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Honoring Ancestors in Sacred SpaceThe Archaeology of an Eighteenth-Century African-Bahamian Cemetery$
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Grace Turner

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781683400202

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9781683400202.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM FLORIDA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.florida.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University Press of Florida, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FLASO for personal use.date: 22 September 2021

St. Matthew’s Northern Burial Ground

St. Matthew’s Northern Burial Ground

(p.69) 4 St. Matthew’s Northern Burial Ground
Honoring Ancestors in Sacred Space

Grace Turner

University Press of Florida

St. Matthew’s Parish was created in the 1790s to accommodate the increased population with the migration of Loyalist refugees to the Bahamas. Several new cemeteries were also established but these were not formally consecrated until 1826, shortly after a bishop was appointed for the Anglican Diocese of Jamaica, which included the Bahamas. The Northern Burial Ground was especially for blacks, enslaved and free. Based on the documentation of the consecration, it seemed that the Northern Burial Ground was only established in the 1790s. Loyalist immigrants acted to impose more strict code of racial segregation in the colony than had existed prior to their arrival. The Northern Burial Ground is on the main road leading into the town so the African-derived grave treatments in this cemetery served as a public declaration of the cultural affiliation of this community. By the late nineteenth century the cemetery was surrounded by a low wall topped with a wooden fence that would have shielded the articles on graves from passersby. The cemetery was used until the early 1900s. Hurricane storm surges covered it in the 1920s, and in the 1930s a sidewalk was built through the site but there was no public protest at this destruction.

Keywords:   Loyalist refugees, Bahamas, Anglican Diocese of Jamaica, cemetery

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