afrolumensproject
  central pennsylvania african american history for everyone
              ten years on the web 1997 - 2007

 

As the human race, we are like the black and white keys of a piano--independent but blending together we can make beautiful music. --T. Morris ChesterI don't ask that you love white people less, but that you love black people more. --T. Morris Chester

RisingFree

African American History
in South Central
Pennsylvania:
the 19th Century

Lincoln Cemetery
T. Morris Chester Tombstone
Ceremony, September 21, 2002

 

On Saturday, September 21, 2002, descendants of Thomas Morris Chester, journalist, educator, diplomat, lawyer, scholar, gathered at his grave in Lincoln Cemetery, Penbrook, to unveil a newly refurbished gravestone with corrected year of birth.  The ceremony was a part of the United States Colored Troops Institute Regional Conference, held at Harrisburg that weekend, at the National Civil War Museum.
Websites: 
US Colored Troops Institute | National Civil War Museum

T

he Chester's new tombstone, prior to its unveiling, with the flag of the United States flanked by two smaller flags of Liberia.photographs on this page were taken on Saturday, September 21, 2002 at Lincoln Cemetery, at the gravesite of T. Morris Chester.  Descendants of Chester from America and Africa participated in this moving ceremony that unveiled a new tombstone for this famous Harrisburg African American citizen.  Chester's old tombstone had become worn and sunken through the years, and was inscribed with an incorrect year of birth.  The new stone unveiled on September 21 was raised by six inches, cleaned and inscribed with his correct year of birth.  Many pictures on this page can be clicked to view a larger image.  This is the first of two pages.

Calobe Jackson, Jr. points out nearby tombstones of interest to the Chester descendants. Click for a larger image.

«  Left:  Calobe Jackson, Jr. points out nearby tombstones of interest to the Chester descendants.  Somewhere nearby are the graves of Jane and George Chester, parents of Thomas, and famous Harrisburg restaurateurs.  Right next to the grave of T. Morris Chester is a large and impressive stone for his brother, David R. Chester, a Philadelphia City Council member who died in office. Many local families have ties to the Chester family through the children of George and Jane, and through their grandchildren.

Click for a larger image.

Members of the American Legion Honor Guard stand ready to begin the ceremony.  Click for a larger image.»At right, members of the American Legion Honor Guard stand ready to begin the ceremony.  While in New Orleans, in 1873, T. Morris Chester had been commissioned a Brigadier General of the 4th Brigade, 1st Division of the Louisiana State Militia.  That appointment was probably more political in nature, though, as Republican Governor William Pitt Kellogg had to rely on the militia as a source of his power base.  Chester's actual experience with war was limited to his role as a war correspondent for the Philadelphia Press, covering the role of Black troops in the Army of the James in 1864 and 1865.

Click for a larger image.

Mrs. Ella Mae Simmons of Wesley Union AME Church, Lincoln Cemetery Chairperson, checks details before the start of the ceremony.  Click for a larger image.«  Left:  Mrs. Ella Mae Simmons of Wesley Union AME Church, Lincoln Cemetery Chairperson, checks details before the start of the ceremony.  At the right is the tombstone of a brother of T. Morris Chester, David R. Chester.  David was the second African American to serve on Philadelphia City Council. He died in office in 1889 and his widow married political activist and educator Jacob C. White, Jr., of Philadelphia.

Click for a larger image.

Guests begin to gather as event organizers hand out programs for the ceremony.  Click for a larger image.»At right, guests begin to gather as event organizers hand out programs for the ceremony.

Click for a larger image.

All photos on this page and on the next page are by George F. Nagle and are property of Afrolumens.  Please contact the site editor for permission to republish photos.

Chester's funeral notice from The Patriot, 1892
Go to Page 2 of Photos
 
Go to Photos from Conference

afrolumens project home | enslavement | underground railroad | 19th century | 20th century

Original material on this page copyright 2003-2005 Afrolumens Project
The url of this page is http://www.afrolumens.org/rising_free/uscti1.html
This page was updated October 16, 2005.