African American burials in the
The following tombstone transcriptions are from William Henry Egle's "Notes and Queries" column, published as an annual volume in 1899. This information is from an article titled "Old Church Records, St. John's Cemetery at Compass, Pa." These particular listings appear at the end of a section subtitled "In the New Cemetery." They are indicated to be African American burials by the word "colored" that appears in parentheses after each name, although that indication of race surely does not appear on the tombstones. Egle lists his contributor as "B.F.O. of Reading, Pennsylvania. Perhaps the researcher obtained the listings from church records, which may have indicated the race of those interred, or perhaps the burials are segregated in a separate section of the cemetery.
Compass lies just over the border from eastern Lancaster County, in West Caln Township, Chester County. Saint John's Episcopal Church is near the intersection of state routes 340 (The Philadelphia Pike) and 10 (Compass Road). Following the listings is additional information on the nearby African American community, contributed by Fred Kelso.
Jacob Thompson, d. Sept. 23, 1891, in his 91st year.
"I'm writing to add some info to your
listing of African-American graves at St. John's Episcopal Church in
Compass. My parents participated in the publication of a book
entitled A History of West Caln Township: A Self-Guided Tour Through
Time and Place, Joan M. Lorenz, privately published, 1995. On
page 40 appears the following article:
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This page was updated August 22, 2020.