The Friends of Freedmen's Cemetery

The Kemper-Jackson-Crigler Family and Clara Rose

The following information comes from Alexandria, Virginia Corporation Court Chancery Causes, #1903-026, Martha Kemper Ruffner et vir. v. Harriet Kemper Redmond, a suit over the estate of Daniel Kemper.

Much of the following is from an April 1, 1903 deposition of Clara Rose. Rose was a 76-year-old former slave (of Robert Carpenter) from Madison County, Virginia, who moved to Fredericksburg in or shortly after 1867 and was residing at 315 [North?] Patrick Street, Alexandria in 1903. She was a life-long acquaintance of Daniel Kemper.

Daniel Kemper was a slave of Joseph Sparks in Madison County. He lived with his mother in a one-room house on the Sparks property. He married Mary Jackson, although not formally. He did have a written permission from his master to visit his wife at her mistress' property a mile away. Mary Jackson's owner was the widow Polly Carpenter, a relative of Clara Rose's master (Rose says that most of the neighborhood was owned and occupied by Carpenters). According to Rose, while most slaves were permitted to visit spouses on other farms only on Wednesdays and Sundays, Kemper was allowed to do so any time.

Kemper and Jackson had four children: Mary, Martha (b. ca. 1860), Cornelia and Harriet. Harriet was the youngest, born April 21, 1864. While still young, the children remained with their mother, who lived with Polly Carpenter until at least February 1867 and with Robert Carpenter for perhaps two more years. Mary Jackson resided in Madison County until her death in September 1897. Cornelia had also died before 1903.

Daniel Kemper left Madison County several years after the war and after his mother had died in a fire. Clara Rose claimed that his departure was six to ten years after the war, but one of Kemper's daughters said that it was not until about 1883. Kemper arrived in Alexandria by 1889-1891. He worked as a shoemaker and eventually purchased a house for himself at 423 North Henry Street [since demolished]. He occasionally visited his family in Madison County, last appearing there in 1891. He died Valentine's Day, 1902.

Daniel Kemper's and Mary Jackson's daughter Cornelia had one daughter of her own, Silvia Kemper (living in Orange County, Virginia in 1903). Daughter Mary had two children: Alexander "Aleck" Kemper (also living in Orange County in 1903) and Allen Kemper (living in Washington, DC in 1903 and married to Lula Kemper). Daughter Harriet married a man named Redmon. She moved to Washington, DC March 1, 1891 and probably worked "out" as a housekeeper. Martha Kemper married Lewis Ruffner, and the couple stayed in Madison Co. The Kemper children had an aunt Rosie Harrison, likely Mary Jackson's sister. They also had a cousin, Clem Harris, who lived in DC.

Daniel Kemper had a sister, Rose Crigler. She apparently had several children: Daniel K., Alfred, Hester (Scott), and Lucy (Johnson). Daniel Kemper Crigler was an oyster dealer at 121-1/2 [North or South?] Henry Street in Alexandria prior to 1889. From then until about 1896, he lived in Baltimore, Maryland, at least part of that time at 2313 Division Street. He lived in Pittsburgh about 1899-1901. Several Crigler relatives are mentioned, including: William and Rev. John Crigler, both likely brothers; and Nora and Lucy, one of whom was probably a sister and the other his wife.

Freedmen's Cemetery Historical Site Marker - E 109 Freedmen's Cemetery - Federal authorities established a cemetery here for newly freed African Americans during the Civil War. In January 1864, the military governor of Alexandria confiscated for use as a burying ground an abandoned pasture from a family with Confederate sympathies. About 1,700 freed people, including infants and black Union soldiers, were interred here before the last recorded burial in January 1869. Most of the deceased had resided in what is known as Old Town and in nearby rurual settlements. Despite mid-twentieth-century construction projects, many burials remain undisturbed. A list of those interred here has also survived.

Friends of Freedmenís Cemetery
638 North Alfred Street
Alexandria, Virginia 22314

Freedmen's Cemetery Logo - This logo was designed by Alexandria Archaeology Assistant City Archaeologist, Dr. Steven Shephard, in 2006. The beautifully executed final drawing was made by Alexandria Archaeology volunteer, Mr. Andrew Flora, who made a few modifications. At the center of the logo is a headboard of the design seen in historic photographs of the Alexandria National Cemetery, established at the north end of Wilkes Street in 1862. These grave markers were supplied by the U.S. Army Quartermaster Department in Alexandria and records state that this department also supplied the headboards and coffins for Freedmens Cemetery. The pine boards were whitewashed and the plot number, and presumably, the name of the deceased, and possibly the date of death, were painted in black on the headboard. The number 1864 in the logo represents the year that the cemetery was established. The black silhouette of the African American woman in the center of the board is meant to represent the people, the Freedmen, who were buried at the cemetery. Civilian men, women and many children were buried here, along with African American soldiers of the United States Colored Troops. The rays radiating from the top of the headboard are meant to represent the light of freedom, as well as the souls of the Freedmen ascending into heaven and their final reward. The F and C are for Freedmen's Cemetery. The surrounding broken chain wreath symbolizes the severed bonds of slavery which resulted from the American Civil War which transformed Alexandria and the nation.

April 29th, 2007