Booker T. Washington National Monument | CEMETERIES

Burroughs Cemetery at Booker T. Washington National Monument

Burroughs Cemetery at Booker T. Washington National Monument

BURROUGHS CEMETERY

The Burroughs Cemetery is located on a hill a short distance from the parking lot for the Booker T. Washington National Monument Visitor Center. There are only two tombstones, one for James Burroughs, the owner of the farm where Booker T. Washington was born into slavery, and Burroughs’ son Billie, who was killed in the Civil War. Another son, Christopher, also died during the war, but he is buried elsewhere. None of Burroughs’ other thirteen children are buried here because they moved out on their own long before dying. Burroughs’ wife Elizabeth is not here either because she died after selling the farm in 1893.

Grave of James Burroughs in the Burroughs Family Cemetery at Booker T. Washington National Monument

Grave of James Burroughs in the Burroughs Family Cemetery at Booker T. Washington National Monument

Grave of Billie Burroughs in the Burroughs Family Cemetery at Booker T. Washington National Monument

Grave of Billie Burroughs in the Burroughs Family Cemetery at Booker T. Washington National Monument

SPARKS CEMETERY

Nothing is known about the Sparks cemetery, which is accessed by hiking the Jack-O-Lantern Branch Trail. The only readable tombstone is either from 1823, which dates the cemetery to before Burroughs owned the property, or 1893, which doesn’t make much sense. First off, the second owner of the property was John Robertson, not Sparks. Second, you would think that if the cemetery was still being used in the late 1890s, especially on the farm where Booker T. Washington was born—he was well known by then—that there would be a record of who was using the cemetery. The inscription is hard to read, but my bet is that the date is 1823.

Only readable tombstone in the Sparks Cemetery at Booker T. Washington National Monument

Only readable tombstone in the Sparks Cemetery at Booker T. Washington National Monument

There are eighteen known graves, but nearly all are marked with nothing more than field stones.

Graves marked with fieldstones in the Sparks Cemetery at Booker T. Washington National Monument

Graves marked with fieldstones in the Sparks Cemetery at Booker T. Washington National Monument

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Last updated on December 21, 2023
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