Building a New Life

An African American fmily outside of a cabin.
Albert Kern, a Union army veteran, photographed this family in the Cemetery community in the 1890's.

William Holland lived at the cemetery for a year, then in 1867 moved to his own property just down the road. In his new house, Holland raised a family. Unfortunately, William’s first wife, Eliza, died in 1868. He remarried in 1871 to Ruth Miller Holland, who gave birth to two children—Josephine in 1872 and William in 1874. Both children lived to be adults, but Ruth died in 1878 leaving William to care for both of their children alone.

The Hollands were part of a thriving African American community centered on the national cemetery. Most of the people living there were veterans of the 111th United States Colored Infantry and their families. The community was aptly named Cemetery and included farms, homes, churches, and a school.


Last updated: April 14, 2015

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