Passing On

Ypsilanti's Highland Cemetery. Resting place of most of those listed below.

Ypsilanti’s Highland Cemetery. Resting place of most of those listed below.

A collection of obituaries, death notices and articles from Ypsilanti-area newspapers reporting the deaths of local African Americans from the end of the Civil War and eventually continuing until 1940, when the last of the generation that knew of slavery, Canadian exile and the Civil War would have died. A rich variety of characters from Ypsilanti’s past, many of which are connected to South Adams Street. Most were buried in Ypsilanti’s Highland Cemetery on River Road. Historically, the northeast end of the cemetery was where black people were buried; hundreds of these graves remain unmarked.

The entries are ordered by date, beginning with the oldest. Each entry will have the name of the deceased as well as the newspaper it appeared in and the date it was published. Additional biographical information, links to pages with more information on the site, and photographs of grave sites are included when available. Click on any article for a larger version. To search for a specific name use the ‘search’ box to the right or use the ‘find’ tool in your browser. This page will be updated; if you have any enquiries please email


A boy named Cummings drowns in the Huron River while swimming on a summer’s day. July 17, 1868. Ypsilanti Commercial


June 2, 1876. Ypsilanti Commercial.


Child. It is possible that the derogatory ‘Coon house’ refers to the Benevolent Hall on Buffalo. January, 1879. Ypsilanti Commercial.


Nancy Curry. Jason Bundey was the pastor of Brown AME. October 22, 1877. Ypsilanti Commercial.


George Matthews died while passing through Ypsilanti from Marshall, Michigan. March 28, 1878. Ypsilanti Commercial. 


Eliza Johnson was one of the earliest black settlers of Ypsilanti and a founding member of Ypsilanti African Methodist Episcopal Church. January 13, 1880. Ypsilanti Commercial.


Mary Snively was the wife of Civil War veteran Jeremiah Snively. April 17, 1880. Ypsilanti Commercial.


Edward Strother was accidentally (?) poisoned. April 16, 1881. Ypsilanti Commercial.


Catherine Aray. May 16, 1881. Ypsilanti Commercial.


William Cazey was among the most important men in the early life of Ypsilanti black community. A soldier and preacher, he was instrumental in the early years of the Second Baptist Church, including procuring its present location on Hamilton.  Born into slavery in Missouri, Cazey fled north and was in Ypsilanti by the Civil War. A man who lived for others and known as Deacon or Father Cazey, he died on July 16, 1881. Ypsilanti Commercial. Click for larger view. 


Mr. Johnson, buried by the benevolent society. March 18, 1882. Ypsilanti Commercial.


John Wesley Brooks. July 2, 1882. Ypsilanti Commercial.


William Pollard Jr., son of William Pollard and Arie Crosby, residents of 422 South Adams in 1900. December 9, 1882. Ypsilanti Commercial.


Washington York was an early and leading resident of Ypsilanti, arriving before 1850. He lived on South Adams from its first years as center of Ypsilanti’s black community. He was the father of David York of 316 South Adams and Lucy (Anderson) of 303. Another son, George, died in 1864 of disease as a fifteen-year-old recruit to the 102nd United States Colored Troops. February 17, 1883. Ypsilanti Commercial.


William Moore’s life follows a patter of many of Ypsilanti’s early black settlers. From bondage, escaping to relative freedom along the border of the slave states, in this case Indiana. After the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, many of those who had escaped as well as ‘free’ blacks, were compelled to move to safety in Canada. After the War, Ypsilanti became home to many who had crossed to Canada. November 17, 1883. Ypsilanti Commercial.



Edward Wilson was also a member of the 102nd United States Colored Troops. July 19, 1884. Ypsilanti Commercial.


James Augustus was born in Pennsylvania around 1810. August 9, 1884. Ypsilanti Commercial.


Henry James, apparently a laborer died in an accident on the rail road. He was born in Maryland and lived in Detroit before coming to Ypsilanti for work. February 7, 1885. Ypsilanti Commercial.


Samuel Jacobs was the brother of Anna (Jacobs) DeHazen of 111 South Adams. February 7, 1885. Ypsilanti Commercial.

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John Bowles. Though ill for years, the year before he died, John was a marshal in the City’s Emancipation Day commemorations. He was born in Kentucky and arrived in Ypsilanti before the Civil War. A veteran of the 102nd USCT, John would marry Sara, born in Canada and have ten children together. April 25, 1885. Ypsilanti Commercial.


Emery Rouse was the only child of Elias Rouse, born in Kentucky and veteran of the 54th Massachusetts Infantry, and Mary Washington, the widow of John Gay, who died while serving in the 102nd USCT. His family lived at the corner of Emmet and Ballard for decades. September 19, 1885. Ypsilanti Commercial.


Hannah Pierce  was born Hannah Augustus, in Delaware. She would marry Allen Pierce in Buxton, Ontario moving to Ypsilanti in the 1870s. Her daughter, Phebe, lived at 310 South AdamsDecember 4, 1885. Ypsilanti Commercial.


Deacon Major Evans of the Second Baptist Church was born in North Carolina and came to Ypsilanti after the war. December 4, 1885. Ypsilanti Commercial.


John Henry Fox was the most prominent black man in Ypsilanti in his short life. A leading Republican in the City during the Reconstruction years, Fox was a graduate of University of Michigan’s Law School. June 9, 1886. Ann Arbor Courier.

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Another for John Henry Fox, his prominence warranting a long piece on the front page of the Ypsilanti Commercial, June 11, 1886.


Bert Brown, was the son of John and Sarah Brown. April 1, 1887. Ypsilanti Commercial.


Celia Ellis was born in Virginia in the late 1820s. She would marry George Ellis, of North Carolina. Together they lived in Ohio, then Canada before the Civil War, coming to Ypsilanti sometime before 1870. She worked as a domestic. June 24, 1887. Ypsilanti Commercial.


James Johnson was killed in an accident cutting wood with a friend. December 30, 1887.Ypsilanti Commercial.


Alice BellFebruary 10, 1888. Ypsilanti Commercial.


Steward Downey was born into slavery around 1800. March 16, 1888. Ann Arbor Courier.


Alfred Thomas at the center of Emancipation Day celebrations and black Masonic lodges in the area in the decades after the Civil War. Living in Ann Arbor, he was born into slavery, Alfred came to Michigan before the Civil War. He joined the 102nd USCT and was a leading member of Ann Arbor’s Bethel AME Church. August 8, 1888. Ann Arbor Courier.

November, 1888. Ypilanti Commercial.

November, 1888. Ypsilanti Commercial.


Trains were a real danger with a number of locals perishing in accidents. Nelson Smith died after falling from the train to Ann Arbor. December 7, 1888. Ypsilanti Commercial.

August 30, 1889. Commercial.

August 30, 1889. Commercial.


Mrs. Granville Lyon was killed falling from the train coming from Detroit to Ypsilanti. August 30, 1889. Ann Arbor Argus.


 Mrs. Edwards. January 29, 1891. Ypsilantian.


Robert DeHazen was the son of Al DeHazen and Ann Jacobs of 111 South Adams. Only one of the DeHazen children survived into adulthood. February, 1891. Detroit Plaindealer.


Mary Hill was the twenty-year-old daughter of Robert and Liza Hill. April 21, 1891. Detroit Plaindealer.


Lizzie Anderson was the teenage daughter of John and Lucy (York) Anderson of 303 South Adams. October 4, 1891. Detroit Plaindealer.


June 10, 1892. Ypsilanti Commercial.


Lewis Cunningham and his wife died within hours of each other. June 9, 1892. Ypsilanti Commercial.


Due child of David Due, drowned in accident at home. September 30, 1892. Ypsilanti Commercial. 


James Hayes was born in Ohio (or possibly Canada) in 1826 and was the husband of Louisa Hayes, together they lived at 115 South Adams. October 18, 1892.Ypsilantian.


Dinah Posey was a long-time and well-known resident of Ypsilanti. She was born in Kentucky around 1815. January 13, 1893. Ypsilantian.


March 10, 1893. Ypsilnati Commercial.


Ann Morton was born Anne Higgins or Anne Higdin. Her obituary card at the Ypsilanti Historical Society states that “Mrs. Morton was a slave until aged 25 when she was set free. She attended the Dawn Institute in Canada and came to Ypsilanti in 1841.”  The Dawn Institute was located near Dresden, Ontario. Her arrival in 1841 makes her one of the earliest African American’s to settle permanently in Ypsilanti. She was a founding member of Brown AME. She married Robert Morton and were early residents of South Adams Street. Together they had several children, including Robert Morton of 416 South Adams.  March, 1893. Detroit Plaindealer.


Charles Mashat was a prominent contractor in Ypsilanti; he died at his trade in an accident digging wells. March 31, 1893. Ypsilanti Commercial.


Otho Taylor was often in trouble for confidence tricks. December 23, 1893. Ypsilanti Commercial. 


Carrie Snowden.  March 16, 1894. Ypsilanti Commercial. 


Jane Hamilton (maidan name unknown) was born in the 1830s in South Carolina. She married 102nd USCT veteran John Hamilton and they lived at 117 South Adams. After Jane’s death, John quickly remarried Mary Jane Roper. April 13, 1894. Ypsilanti Commercial. 


John Earl.   April 29, 1894. Ypsilanti Commercial. 



Percival Murphy was in Ypsilanti by 1860. He joined Company K of the 102nd United States Colored Troops during the Civil War. Born in Ohio around 1825, he married Catherine Counseler, of Delaware, and together they had two daughters. April 14, 1893. Ypsilanti Commercial. 


Priscilla Newton was born around 1910 in South Carolina and married to Josiah Newton. They came to Ypsilanti some time before 1870.  May 10, 1894. Ypsilantian. 


August 3, 1894. Ypsilanti Commercial.


Alice Black was the daughter of Morris Black and Melia Goodman. August 2, 1894. Ypsilanti Commercial.


Hester Poole and child of South Adams died during an influenza outbreak. November 30, 1894. Commercial. 


September 14, 1894. Ypsilanti Commercial.



November 12, 1903. Ypsilanti Daily Press.

Isa Stewart, who had escaped from slavery, was an early resident of Ypsilanti and, with her husband Jesse, instrumental in establishing Brown AME on South Adams Street. Together, they donated the plot of land on the southeast corner of Buffalo. The earliest known long-term black resident of Ypsilanti, Isa and her husband had a number of children. There is a commemorative window dedicated to her in the old Brown Chapel. The article below looks at the items from slave-days, wrapped in fanciful stories or her escape, held by her grandson Levi McQaun. December 4, 1894. Ann Arbor Argus.


March 7, 1895. Ypsilantian.


Anna DeHazen was born Anna Jacobs into bondage in Missouri. She came north with her parents when her father, HP Jacobs, forged their freedom papers and escaped. She married Al DeHazen and lived at 111 South Adams where she taught piano. A detailed history of the DeHazen-Jacobs family can be read here. March 8, 1895. Ann Arbor Argus.



May 11, 1895. Ypsilantian.


Thomas Davis joined the 102nd USCT at the age of 44 near the end of the war. Originally from Virginia, he came to Ypsilanti some years before the War where he worked on farms with his brother Daniel. He married a woman named Margaret who would die young. He would later marry Elizabeth and work as a peddler. April 13, 1895. Ann Arbor Argus.


Benjamin Day. was born in 1825 in New York State. He married Mary Aray, daughter of Cahtrerine and Jacob Aray, and farmed next to his in-laws. July 11, 1895. Ypsilantian. 

Alfred Hayes was born around 1869 and was the son of Louisa Artis and James HayesAugust 8, 1895. Ypsilantian.


Caroline Lowe (maidan name unknown) was born in the early 1830s in Canada to parents from Kentucky. She married Civil War veteran Edward Lowe and together were prominent in Brown Chapel AMEOctober 31, 1895. Ypsilantian. 

Highland Cemetery, Ypsilanti. PLEASE NOTE: The death date on this grave is for David's brother, George. David lived until 1896.


David York was the son of Washington York and Mary Artis. A Civil War veteran, he lived at 316 South Adams and was prominent in the religious, social and political life of the community. The death date on his gravestone is incorrect, it is that of his younger brother George who died of disease during the Civil War. January 30, 1896. Ypsilantian.


Isaac Burdine was one of the first principles of Ypsilanti’s First Ward School, a Regional Grand Master of the Michigan Prince Hall Masons, and center of much of Ypsilanti civic life until his departure for Indiana in 1877. He returned by 1890. Isaac was born in Indiana in 1835 and was well-known as an educator and Mason throughout the Midwest. April 23, 1896.  Ypsilantian.



William Ambrose was in Ypsilanti before the Civil War. A veteran of the 102nd USCT, The Ambrose family were leading members of Ypsilanti’s black community for fort years.  They lived at 211 South Adams, the home passing to his son after his death. William was particularly active in politics. April 30, 1896. Commercial. 


Mahala Jackson was born around 1837 and was living with her adult children on a farm when she died. April 30,1896. Ypsilantian. 


Walter Due. June 4, 1896. Ypsilantian.

11 June 1896. Ypsilantian.

11 June 1896. Ypsilantian.

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George Hayes was a ten-year-old boy killed in an accident involving a delivery wagon. June 12, 1896. Ann Arbor Argus.


Rebecca Patton was born in Virginia around 1822. Her husband Jeremiah was a veteran of the 102nd USCT. October 8, 1896. Ypsilantian.

19 November 1896. Ypsilantian.

19 November 1896. Ypsilantian.


Robert Ross was born into bondage, but managed to become a large landowner in Canada before his death. November 20, 1896. Ann Arbor Argus.


Grave of Jeremiah Snively. Highland Cemetery. 2013.

Grave of Jeremiah Snively. Highland Cemetery. 2013.


March 29, 1897. Ypsilantian.

Jeremiah Patton and Jeremiah Snively, an active Mason, were both members of the 102 USCT and are buried in Highland Cemetery. These two old comrades named Jeremiah died within an hour of each other. March 26, 1897. Ann Arbor Argus.


Fannie (Masterson) Perrel was born around 1846 in Kentucky to Elizabeth and Jeremiah Masterson. March 25, 1900. Ypsilanti Commercial. 


Edward Lowe was a veteran of the Civil War and long-time resident of Ypsilanti, living with his wife Pheobe at 310 South Adams.  April 25, 1900. Ypsilanti Commercial.


Fred Halladay frowned while swimming in the Huron River on a summer’s day. He was born . July, 1901. Ypsilanti Commercial.


Charles Sparks was living in the County House when he died in his 70s. He remarried a woman named Mary Brown in Canada around the Civil War and was in Ypsilanti by 1870. August 22, 1901. Ypsilanti Commercial.



Henry Thornton was probably born in Kentucky and came to Michigan before the Civil War. He was a member of  the 102nd USCT. October 11, 1901. Ypsilanti Commercial


Robert Allen DeHzaen was a leading man of his community; a barber, he lived at 111 South Adams. November 3, 1901. Ypsilanti Commercial.


Louisa Hayes was born Louise Artis in 1840 to Alfred Artis and Tempe Acock in North Carolina and was a resident of 115 South Adams. December 12, 1901. Ypsilanti Commercial.


Ernest Kersey was the son of James H. Kersey and Mary Emanuel, both born in Canada. The Kersey’s were, and remain, a prominent Ypsilanti family. Ernest’s home at 317 First Avenue remains in the Kersey family. January 9, 1902. Ypsilanti Commercial.


Allen Pierce, a stone mason was born in Ohio around. He married Hannah Augustus, originally from Delaware and lived in Buxton, Ontario before coming to Ypsilanti. His daughters, Pheobe and Rebecca, lived on South Adams. January 16, 1902.Ypsilanti Commercial. 



Johnson child. January 30, 1902. Ypsilanti Commercial. 


Ida May Pollard, (also known as Arimantha, Ida, Anita, Arie, Jemima and Artie) was born in Canada to Washington Horse and Jemima Crosby of Virginia who had made it to Canada by the mid 1840s, when Ida was born. She was a long-time resident of 422 South Adams. May 17, 1902. Ypsilanti Commercial.


Richard Woods died working at the powerhouse for the local electric rail service, where he was the coalman, in September, 1902. An inquest into his death was convened and found it to be natural. He was born in Ohio in 1869 and married a woman named Emily, born in Canada, around 1890. They had no children. September 12, 1902. Ypsilanti Press.



Jonathan McGee was a well-known character in Ypsilanti who claimed to have been the servant of William Henry Harrison, among other claims. In the period, some blacks were conferred respectability with great age, and a oft-used stereotype was that blacks lived longer than others. In part, this was because they uncertain birth place and dates of so many born into bondage. It is highly unlikely that Mr. McGee was 116 years old. October 11, 1902. Ypsilanti Commercial.


L(S)andy Hardy was born in Colchester, Ontario to Isaac and Agance Hardy. Issac hardy had a small grocery on Hungry Hill for years. January 11, 1903. Ypsilanti Commercial. 


 Isaac Johnson February 23, 1903. Ypsilanti Commercial.


Frederick Jones was March 5, 1903. Ypsilanti Commercial. 


October 15, 1903. Ypsilanti Commercial.


Thomas Norris, of 22 South Huron, was born to Beverly Norris (of Maryland) and Wilemina Benford (born in Indiana) in Canada, 1861. The Norris’s lived west of Chatham until they came to Ypsilanti in the 1870s were several more children were born. Thomas, like so many Ypsilantians of the time, died of tuberculosis. October 11,  1903. Ypsilantian.


Walter Tolbert was born in Colchester, Canada to William Francis Tolbert.  March 15, 1904. Ypsilanti Commercial.


Arthur Jones was born into slavery in Virginia about 1845 and came to Ypsilanti  by 1870. His daughters both lived on South Adams Street. Arthur was particularly active in the political life of the black community. April 1, 1904. Ypsilanti Commercial. 


Asa Richardson.   April 7, 1905. Ypsilanti Commercial.


Parenthia Roberts, the widow of prominent Ypsilanti barber and politician, Sanford Wells, is returned to Ypsilanti to be buried. January 27, 1906. Ypsilanti Daily Press.


William Dudley Fox was born to John Fox in Kentucky around 1830. May 28, 1906. Ypsilanti Daily Press.


Sherman Robbins was born in Canada around 1865 to William Robbins and Nancy Smith. He lived on Prospect Avenue with his wife Josephine and their children. August 30, 1906. Ypsilanti Daily Press.


George Bow was a carpenter and the son of Solomon and Eliza Bow of South Washington Street. September 6, 1906. Ypsilantian.


Bessie Crosby was born in Canada to Rebecca Kersey and Theo Crosby. She came to Ypsilanti with her family before 1900. Like many Ypsilantians of the period, she succumbed to tuberculosis. January 3, 1907. Ypsilanti Daily Press.


Sarah Brooks was born Sarah Payne in Detroit, Michigan around 1866. Her father was Nelson Payne of North Carolina and her mother’s name was Mary, from Ohio. January 15, 1907. Ypsilanti Daily Press.


Ella Goodman was born in Canada to John Black and lizzie Brown. February 24, 1907. Ypsilanti Press.


Lucy Ann Jones was born Lucy Ann Morgan, her father was John Morgan, a Free Person of Color, in North Carolina around 1807. She married William Jones, also from North Carolina, and came to Ypsilanti sometime before 1870. They lived on Chidester Street for many years. February 27, 1907. Ypsilanti Daily Press.


October 9, 1907. Daily Press.

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Thomas Roadman was among the most influential and colorful Ypsilanti African Americans of his day. He came to Ypsilanti before the Civil War, where he married his wife, Mary,a cook, in 1870. One child, a daughter Minnie, died as a teenager. April 24, 1907. Ypsilanti Sentinel.


Alexander Webster was born in South Carolina and was living at 218 Buffalo when he died. He is first recorded in Michigan, living in Lenawee County in 1870 and working as a farmhand. July 27, 1907. Ypsilanti Press.



Emma Jane Crosby was born in Canada to Simeon Crosby and Elizabeth Long around 1875. Her family came to Ypsilanti around 1892. October 10, 1907. Ypsilanti Daily Press.

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Alice Davis was the daughter of Albert D. Davis and Anna Gay. January, 1908. Daily Press. 


Joshua Preston was killed by typhoid fever, which would kill many Ypsilantians around the turn of the last century. He was born in Canada to John Preston and Elizabeth Williams. He lived at 514 South Hamilton. April 2, 1909. Ypsilanti Daily Press.


John Hamilton was a long-time resident of 117 South Adams Street. March 10, 1910. Ypsilanti Daily Press.


Ethel Brown lived  on South Adams and was the teenage daughter of Charles and Lizzie Brown when she died. April 18, 1910. Ypsilanti Daily Press.


Angeline Rickman was born free in Tennessee and married Milford Rickman. They came north to Canada in the 1850s and to Ypsilanti after the Civil War. She is the mother of Eveline (Rickman) Starks of 302 South Adams. July 25, 1910. Ypsilanti Daily Press.


Elizabeth Johnson was born Elizabeth Caldwell in Illinois around 1836. When she died she was living with her daughter (one of ten children) and her family Adams Street. August 9, 1910. Ypsilanti Daily Press.


Alice Freeman was born Alice Thompson in Canada in 1866. She married Caleb Freeman in 1884 and came to Ypsilanti sometime before 1890. Hawkins House was the leading Ypsilanti hotel of its day. The Freemans lived on Chidester Street. September 26, 1911. Ypsilanti Daily Press.


Hezekiah Norris was a long-time resident of Ypsilanti, coming here from Canada with his brother, Thomas. He married Julia, born in Kentucky, and was a brick mason and later a barber with a shop at 22 South Huron. December 11, 1911. Ypsilanti Press.


Jonathan Allen was a member of the United States Colored Troops during the Civil War and worked as a mason. He was born in Kentucky in 1848. January 8, 1912. Ypsilanti Daily Press. 


Levi Simpson was a brick mason and lived on Second Avenue. He arrived in Ypsilanti before 1870 with his brother George and would marry a woman named Elizabeth. February 19, 1912. Ypsilanti Daily Press.


Mary Hamilton was born Mary Roper  in Indiana to Henry Roper and Susan Davis who later moved to Canada. Mary was a cook at local hotels. For many years they lived at 117 South Adams. March 11, 1912. Ypsilanti Daily Press.


George Morris was born in Arkansas in 1847. He married Margaret Brown of New York and lived for a while on Chidester Street. March 11, 1912. Ypsilanti Daily Press.


John Sherman was the husband of Wealtha Sherman, married in 1885. Together they lived at 406 South Washington and were active members of Brown AME. John was born in New York in the 1840s. April 9, 1912. Ypsilanti Daily Press.


Jacob Aray was the son of Jacob and Mary Aray, among the earliest African Americans in Washtenaw County. He was brother to Asher Aray, whose farm was a stop on the Underground Railroad. April 27, 1912. Ypsilanti Daily Press.




Freddie Brooks’ death after being pushed from a play set at Recreation Park resulted in a City-led investigation into conditions and practices at the park. One of the suggestions was creating a segregated Park system to separate the black and white children suggesting that Freddie was pushed by a white child. He was the son of William, a carpenter, and Julia Brooks. June 14, 1912. Ypsilanti Daily Press.


Clarence Parker was born in Chatham, Ontario to Joseph Parker and Sarah Edwards. He was shot by a police deputy, Officer Heath, who supposed him to be a burglar.  July 24, 1912. Ypsilanti Daily Press.



Eva Peavy’s father was the Rev. Allen Peavy, born in North Carolina, and her mother was Gladys May, born in Ohio.Eventually her father would settle in Cass County, Michigan where he is buried. September 10, 1912 and September 12, 1912. Ypsilanti Daily Press.


Harvey Freeman was born in 1848 in Michigan to Thomas and Jane Freeman, both of New York. A barber, he lived in Coldwater, Branch County, Michigan for decades.  He served in Company E of the 102nd USCT. October 5, 1912. Ypsilanti Daily Press.


Robert H. Morton Jr. was born in 1849 in Ypsilanti, to Robert Morton, from Kentucky, and Anne Higgins, of Prince George County, Maryland. His parents are among the first blacks in Ypsilanti and were founding members of the AME Church. He was a leading member of his community, active in all number of social, religious, and political affairs. For many years he lived at 320 South Adams. October 19, 1912. Ypsilanti Daily Press.



Charles James. December 10, 1912 and December 12, 1912. Ypsilanti Daily Press.


Mary Slater was the sister-in-law of Wealtha Sherman. She was married to John Slater and lived in Novi and Ann Arbor before coming to Ypsilanti. Born in New York State in 1839, her family went to Canada after the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act, though they were ‘free.’ January 7, 1913. Ypsilanti Daily Press.


Henry Jackson, born to Orange Jackson and his wife in Michigan in 1859. February 7, 1913. Ypsilanti Daily Press.


Martha Chase was the domestic servant at the Haviland home of  932 Congress. She was born in Maryland to Thomas and Mary Chase around 1851. March 12, 1913. Ypsilanti Daily Press.


Albert Jones was born in Michigan in 1865 to Rattie (sp?) Jones and Lucy Morgan, both of North Carolina. His wife, Elizabeth, died the following year. March 16, 1913. Daily Ypsilanti Press.


Grover Cleveland was killed after being struck in the head during a fight with Edward Robbins. He was born in Michigan in 1885 to George Carter and Mary Ford. March 16, 1915. Ypsilanti Daily Press.


Margurite Charleston was living with the Roper family at 409 South Adams when she died.  Margaret was the widow of Louis Charleston, who died in 1896 at the age of around 80. She was born in Ohio in 1835. They were living in Ypsilanti by 1880, and probably on South Adams by then as well. April 7, 1915. Ypsilanti Daily Press.


Henry Jones. April 23, 1915. Ypsilanti Daily Press.



Frances Bow was born Francis Johnson in Canada around 1843, her father was George Johnson. She married Solomon Bow, a carpenter, and came to Ypsilanti from Canada in the 1870s where they lived at 420 South Washington. She was the aunt of Amelia Hill of 305 South Adams. May 5, 1915. Ypsilanti Daily Press.


Elizabeth Jones was born Elizabeth Richardson in Canada around 1840. Her husband, Albert, committed suicide while waiting transportation to an asylum the previous year. May 10, 1915. Ypsilanti Daily Press.


15 September, 1915. Ypsilanti Press.

15 September, 1915. Ypsilanti Press.

Mary Artis was born Mary Perkins around 1860 to Joseph Perkins, born in Ohio. September 13, 1915. Ypsilanti Daily Press.


6 November, 1915. Daily Press.

6 November, 1915. Daily Press.

Charles Anderson was a long-time resident of Adams Street and one of the leading men of his community. He lived at 413 South Adams. October 11, 1915. Ypsilanti Daily Press.


Susannah Thornton was born Susannah Jones in Canada to Stephen Jones and Charlotte Johnson in 1856. Her husband was Civil War veteran Henry Thornton. They lived in Saline for decades. May 23, 1916. Ypsilanti Daily Press.


Charles Moore. was born in the south, possibly Kentucky or Virginia around 1845 to William Moore. He married a woman named Amanda and together they arrived in Ypsilanti before 1900. They lived on Second Avenue; Charles was a gardener by trade. June 16, 1916. Ypsilanti Daily Press.


William Pollard was a long-time resident of 422 South Adams. August 3, 1916. Ypsilanti Daily Press.

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Harry Tolbert was born in Ypsilanti to William and Julia Tolbert, both of Canada. August 16, 1916. Ypsilanti Recorder.



Washington Hawkins was a leading member of Ypsilanti’s African American community for decades. A member of the 102nd USCT, he lived at 106 Farmer Street, which still stands. September, 1916. Ypsilanti Daily Press.


Jessie Due was the daughter of David Due and Laura Brown, both of Canada, in Ypsilanti. She lived at 426 South Washington. She did housework and died of tuberculosis. March 17, 1917. Ypsilanti Daily Press.

June 28, 1917. Ypsilanti Daily Press.

June 28, 1917. Ypsilanti Daily Press.


James Sparks. James was the son of Charles Sparks, who left slavery in Virginia before the Civil War , and Maria Brown, born in Canada. July 1, 1917. Ypsilanti Daily Press.


Lafayette Crosby was a veteran of the 102nd USCT. A long-time resident, Crosby was born in Ohio around 1840 he married a woman named Sarah and spent some years in Canada.  July 25, 1917. Ypsilanti Daily Press.


Mildred Richardson was the daughter of  Joseph Richardson and Hattie Bass, both born in Canada. April 4, 1918. Ypsilanti Daily Press.

April 11, 1918. Ypsilanti Record.

April 11, 1918. Ypsilanti Record.



Lucy Anderson, born Lucy York in Ypsilanti around 1850, was a long-time resident of 303 South Adams. April 11, 1918. Ypsilanti Daily Press.

April 25, 1918. Ypsilanti Recorder.

April 25, 1918. Ypsilanti Recorder.


William Lyons was born in Michigan to John Lyons, of Michigan, and Lora Stark, of Canada. April 20, 1918. Ypsilanti Daily Press.

April 25, 1918. Ypsilanti Recorder.

April 25, 1918. Ypsilanti Recorder.


Florence Brown. April 23, 1918. Ypsilanti Daily Press.


William Orange Long was born in 1838 in Chatham, Ontario to Samuel Long and Sarah Moore, both of Kentucky. He married Harriet Johnson, a white woman born in England, in 1861. Together they had fourteen children. The Long family came to Ypsilanti in 1886, where William worked as a stone mason. June 3, 1919. Ypsilanti Daily Press.


Anna (Allen) Clark was the wife of Peter Clark. Born Indiana around 1854, she had lived in Ypsilanti. Their daughter, Lillie May, married Ben Collins. July 19, 1919. Ypsilanti Recorder. 


Noah Hayes was the son of George Hayes and Georgina McQuann. Born in 1890, Noah was a horseman and unmarried, he died of multiple sclerosis. The family lived at 221 Harriet Street. August 9, 1919. Ypsilanti Recorder. 


Harriet Long was the daughter of William and Harriet Long. September 16, 1919. Ypsilanti Recorder. 

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James H. Kersey was born in Colchester, Canada to Dennis Kersey and Tempe Acock, of Georgia. Later, his family moved to Buxton before coming to Michigan. He married Mary Anne Emmanuel and together they had a number of children, including Bernice Kersey, the last teacher of the Adams Street School. A leading member of the community, James was a carpenter and builder. He and his family helped to construct many of Ypsilanti’s building, including Brown Chapel and his home, still in the Kersey family, at 312 First Avenue. January 27, 1920. Ypsilanti Press.


Charles Starks Jr. of 302 South Adams was born to Charles Starks and Millie Richardson, originally of Dresden, Ontario. Charles worked at the US Pressed Steel factory and was a well-known baseball player in town. February 14, 1920. Daily Press.


John White. was killed in a train accident. May 24, 1920. Ypsilanti Daily Press.


Harriet Long was the English-born, white wife of William Long. With alarge family, the Longs were among several interracial couples living in the south Ypsilanti neighborhood, she is listed as black on several censuses. Perhaps the census taker did not wish to record an interracial couple?  March 16, 1921. Recorder.


James SumnerApril 20, 1921. Ypsilanti Recorder. 

June 12, 1920. Daily Press.

June 12, 1920. Daily Press.


Ernest Wilson was born into bondage in Virginia and came to Ypsilanti by 1870. The last line of this obituary hints at an incredible story. June 19, 1920. Ypsilanti Recorder.


Albert Delos Davis was born around 1861 in Canada to James Davis and Mary Ann Lewis. He married Anna Gay, the daughter of Mary Washington and John Gay, who died in the Civil War. She was raised by Elias Rouse, veteran of the 54th Massachusetts Infantry. Albert was deeply involved in the social and political life of black Ypsilanti. August 31, 1921. Recorder. 


Edward Rickman September 28, 1922 Ypsilanti Recorder. 


George Cutright was born January 26th, 1884 in Missouri. November 22, 1922 Ypsilanti Recorder. 


Anna (Cruise) Brown was  born in Kentucky in 1866 and married John T. Brown.  January 25, 1923. Recorder. 


James Clark had a saloon right next to where Haabs now is at 8 Michigan Avenue and was reputed to be one of the wealthiest black men in Ypsilanti. Born in Virginia around 1862, he married a woman named Dotty and lived in Detroit before coming to Ypsilanti. March 11, 1923. Recorder. 


Emma Anderson was the wife of Alfred Anderson, the son of John and Lucy Anderson and early Ypsilanti NAACP leader. She was born in Michigan around 1875. March 30, 1923. Recorder.


Viola Books was the daughter of Levi Brooks and Mary Hall around 1885 in Colchester, Ontario. The Brooks family had long gone back and forth between Canada and Ypsilanti. April 19, 1923. Recorder. 


Lorenzo Pierce was born to Joe Pierce and Cynthia Crosby around 1855 in Canada. While in Ypsilanti he worked as a farm laborer on the Ainsworth farm. April 12, 1923. Recorder.


Ethel (Poole) Mahaley was born in Ypsilanti around 1895. She and William had one daughter who died young. September 13, 1923. Ypsilanti Recorder. 


Richard Hamilton was a long-time resident of 315 South Adams. July 10, 1938. Ypsilanti Daily Press.

June 19, 1942. Ypsilanti Press.

June 19, 1942. Ypsilanti Press.

Weltha (Wealtha, Welthy, Wealthy) Sherman (1852-1942) was born Weltha Spencer, December 4, 1852 in the fugitive slave and free black community of St. Vincent, Canada to William Spencer and Sarah Johnston. Weltha came to Ypsilanti in the 1870s and married James C. Sherman. Together, the Shermans were leading members of Brown Chapel AME and lived at 406 South Washington Street. Weltha was so considered by the community as a matriarch figure that she was given a large celebration in her honor (below) in 1937 at 85 years old. Perhaps no other women of her era was so respected by Ypsilanti south side African-Americans community.

June 23, 1937. Ypsilanti Press.

June 23, 1937. Ypsilanti Press.


June 23, 1937. Ypsilanti Press.

Weltha Sherman in Ypsilanti circa 1880s. Ypsilanti Historical Society.

Weltha Sherman in Ypsilanti circa 1880s. Ypsilanti Historical Society.

Weltha as a young women, circa 1880s.

Weltha Sherman commemorative window. Brown Chapel AME.

Weltha Sherman commemorative window. Brown Chapel AME.

7 thoughts on “Passing On

  1. Thank you for posting this information. Edward Strother was the grandson of Rev. Samuel Strother (1815-1891), who escaped from slavery circa 1841 and became active in the UGRR in Battle Creek, Michigan. Lafayette Crosby was the husband of Sarah Crosswhite, dau of Adam & Sarah Crosswhite remembered for the Crosswhite Affair, where they resisted the slave catcher in Marshall, Michigan in 1847.

  2. Thanks for posting the wealth of information regarding Blacks who lived in Ypsi. I am presently writing a book “New Canaan: The Blacks of Colchester Township”. I have used your site to trace the migrations of many of the families who lived in Colchester, Canada: Crosby, Artis, Kersey, Talbot (Tobert), Davis, Jackson and others. (I am a 1st cousin of the Walls family of Ypsi).

    • Thank you so much for the wealth of information. I recently began a similar blog regarding the black history of Toledo, Ohio. One of my ancestors – Jeremiah Snively served in the 102nd, Company H, of the USCT and I am grateful for the information you shared above regarding his obit, service, and the obit of his wife Mary Enos Snively.

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