Civil War-era African-American cemetery uncovered in Sussex

Archaeologists working at a property near Frankford in Sussex County have discovered what appears to be the site of a cemetery known to the community to contain the remains of African Americans who lived in the area.

Under the observation of an archaeologist from the Delaware State Historic Preservation Office, archaeologists employed by a private landowner have delineated at least nine graves at the site, known as the Orr Property or Hall Plantation.

A headstone (see photo) was also found at the site bearing the name C.S. Hall and the lines “Co. K, 32nd U.S.C.T.” The abbreviation was used for U.S. Colored Troops, the designation for units comprised of African American soldiers during the Civil War.

The presence of the remains of enslaved persons has not yet been confirmed through archaeology or review of the historical record.

“This cemetery is a significant discovery for the community and for all Delawareans who value and appreciate our state’s rich history,” said Tim Slavin, director of the Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs, which oversees the State Historic Preservation Office. “As work continues at the site, we hope to learn more about those who are interred there, so that they may be properly memorialized and their personal stories retold.”

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