Lynchburg: Old City Cemetery

Lynchburg’s cemetery is one of the oldest in the country. Dating from 1806, it contains the remains of over 20,000 people, the majority of whom were African American. A brochure on the black history of the cemetery includes a few dozen biographies of those buried there. Some were slaves, other were beloved servants given plots by their employers, and later on, many were teachers, doctors, and other professionals. Apparently, Lynchburg’s thriving industry made for a sizable black middle class even in the 19th century.

It’s not the largest or most impressive cemetery, but quite interesting and atmospheric, especially in the very late afternoon when we visited.

The Confederate section is on the west slope and contains the remains of about 2,200 soldiers who died in the “pest house” or military hospital nearby during the Civil War. It’s pretty spooky, and I think we may have had a visitor at twilight (last photo).


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