Union Baptist Cemetery at 4933 Cleves Warsaw Pike, in the Price Hill neighborhood, is a registered historic district in Cincinnati, Ohio, listed in the National Register of Historic Places on September 20, 2002.
By Chris Hanlin
The Union Baptist Cemetery, located in Price Hill, was founded in 1865. It was the second African American cemetery to be established in this region, and it’s the oldest still in its original location. (An older Black cemetery in Avondale was moved to Madisonville in 1883-4 and is now called the United American Cemetery).
Union Baptist Cemetery was founded and is still maintained by Union Baptist Church, the city’s oldest African American Baptist congregation. The cemetery was founded under the leadership of Rev. William P. Newman.
William P. Newman had been into slavery in Virginia in 1815. He escaped and and made his way to Ohio, where he enrolled at Wilberforce University. After graduating, he was ordained to the ministry. He became pastor of Union Baptist Church in 1848, but when the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 was passed, Newman feared that he and his family might be re-captured and taken South. So Newman and his family moved to Canada. Newman later spent some years in Haiti before returning to Cincinnati, where he was appointed pastor of Union Baptist Church for a second time in 1863. Newman and the church trustees began looking for land in 1864 and purchased this tract the following year. Persons buried here include:
James A. Allen – First African American Detective in Cincinnati
James A. Allen worked as a steamboat hand, a boxer, and a coachman before 1886, when he became one of the first African American police officers in Cincinnati. Three years later, he was the first African American to make the rank of detective. He repeatedly recovered high-vale stolen goods, and a local paper said his knowledge and skill were “remarkable.”
Newton “Newt” Allen – Baseball Player and Manager
It used to be customary to call Newt Allen a “Negro Leagues” ballplayer, but thanks to policy changes from Major League Baseball, we can now call him what he was – a major league ballplayer. During the 1920’s and ’30’s, he was a phenomenal second baseman for the Kansas City Monarchs, and he was among the fastest baserunners of his generation.
John Anderson – Valet to Ulysses S. Grant
John Anderson was borncinto slavery in Tennessee. Just prior to the Civil War, he purchased his freedom with money he had earned working overtime. He later said it was a bad investment, since all persons held in bondage were liberated shortly after. During the war, he served as valet at U.S. Grant’s headquarters prior to the Battle of Vicksburg.
A. Lee Beaty – Attorney
Born in 1869, Albert Lee Beaty attended Gaines High School and Cincinnati Law School. He was a two-term member of the Ohio State Legislature. Then he became an assistant U.S. district attorney for southern Ohio, the first African American to hold this post. During the 1920’s, he successfully prosecuted a group of corrupt police officers and had them sent to prison.
Powhatan Beaty – Winner of the Congressional Medal of Honor
By 1864, Powhatan Beaty was a sergeant in the Union Army. At the Battle of Chaffin’s farm, all of the other offers in his company were killed. Beaty took up the regimental flag and led a successful charge which dislodged the Confederates from their fortified positions. After the war, Beaty became a successful Shakespearean actor.
Charles W. Bell – Teacher and Journalist
In 1887, Bell was perhaps the first Black teacher ever to be assigned to teach White students in a Cincinnati Public School – he taught them penmanship. Bell went on to write for several newspapers, and he gave the opening speech at the 1882 convention of the Colored Press Association of Ohio. Ten years later, he founded a short-lived newspaper called the Ohio Republican.
Ernest and Edward Birch – Architects
The Birch Brothers – Ernest and Edward – were among the first black architects to practice in Cincinnati. They became partners in 1908. Both of them designed homes, and Edward designed the Brown’s Chapel AME Church.
Myron “Tiny” Bradshaw – Jazz Musician
Born in 1907, Myron Bradshaw became a jazz and rhythm-and-blues bandleader, singer, pianist, and composer. His biggest hit was “Well Oh Well” in 1950. The following year he recorded, “The Train Kept A-Rollin,” which has since been covered by multiple artists. Please go to YouTube, search for “Tiny Bradshaw playlist,” and give him a listen.
Irving Brown – Centenarian
Irving Brown is typical of the many persons buried in this cemetery who were formerly held in bondage. He was born in Warsaw, Kentucky, in 1808. He came to Cincinnati after Emancipation and lived to be 102. Asked if he had rules for living to attain this age, he said, “I ain’t got none. I just lives right with God.”
Consuelo Clark – Stewart First African American Female Physician Licensed in Ohio
In 1884, at the age of 23, Consuelo Clark received a medical degree from the Boston University School of Medicine. According to historian Nikki Taylor, Consuelo Clark was the first African American woman licensed to practice medicine in Ohio. She married attorney W. R. Stewart and moved to Akron, where she developed a medical practice serving the community of white immigrant steel mill workers. People of every color and religious faith attended her funeral.
John H. Coleman – Pioneering Realtor
John H. Coleman was one of the first black realtors in Cincinnati. Born in Covington, Kentucky in 1868, he began pursuing real estate while employed by Cincinnati’s Methodist Book Concern. He opened his own office in 1919. He was also a 32nd degree Mason, president of the Walnut Hills Welfare Association, and president of the Negro Protective Association.
Rufus Conrad – One of the founders of Louisville’s National Medical College
Rufus Conrad was born in Tennessee around 1833. By the mid-1850’s, he was running a school for African American children in Nashville. He came to Cincinnati, got ordained as a minister, and became a physician. In 1888, he was one of the founders of the Louisville National Medical College (shown here), the first medical college in Kentucky to accept African Americans.
Clarence Duval – Baseball Team Mascot
During the 1880’s, Clarence Duval was the bat boy for the Chicago White Stockings. The team considered Duval a sort of “good luck charm” in a way that was patently racist. Still, Duval accompanied the team on the 1888-‘9 Spaulding World Tour. Historian Rob Bauer has written several historical novels loosely based on the life of Clarence Duval. Duval died in 1899.
Isaac Craft – Inventor who improved steam engines
In 1869, Isaac Craft patented a “balanced valve” for a steam engine. This was not, however, his first invention. Two years prior, a local newspaper noted that Craft had “invented a piece of machinery, now extensively used in connection with the steam engine, but which goes by the name of the man who stole the idea from him, taking advantage of Craft’s poverty.”
Bertram Ward Ferguson – WWI Veteran and Bandleader
Bertram Ferguson is typical of the many, many veterans of WWI who are buried here. He was born in Ripley, Ohio, in 1889. He enlisted in December 1917 and was sent to France. He came home from the war, married Lucille Buckner, and worked as a barber. A skilled musician, he was also the bandleader for the Sinai Masonic Shrine Band, which performed widely.
Phillip B. Ferguson – Underground Railroad Conductor and Practical Builder
For a decade, Rev. Philip B. Ferguson was one of the most active Underground Railroad conductors in southern Ohio. He was also a boss carpenter and construction supervisor. In 1872, Ferguson oversaw construction of a large, new schoolhouse and was referred to as the project’s “supervising architect.”
T. Spencer Finley – Theatre Manager
T. Spencer Finley was a successful actor, comedian, and producer in Washington, DC, before coming to Cincinnati, where he took over management of the Lincoln and Lyceum theaters. Wendell Dabney said that the Lyceum, under Finley, was “one of the greatest theaters of our race in this country.” When Finley died, he got a nice obituary in Billboard magazine.
Elijah Forte – Killed in the explosion of the steamboat United States
Every cemetery contains some tragic stories. On December 4, 1868, near Warsaw, Indiana, the steamboat United States collided with the steamboat America. At least 100 people were killed. One of those was Elijah Forte. He was surely a relative, perhaps a son, of an older man named Elijah Forte who in 1831 was one of the founders of Union Baptist Church.
Edith Hern Fossett- Cook held in bondage by Thomas Jefferson at Monticello
Born in 1787, Edith Hern Fossett learned French cookery at the President’s House in Washington. During Jefferson’s retirement, she served as the enslaved chief cook at Monticello. Daniel Webster described the meals Fossett cooked as being in “Half French, half Virginian style.” Edith’s husband Joseph Fossett – who is also buried here – ran Monticello’s blacksmith shop.
Jesse Fossett – Politician
Jesse Fossett, son of Edith and Joseph, was a Democrat, at a time when nearly all black voters were Republicans. He conducted the first open-air meeting of black Democrats in the State of Ohio, and he was the first person to organize a “colored Democratic club” in Hamilton County. The Cincinnati Enquirer called him, “a leader among his race, irrespective of party.”
Peter Farley Fossett – Pastor and Underground Railroad Leader
Peter Farley Fossett, son of Edith and Joseph, was born into the enslaved community at Monticello in 1815. Along with his mother and siblings, he was sold in the 1827 auction following the death of Thomas Jefferson. His father purchased his freedom and moved him to Ohio, where Peter Fossett became a Baptist Minister and an Underground Railroad leader.
Sarah Mayrant Walker Fossett – Civil Rights Activist
In 1860, Sarah Fossett attempted to board a Cincinnati streetcar, and the white conductor refused to let her on board. Fossett sued the streetcar company, and her lawsuit established the right of African American women to ride on Cincinnati streetcars. Her 1906 obituary, however, does not mention this. It is titled, “Woman of the Underground Railroad.”
Shelby Gibbs – Dentist
Shelby Gibbs may have been the first professionally trained black dentist in the United States. That title is usually given to Robert Tanner Freeman, who graduated from Harvard in 1869. But Shelby Gibbs is in the Cincinnati city directory as a dentist a year prior to that, in 1868. Gibbs worked for Dr. James Taylor, founder of the Cincinnati College of Dental Surgery, and he was regarded as Taylor’s protege. Whether Gibbs officially graduated from the college is not known.
Robert Gordon- Coal Merchant
Robert Gordon was the first major black business leader in Cincinnati. Beginning in 1848, he ran a coal business. In 1916, Carter G. Woodson wrote a long article about how Gordon outsmarted his White competitors.
Vivian Greer – Organizer
In 1944, Vivian Greer was chair of the Cincinnati fundraising organization, “Women at War.” That October, she spoke on race relations at a luncheon of the Women’s City Club. In 1945, The Union newspaper ran an article about Greer’s success in selling war bonds. In 1949, she was a vice chair of Theodore Berry’s successful campaign for Cincinnati City Council.
James Hammond – Stage Magician
James Hammond was born around 1870. Several sources state that he was born in Africa. In 1898, in New York City, he married Eva Alexander, a circus performer with the stage name “Princess Sotanki.” Hammond performed with her troupe at a time when they were staging classic illusions such as the “growing tree.” He died In Cincinnati in 1900. Eva went on to be the first black female lion-tamer, and she is buried a few miles away in St. Joseph Cemetery.
William Handy – Barber
William Handy was born into slavery in Mississippi around 1817. By working overtime, he purchased his own freedom, and then in 1857 he purchased the freedom of his wife and their son Miles. The family came to Cincinnati, where William ran a barbershop and bathhouse on Vine Street. The son, Miles W. Handy – who is also buried in Union Baptist Cemetery – became an agorney. Admitted to the bar in 1876, he was one of the first black lawyers in Cincinnati.
Robert James Harlan – Politician
Robert J. Harlan was a larger-than-life figure. He was born into slavery but gained his freedom and moved out to California in the 1849 Gold Rush. In 1859 he moved to England to import racehorses from America. He came to Cincinnati during the reconstruction era and became a state representative and the colonel of an African American militia battalion.
Ethelrie Chaney Harper – Activist
Ethelrie Chaney Harper was Commissioner of the Cincinnati Human Relations Commission and a member of the Employment Board of the Ohio Civil Rights Commission. Ernest J. Waits, who worked with her, said, “She was one of the first women to make her presence felt in the labor unions. She was an extremely dedicated and caring person.”
George W. Hays – Civil War Veteran and Pastor
George W. Hays was born in Louisiana to a white father and an enslaved mother, so he was born into slavery. During the Civil War, he was pressed into service in the Confederate army. He escaped and joined the Union forces at Fort Negley. He came to Cincinnati, became pastor of Union Baptist Church, and served for 61 years as court crier to the US District Court.
Flora Henderson Hector – Hair Stylist and Entrepreneur
Born in Tennessee in 1888, Flora Henderson came to Cincinnati and took classes at Poro College, a health and beauty school. She opened a beauty parlor in downtown Cincinnati in 1919. Then in 1923, she established her own “first class rooming house” downtown. She married Tee Hector and they took up residence in the Dunbar section of Madisonville.
Samuel Holland – Ambulance Driver
For decades, Samuel Holland drove a horse-drawn ambulance for City Hospital. “In fair weather and foul weather, Holland has gone to the homes of the city’s poor to do his share in relieving sickness or distress. No disease, no matter how deadly or contagious, brought terror to his heart, and no illness, no matter how light, but claimed his tenderest care and sympathy.”
Charles Howard – Gender Non-conforming Individual
Charles “Charlie” Howard was probably in his nineties when he died, on February 25, 1948. Howard lived his entire life as a man, and only after his death was it discovered that he was biologically a woman. He had even been married briefly to a woman, Mary Smith, the widow of his friend Anderson Smith of Lexington, Kentucky. They were married in 1892, for four months.
Richard Hunster – Photographer of Steamboats
Born in 1862, Richard L. Hunster became a photographer. His specialty was taking pictures of steamboats. These were popular subjects in the late 19th century, and Hunster sold copies of his pictures as postcards. There were other white photographers who did this, but he’s the only known African American with this specialty, and today, his photos are prized.
Charles E. A. Hunt – Activist and Pullman Porter Instructor
In 1921, journalist Wendell Dabney writes, “Charlie Hunt, one of the live wires of the NAACP, does great work for that organization, and never hesitates to sacrifice inits interest. He is a well-known railroad man and is against Jim Crowism in every form; against segregation in every way.” Hunt was also a long)me Pullman Porter instructor.
Andrew L. Ingram, Jr. – Masonic Leader
Fraternal organizations have played a large role in civic life, and Andrew L. Ingram is typical of the people who have led them. Born in 1892, he attended the University of Cincinnati and became a mail carrier. He was a 32nd degree Mason and Imperial Deputy of the Oasis of Cincinnati, Desert of Ohio. He once got to ride a camel in a parade in Chicago.
Laura Troy Knight – Educator
Laura Troy Knight was principal of Jackson School. She was an outstanding Cincinnati educator and trained many teachers. She was the daughter of Alphia Troy and a descendant of O.T.B. Nickens, the first successful black schoolteacher in Cincinnati. An ardent traveler, she visited in Europe (including Central Europe), Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.
Joseph Kyte – Kidnapping Victim who Prevailed
Prior to emancipation, a free person of color in southern Ohio was always at risk of being kidnapped, taken south, and sold into slavery. In 1826, this happened to Joseph Kyte. In Kentucky, Kyte challenged his confinement in court, and he won. He returned to Cincinnati, and over the years, he purchased the freedom of ten other enslaved persons. The least expensive was a woman named Lucy, who he got for $37 because she had a broken leg. Kyte died in 1884.
Fountain Lewis – Barber to the Elite
Fountain Lewis’s customers included Nicholas Longworth and General William Haines Lytle. Over time, he also shaved Ohio Governor Thomas Corwin, Kentucky Governor James Morehead, Kentucky Senator Henry Clay, and Richard Mentor Johnson, who was US Vice President under Martin Van Buren. See the post about him at the website, Friends of Music Hall.
Taylor Lighsoot – Assistant to Railroad President M.E. Ingalls
For more than thirty years, Taylor Lighsoot was the outer-office assistant to M. E. Ingalls, president of the “Big Four” railroad. Anyone wanting to see Ingalls had to pass muster first with Lighsoot, who is described as Ingalls’ “right-hand man” in a news item from 1912. Lighsoot’s son George Lighsoot would go on to be a successful railroad manager in New York.
Elizabeth Liverpool – Underground Railroad Conductor
In this cemetery are the remains of at least three women who were leaders of the Underground Railroad. One of these was Sarah Walker Fosseg, profiled above. A second is Susan Web Tinsley, who died in 1903. And a third is Elizabeth “Betsy” Liverpool. Liverpool was born in the 1790’s, lived to be over a hundred, and never married. Her obituary says that she “assisted many slaves to freedom with the others in the underground railway.”
Mary Bell Mack – Founder of a Spiritualist Religious Denomination
In 1917, Mary Mack founded the Spiritualist Church of the Soul. As Bishop, she began ordaining ministers and would eventually have 14 congregations. She married Samuel Knox at a ceremony where she was attended by “24 crowned mediums.” Knox had no idea what he was getting into, and he soon sued for divorce, claiming that Mack had a “domineering attitude.”
P. Alfred Marchand – Medical Librarian
Born around 1853, P. Alfred Marchand went to work for the Cincinnati Hospital as an errand runner, then a telegraph operator, then clerk to the librarian. By 1909, he was the hospital’s chief librarian. In 1913, Marchand was dismissed. A white man named Dr. Karl von Klein came down from Chicago to take his job. The staff protested, and Marchand was reinstated.
Mahala Moore – Voted for the first time at around age 100
In 1897, Mahala Moore registered to vote. (Cincinnati women at this time could vote, but only in school board elections.) She voted the Republican ticket. How old was she when this happened? We don’t know. She claimed to be 117, which was probably a stretch. For whatever it’s worth, when she died five years later, her death certificate says she was 123.
William P. Newman – Pastor and Abolitionist
William P Newman was born into slavery in Virginia in 1815. He escaped, came to Ohio, and studied at Oberlin College. He became pastor of Union Baptist Church in 1848, but when the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 was passed, he fled to Canada. He returned to Cincinnati during the Civil War and became pastor of Union Baptist Church again in 1863. He died in 1866.
Elam Page – Portrait Painter
Elam Page was a self-taught artist who painted in oils. He sometimes did landscapes but excelled at portraits. He was born in Virginia in 1822 of free parents. He tried to get training from a local artist but was rebuffed. He moved to Cincinnati, where a local paper ran an article headlined, “Genius among the Lowly,” but Page gave up painting and ran a barbershop instead.
David Nickens – First Black Baptist Minister Licensed in Ohio
The oldest tombstone in the cemetery is for Rev. David Nickens, who died in 1833. He is believed to have been the first black Baptist minister ordained in Ohio, and he was a major figure in the Underground Railroad both in Chillicothe and in Cincinnati. His tombstone is far older than the cemetery and must have been moved here, but no one knows from where.
Wilber Allen Page – WWI Veteran and Pastor
After returning to Cincinnati from France, where he served during the First World War, Wilber Page was asked to be temporary pastor at Union Baptist Church. The appointment became permanent, and he served for the next 66 years. In the 1970’s, he oversaw construction of the church’s new sanctuary on 7th Street. The nearby high-rise Page Tower is named for him.
Jennie Davis Porter – Educator
Jennie Davis Porter was the first African American woman to earn a doctorate at the University of Cincinnati. In 1914 she helped establish the Harriet Beecher Stowe School and became the school’s principal – the first black female principal of a public school in Cincinnati. In 1989, she was posthumously inducted into the Ohio Women’s Hall of Fame.
William Porter – Undertaker
William Porter was born in 1847. Today he is primarily known as the father of Jennie Davis Porter. But he was also a prominent undertaker, one of the first really wealthy black business leaders of Cincinnati. Also buried in this cemetery is his son Arthur (brother to Jennie Davis), who was a successful actor on Broadway, in shows including the 1923 Runnin’ Wild.
Barney Ford Reid – WWI Veteran and Seminary President
While at Camp Zachary Taylor during the first World War, Barney Ford Reid was promoted to corporal, then sergeant, and he was placed in charge of the Consolidated Army School. He was later a Baptist minister, State Vice President of the National Baptist Convention, and head of the Cincinnati Theological Seminary. In 1946 he wrote a book about local missions.
Adeline McMicken Rollins – Daughter of UC Founder Charles McMicken
Adeline McMicken Rollins was born around 1811. Her mother was an enslaved woman from a plantation at St. Francisville, Louisiana. Her father was the plantation-owner, Charles McMicken, also the founder of the University of Cincinnati. Several other McMicken family members are also buried here.
John Samples – Jockey
The image here is from a racing print of the horse “Longfellow” winning the Monmouth cup in 1872. We don’t know for sure rode the horse that day, but when Longfellow won the same race in 1871, the jockey was John Samples. Samples was among the best of his day and also rode “Ten Broeck.” Samples later came to Cincinnati and became a policeman.
T. Edward Scog – Killed in the Ohio Penitentiary Fire of 1930
On April 21, 1930, a fire broke out at the Ohio Penitentiary. As the smoke spread, inmates begged to be let out of their cells, but guards refused. Several prisoners overpowered a guard, took his keys, and began letting out as many people as they could, but eventually the fire became too intense. 322 people died, including T. Edward Scog of Cincinnati.
Wallace Shelton – Abolitionist Pastor
Wallace Shelton was an anti-slavery Baptist preacher. In 1836, the Union Baptist Church provided him with a horse for him to ride north, preaching and organizing new churches, so that these churches could assist fugitive slaves heading to Canada. These churches included the First Baptist Church of Xenia (1839) and the Second Baptist Church of Springfield (1859).
Wallace “Bud” Smith – Lightweight Boxing Champion of the World
In 1955, Wallace Smith won the lightweight championship of the world. A reporter asked him what that felt like. “It feels,” Smith said, “like the whole United States.” In 1958, however, Smith lost the title, and after that, things unraveled. In July 1973, Smith was shot to death on a sidewalk in Avondale. He was 44.
Ford Smith – Local Politician
Ford Smith held several city jobs, but his real importance was his power to sway votes in local elections. When he died in 1897, one paper reported: “As a shrewd, calculating worker, he was a marvel, and his organizing capacities were of the most positive and successful kind. Treachery was a thing unknown to him, and his friendship was a boon which many craved.”
John R. Tinsley – Police Sta)on Guard
John R. Tinsley was a turnkey for the Cincinnati police. He died in 1872. “For the first )me in the history of our city,” the Cincinnati Commercial reported, ”the police force yesterday followed a colored man’s body to its grave.” A white officer named Isaac Robinson had refused to agend, because Tinsley was black. As a result, Robinson got fired, and the precedent was established that police officers must attend the funeral of a brother officer, regardless of race.
Alexander Thomas – Daguerrotypist
Alexander Thomas and his brother-in-law James Presley Ball were partners in “Ball & Thomas Great Daguerrian Gallery,” the finest photographic studio west of the Allegheny mountains. They had a large showroom in downtown Cincinnati where their clients, many of them white, could see examples of their work and sit for photographic portraits.
Richard Toler – Blacksmith
Richard Toler was born around 1837 on the Henry Toler planta)on in Richmond, Virginia. He came to Cincinnati after the war. Interviewed by the Federal Writers’ Project around 1937, he talked about singing and playing the fiddle, and he recalled the words to “Black Eyed Susie.” He also vividly described seeing brutal abuse of Virginia women by the Ku Klux Klan.
Mamie Johnson Troger – Social Worker and Organizer
For 25 years, beginning in the 1890’s, Mamie Johnson Troger held the post of “Lady Manager” of the “Colored Orphan’s Asylum.” She was secretary of the Oddfellows Building Association; presiding officer of the Ohio State District Grand Lodge; and secretary of the Women’s Republican club. She was also one of the first black women in Cincinnati to serve on a jury.
Mildred Redmon Troger – Civil Rights Activist
During the 1960’s, Mildred Troger and her husband Lloyd were two of the most active Civil Rights workers and organizers in Cincinnati. They led protest marches, worked to integrate lunch counters, and worked alongside Marian Spencer on the integration of Coney Island. The Trogers received several awards from the NAACP. They also ran a cafe in the West End.
Samuel Troy, Sr. – Patriarch of an Underground Railroad family
Samuel Troy was born in Virginia around 1794. In 1849, he and his wife Sarah brought their family to Cincinnati, where Samuel and at least four of his sons – Isaac, William, Robert, and Theodore – were active in the Underground Railroad. The sons were later involved “in all of the political, business, and religious life of the race in Cincinnati.”
Laura Clarice Knight Turner – Educator
Laura Clarice Knight and her mother Laura Troy Knight were the first mother daughter duo ever to receive simultaneous Masters’ Degrees from the University of Cincinnati. Laura C. Knight became a teacher at the Jackson School. She married pharmacist Darwin R. Turner, thus becoming daughter in-law to famed zoologist Charles Henry Turner (who is buried elsewhere).
Darwin T. Turner – Youngest Person Ever to Graduate from UC
Darwin Turner enrolled in the University of Cincinnati at age 13. He made Phi Beta Kappa at 15 and graduated at 16. He became a distinguished author, critic, and poet. An under-appreciated fact is that his full name was Darwin Theodore Troy Turner, and he was named for his great-grandfather Theodore Troy – an Underground Railroad agent who is also buried here.
Norval C. Vaughan – Physician and Inventor
Born in 1872, Norval Vaughan became a distinguished physician with a home and office on Park Avenue in Walnut Hills. As a doctor, Vaughan had seen the effects of stab wounds, so in 1899, he invented a unique system of personal armor designed to be worn under clothing. It was like chain mail, but made up of small metal plates. He was granted U.S. Patent # 642649.
William Ware – Local Head of the Universal Negro Improvement Association
William Ware became president of the Cincinnati branch of the UNIA and enrolled nearly 8,000 members, making this one of the largest UNIA chapters of in the country. The Oxford American Studies Center calls Ware “one of the most distinguished figures in Cincinnati.” He died in 1955 and was buried in the family plot belonging to his daughter Nora Ware Robinson.
Serena Shumate Webb – Owner of the Dumas Hotel
In 1869, Serena Shumate inherited the Dumas Hotel when her brother Alexander died. She moved to Cincinnati to take over the management. The Dumas was one of the first hotels for African Americans in this region, and during the slavery era, it had been an important Underground Railroad site. The hotel later passed to Serena Shumate’s great-nephew Wendell Dabney.
Olin C. Wilson, Sr. – Police Officer Killed in the Line of Duty
On May 15, 1927, officer Olin Wilson approached a man who was using a firearm carelessly and said, “Come here, buddy, I want to talk to you.” The man fired, killing Wilson. Of the many police officers in this cemetery, at least three have died in the line of duty. The others are Luther Brooks, who died in 1901, and Elmore David Pressley, who died in 1944.
Magnolia Wyag – Evangelist
Magnolia Wyag was born in 1878 and died in 1964. Her obituary says, “Known as Mother Wyag, she was one of the first women to be ordained in Georgia … She came to Cincinna) 36 years ago and was a member and former assistant pastor of the Church of the Living God.” The Magnolia Wyag Federated Club celebrated its 14th anniversary in 1975.
The Cincinnati Radiation Experiments
Finally, a word about the Cincinnati Radiation Experiments. Between 1960 and 1971, Cincinnati General Hospital (now the University of Cincinnati Medical Center) conducted a series of unethical experiments on cancer pa)ents. These studies were funded by the US Department of Defense (DOD). The DOD wanted to learn about the effects of large doses of radiation on the human body. Pa)ents were told that they were being given “treatment” and were not told that they were receiving medically unnecessary doses of radiation that would result in intense pain and nausea, and which would probably hasten their death.
The persons subjected to these experiments were disproportionately poor and roughly two thirds black, at a )me when only about a quarter of the population of Cincinnati was black. During the 1990’s, a combination of lawsuits and publicity resulted in some compensation being paid to victims and their families.
Of the roughly 100 persons subjected to these experiments, at least fifteen are buried in Union Baptist Cemetery. The actual number is probably higher. The known burials are:
Individual Date of Death Burial Loca4on
Beulah Bentley January 23, 1962 Section E, Lot 66N
Philip Daniels April 3, 1970 East Section, Row 13, Grave 32 Katie Dennis April 16, 1969 Section E, Lot 64, N 1/2, Gr 9 Frank Hale May 9, 1967 East Section, Row 23, Grave 1 Evelyn Jackson May 21, 1962 Grandison Section, Row 8, Grave 102 Albert Johnson October 1, 1963 Page Section, Row 8, Grave 33
Minnie Mae Johnson October 11, 1970 Page Section, Row 13, Grave 28 Booker T Law February 25, 1964 Porter Section, Row 9, Grave 2 East Mary Laws September 5, 1964 Section E, Lot 57, N ½
Mary Pasley April 16, 1967 Newman Section, Row 4, Grave 92 Willa Mae Rivers June 22, 1973 Special Section, Row 40, Grave 3 Willie Rucker February 6, 1964 East Section, Row 3, Grave 31 James Tidwell November 29, 1960 Page Section, Row 10, Grave 75 Sill Watkins May 5, 1964 Section A, Lot 91, N ½ Lillie Wright February 13, 1966 East Section, Row 11, Grave 64