When John and Elizabeth Hancock Redd and their children crossed the plains to Utah, they took at least five slaves with them: Venus and her son Luke, and Chancey and her daughters Anna and Marinda.
Marinda is buried in the Spanish Fork City Cemetery with her husband, Alex Bankhead. Kate Carter’s sources for her book The Negro Pioneer seem to assume that the other Redd slaves or former slaves were also buried in Spanish Fork, but they weren’t listed in the same cemetery as the Bankheads, and I hadn’t yet looked for them elsewhere so they would be included in the Burial Database Project of Enslaved African Americans.
A few days ago I learned that there is an old pioneer cemetery in Spanish Fork, located on a low bluff overlooking the Spanish Fork River. The original grave markers were washed out by flooding, and when the town began a newer cemetery on higher ground, some of the burials were relocated and the pioneer cemetery became run down.
A few years back, the local chapter of Daughters of Utah Pioneers together with the city of Spanish Fork and a local developer made a concerted effort to clean up the dilapidated old cemetery.1 Janene Baadsgaard and Pat Sagers combed through old records to compile a list of over 100 pioneers who were known to be buried there, or who were probably buried in the cemetery.2 The pioneer cemetery has been beautifully renovated and the likely burials are listed on a monument.
The burials include John Hardison Redd and his wife Elizabeth Hancock Redd and two of their children. Their following slaves may have been buried in the pioneer cemetery:
Never a slave himself, but the son of a freed slave, Marinda Redd Bankhead’s infant son Edward T. may also be buried in the pioneer cemetery.6
Mark Butler, a regular reader and occasional contributor to Keepapitchinin, has been in Utah to attend a family funeral. While there, he visited the graves of his grandparents in Spanish Fork. He also visited Alex and Marinda’s graves and left some flowers and then drove over to the Pioneer Cemetery. He noted that the visit was very moving, and that it was a lovely spot and worth visiting, even without being related to the pioneers buried there. He sent the following pictures.
This is a follow up to Remembering Slave Burial Sites: A Memorial Day Post, and includes content from an ongoing project, so the genealogical information here is subject to change. I will send a note about the Spanish Fork Pioneer Cemetery to the Burial Database Project of Enslaved African Americans. If you’re interested, the project has a Facebook page.
- The cemetery is located at 1508 East 1820 South in Spanish Fork. See media coverage of the cemetery project here and here and here. [↩]
- See their lists here and here. [↩]
- Evidence suggests that Chancey may have been sold by the Redd family to Samuel and Mary Cunningham as they were traveling south to the Cotton Mission in the days before the slaves were freed. Chancey shows up in St. George, Utah Territory, in the 1870 census, but sometime after that she left the Cunningham family and was said to have returned to live with her family in Spanish Fork, where she probably died and was buried. [↩]
- Anna died in 1854 in Spanish Fork. She is sometimes listed in local records as Amy. [↩]
- Luke went south to help the next generation of Redds settle New Harmony, Utah Territory. He left New Harmony for the mining region of California, where he shows up in multiple records between 1873 and 1880, unmarried, working as a carpenter. After the 1880 census he drops out of the public record. Did he move back to Utah to be with his family? Did he die in California in 1884 as someone has claimed on Ancestry? [↩]
- Edward was born in the spring of 1867 and died that fall. His father is unknown. [↩]