About Evergreen Cemetery

What is Evergreen Cemetery?

from Historic African American Cemeteries of Virginia:

Established in 1897, Evergreen Cemetery is the resting place for our nation’s most prominent leaders of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

When was Evergreen Cemetery created?

from Selden Richardson’s Built by Blacks:

[Evergreen Cemetery] was created in 1891. It was laid out by the Evergreen Cemetery Association on a high ridge overlooking the valley formed by Stony Run and Gillies Creek; it was planned to be the African American equivalent of Richmond’s high-style Hollywood Cemetery for whites.  From below, dense woods obscure the effect of the massed monuments on its hillside, and the historic gravestones extend deep into the woods, where the dead are forgotten amid overgrown paths, upturned monuments and anonymous graves.

Who is buried in Evergreen Cemetery?

There are an estimated 5000 plots in Evergreen Cemetery for African-Americans, including Maggie L. Walker, John Mitchell, Jr., A.D.Price, and Rev.J.Andrew Bowler .

Where is Evergreen Cemetery?

map

Evergreen is in the East End of Richmond, near the intersection of Stony Run Road and East Richmond Road.  It is in the Oakwood-Chimborazo National Historic District.

Who owns Evergreen Cemetery?

Until the 1970’s, Evergreen Cemetery was owned and maintained by the Evergreen Cemetery Association.  In 1970, the association sold its more than 5,000 plots to Metropolitan Memorial Services, which went bankrupt in 1973.  A group of black funeral-home directors bought the site at auction, but the decline continued before they sold it.

Why is the cemetery so overgrown?

From Style Weekly’s Saving Evergreen:

Evergreen’s charter dates to 1891. Since then it has been up to families to maintain their relatives’ graves. In 1919 the city ordered that any cemetery established after that date must have perpetual-care funds to ensure upkeep. Evergreen and those cemeteries in operation before then were exempted. Today, many who once cared for the plots or paid to have it done have died. Younger families have moved away or left them idle.

How can I help?

You can volunteer to research burials, and help clear and maintain the cemetery itself.

27 Responses to About Evergreen Cemetery

  1. Tracy Helvey says:

    Hello,
    My name is Tracy Helvey and I am with Richmond asoc. of Paranormal Seekers. I would like to ask who may I contact about doing a professional investigation at evergreen. I have been there before with other groups and know for fact that it’s very active.
    A speedy response wopuld be greatly appriciated.

  2. Amy George says:

    Tracy,
    Please contact John Shuck.
    http://www.facebook.com/jgshuck?sk=info

  3. Lisa Lopez says:

    Does anyone know how to get in touch with Shawn Lyman?

  4. cynthia cummings says:

    June 5,2012 I went to evergreen cemetery and the gates were locked. Who do you contact to get in? The gates were opened on Easter Monday and the cemetery was in complete disaray. I;m sadden that when yo want to visit a loved one;s grave you can:t even get into the place. If i had the resources i woud have my loved ones moved. This is a disgrace.! I feel as though the city or the county should take the resposibility for the upkeep…It makes Virginia look bad. Also results were made when they claimed a black cemetery was under a parking deck. Simple politics.

    • Amy George says:

      Cynthia, I agree with you that the cemetery is in disgrace and that the NAACP should be more vocal about this burial ground as it also a final resting place for persons born into slavery as well as historical figures like Maggie Walker.

  5. H.E.JEFFRIES says:

    Try contacting Mr. John Shuck. A very Kind man. He helped me to locate my Dad’s grave.off
    of Jennie Scher Rd…at Evergreen Cementary. I woild be happy to start an investment venture,
    if I can get other investors involved ? It should be cleaned up and used as a PERPETUAL
    CARE CEMENTARY. Reach me at heed382@aol.com

  6. Samantha says:

    Im looking for info for certain people who are buried here.

    Who can I contact to get burial records and possible stories?

    • jgshuck says:

      Contact UK corporation at 804-643-4072 or woodlandevergreen@gmail.com

      • heed382@aol.com says:

        MY FATHER IS BURIED THERE ! Charles V. Jeffries..died around 1950. I also have an AUNT BURIED THERE, Josephine Winston and two uncles.named WINSTON. A SISTER-FANNIE JONES. Probably other relatives as well. What can I do to help? Manning Funeral Home should have records as well. Horace Jeffries Horace E Jeffries heed382@aol.com

      • jgshuck says:

        We did uncover the gravestone of a Josephine Winston who died in 1960. See: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSln=winston&GSiman=1&GScid=50175&GRid=97125667& All of the grave markers uncovered at Evergreen are on Find A Grave. See: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=cr&CRid=50175 There is a group of us working at adjacent East End cemetery and we are gather information and tell the life stories of some of those buried there. There will be a photo exhibition opening September 4 at the University of Richmond downtown campus showing some these stories and the work there. Right now there are no volunteers working at Evergreen that I know of.

      • heed382@aol.com says:

        Please, Please keep me posted. I was about, 11 or 12 when my DAD died. I attended college in N.C., and N.Y.C.., returned to Richmond, in 1969. I have my own reflections about the yesteryears…and I am sure there are thousands of similar experiences. Horace Jeffries e-mail: heed382@aol.com Horace E Jeffries heed382@aol.com

    • heed382@aol.com says:

      Hello: There are many non-prominent, African Americans buried in Evergreen Cemetery. A serious story should be told about the hundreds of Blacks buried there that are first and second generation individuals that were slaves or/ grandchildren of slaves. The story must be told. I just returned from Wilmington,N.C. and there is a wonderful exhibit in Wilmington, N.C. entitled: REFLECTIONS…demonstrating the divergent two environments under segregation in the SOUTH. The story must be told. I would love to present that evidence, if I can get funding/honorarium? My forebears were slaves…and our story has not been told…SAD, SAD !! Horace Jeffries Horace E Jeffries heed382@aol.comerious

    • heed382@aol.com says:

      Samantha: What, a paradox. Think about it. Both prominent and non-prominent African Americans are buried in EVERGREEN CEMENTERY. It did not make any difference if one was prominent or/ non-prominent. It was an era..under segregation. The law did not make a distinction whether one was prominent or/ non-prominent. What a paradox. If you were African-American..you were buried in EVERGREEN. Horace Jeffries Horace E Jeffries heed382@aol.com

  7. Mike says:

    This might be an excellent project for an organization like the Boy Scouts or similar groups to enlist as volunteers for merit badges or Eagle Scout projects. I’d help if I lived there. Maybe the historical society? Need to get financing for once it is cleared to maintain though…

  8. jackie otoole says:

    Is Evergreen Cemetery considered eligible for the National Register of Historic Places?
    It seems like it meets 1-2 of the following criteria:
    c) a birthplace or grave of a historical figure of outstanding importance if there is no other appropriate site or building directly associated with his productive life; or

    d) a cemetery that derives its primary significance from graves of persons of transcendent importance, from age, from distinctive design features, or from association with historic events; or

    Are there any benefits to being on the National Register?

    https://www.nps.gov/nr/publications/bulletins/nrb41/nrb41_12.htm

  9. Horace Jeffries says:

    YES, IT DEFINITELY QUALIFIES. THERE ARE MANY NOTABLE AFRICAN AMERICANS BURIED IN EVERGREEN. i.e, Maggie Walker,even the noted African American- Mortician.Walter Manning.
    My dad is buried there, a well known business man FROM THE 40′ AND 50;S.
    Horace Jeffries

  10. Bill Rose says:

    Please update the “map” link after “Where is Evergreen Cemetery?” on this page:
    https://evergreencemeteryva.wordpress.com/evergreen-cemetery-past/

    …so that it uses the following URL:
    http://map.richmondgov.com/?lon=-77.38835309455&lat=37.53334814015&zl=16

    Bill Rose
    Richmond GIS

  11. Pingback: Interlude: East End and Evergreen Cemetery Cleanup Day | Backyardaeology

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