Thanks to the Welfare Foundation, Starrett Foundation, and many individual donors and volunteers for helping us to complete Phase II of the Bucktoe Cemetery Restoration Project!
Help us to Make History and Continue the Cemetery’s Restoration: Click Here to Help!
Historic Bucktoe Cemetery is the final resting place of at least nine members of the United States Colored Troops who served in the Civil War, as well as approximately 120 local residents who died during the Civil War era. Bucktoe Cemetery is owned by the New Garden Memorial UAME Church who relocated to Kennett Square in 1904 after the original church was burnt down. Because of its proximity to both a source of water and to known Underground Railroad stations, and because of the church that once stood on its grounds, local consulting historians believe that the Bucktoe Cemetery and surrounding village played a role in the Underground Railroad. As we embark upon Phase III of the restoration project this year, we hope you will join us in experiencing this unique piece of local history, as we uncover the story of the Bucktoe Cemetery one brick, coin, and stone at a time.
Click Here to see a map of the Chester County Underground Railroad.
Located just off Route 82 in Kennett, and adjacent to the Bucktoe Creek Preserve, the Bucktoe Cemetery is part of the west branch of a larger historic district, the Red Clay Creek Conservation District, which is currently being prepared for nomination for the National Register. TLC began the process of restoring the cemetery in 2010, in preparation for the Pennsylvania Grand Review’s Hallowed Grounds Project, which honored a handful of Civil War cemeteries across Pennsylvania. When we began Phase I of restoration, the cemetery had long been neglected, with virtually no gravestones or markers of any kind. Although we began with so little to work with, we partnered with local schools, historical organizations, and restoration specialist Eugene Hough of Heritage Guild Works, to begin the process of restoring the cemetery and honoring those buried there. Our professional restorationist Eugene Hough,by taking a mold of one of the few remaining headstones, has created replication markers for all the United States Colored Troops buried in the cemetery.
Each November, TLC hosts our annual Bucktoe Chronicles Day, to share this resource with the public and honor those buried there. Past Chronicles Day activities have included military salutes by the Bradbury Camp Sons of Union Veterans, historic storytelling, living history interpreters, students from Cheyney University portraying U.S.C.T. Soldiers, an archaeological dig of the original church foundation, and memorial ceremonies for the troops buried in the cemetery.
Members of the Church and TLC staff spoke at the Hallowed Ground Annual Meeting in October 2013 to update community members and other organizations on the accomplishments, ongoing projects and future goals of the Bucktoe Cemetery. For an overview of our presentation and goals of the cemetery project, click here to view.
We currently work with local school groups to host Archaeology Education programs in the Bucktoe Cemetery, exploring the original church foundation and surrounding village ruins. Our archaeological programs are part of our initiative to share the cemetery’s story with the public and utilize the site as an outdoor classroom. Programs are led by TLC’s professional restorationist Eugene Hough. Eugene spearheaded the Bucktoe Cemetery Restoration in 2011, and since then has brought his expertise to all of our educational programming at the cemetery. Workshop participants learn how to use professional archaeological tools to explore the foundation of the burned-down church, the surrounding village ruins, and the outskirts of the cemetery. Students are also guided in a discussion about the cemetery, local history, and the importance of preserving history and land alongside each other. So far, students have made many interesting discoveries, including bricks, pottery shards, coins, and the foundation of what we believe was the front porch of the church.
If you, your school, club, or organization is interested in participating in a dig, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org!