-Z

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