Constitution of the Union Burial Ground Society (January 23, 1848)


In its constitution, dated January 23, 1848, the Union Burial Ground Society sets out its bylaws. The group was formed by free Blacks in Richmond to establish a cemetery.


Whereas, we, a portion of the Free Persons of Color of the City of Richmond, feeling a deep interest in the welfare of our race and the importance of advancing in morality, and believing as we do that the formation of a society for the interment of the dead will exert its due weight of influence—we have organized ourselves into a body for the erection of a Burial Ground, and have adopted the following Rules for the government of said body, viz:

Article I. This Society shall be called the “Union Burial Ground Society.”

Article II. The land which was bought by Peter Rope for the benefit of the Society, is conveyed to three Trustees chosen by the Society.

Article III. The ground shall be laid off in sections, say fourteen by fourteen feet, and all sections numbered.

Article IV. Any free person can have a section for the sum of ten dollars.

Article V. Each member of the Society shall have and hold a certificate with the number of his section, with a right to inter any person he may think proper; and this certificate at his death shall entitle his heirs to the same privilege.

Article VI. This Society shall have on interest in some on of the banks of the City fifty dollars, for the purpose of keeping in repair the said land.

Article VII. The certificates shall be printed in blank form—which blanks shall be filled by the Trustees; also a number of the section.

Article VIII. The Officers of this Society shall consist of a President, Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary and nine Managers.

Article IX. The President shall preside in the meetings of the Society; in case of his absence, the Vice President shall fill his chair; and in the absence of both, the members shall appoint a president pro tem.

Article X. The President shall have power to call a meeting whenever the interest of the Society may require it.

Article XI. Five of the Managers with the President and Secretary, shall form a quorum to do business.

Article XII. The Treasurer of this Society shall be a responsible married man—one who holds real estate—and he shall give his notes for the amount of money or certificates which he may receive.

Article XIII. The Secretary shall keep a regular record of the proceedings of the Society; also, a regular list of the names of the members, with their payments opposite their names; and he shall also keep a number of sections.

Article XIV. The election of officers shall take place annually.

Article XV. There shall be one section appropriated for the burial of strangers.

Article XVI. All alternations or amendments to this Constitution shall be made known at least three months previous to the annual meeting, and be sanctioned by at least two-thirds of the members present, before adopted.

Adopted January 23d, 1848.


Gilbert Hunt,

Samuel Scott,

Alpheus Roper,

Peter Roper,

James Lightfoord,

Isaac Gwynn,

Tarlton Mose,

James Booker,

Braxton Smith,

Richard Brooks,

Samuel Harris,

James Anderson,

Ebenezer Roper,

Nelson Vanvaul,

John Loney,

Sally George, William Clayton,

Peter Price,

Archibald Goode,

James Boasmin.


William Lightfoord, James Ellis, Benjamin Harris.

APA Citation:
Union Burial Ground Society & Davis, Aaron. Constitution of the Union Burial Ground Society (January 23, 1848). (2020, December 07). In Encyclopedia Virginia.
MLA Citation:
Union Burial Ground Society, and Aaron Davis. "Constitution of the Union Burial Ground Society (January 23, 1848)" Encyclopedia Virginia. Virginia Humanities, (07 Dec. 2020). Web. 14 Jun. 2024
Last updated: 2023, August 21
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