An effort is underway to restore the historic Marion Avenue Cemetery in Hartsville, SC. Two African American cemeteries once existed in the City of Hartsville. The Hartsville Colored Cemetery Association was created in 1904 and purchased a one-acre tract for burial purposes. In 1931 the Mutual Cemetery Association was created, purchasing a second one-acre tract adjacent to the first. In the early 1960s, the two cemeteries were still well maintained and in use. However, by the 1980s the burial grounds were heavily overgrown and periodic restoration efforts were largely unsuccessful.
The distinction between the two organizations has faded and the two cemeteries are referred to as the Hartsville African American Cemetery or the Marion Avenue Cemetery. Read more in this Chicora study.
The restoration of the Cemetery was recommended as a priority task in the South Hartsville Neighborhood Revitalization Plan compiled by the American Planning Association’s Community Planning Assistance Team in 2015. This is one of many neighborhood revitalization efforts currently underway through collaboration between residents, City officials and staff, and community partners.
Historical Marker Dedication
On January 21, 2019, a group and members of the press gathered at the cemetery to celebrate the unavailable of a new state historical marker for the cemetery. Continuing the Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration, attendees then participated in a march to Jerusalem Baptist Church where a service was held.
View the Marion Ave Cemetery burial list below to see information about those memorialized in the Cemetery. Use this guide (PDF) to interpret the information in the list. If you have information to add to the burial list, please contact Councilmember Tre Gammage at firstname.lastname@example.org or call City Hall at 843.383.3015.
Click to view the spreadsheet above in a new window.
Support the Historic Marion Avenue Cemetery
Community fundraising efforts have begun to help offset the cost of clearing the overgrowth at the cemetery. Tax deductible donations for the preservation of the historic Marion Avenue Cemetery are being accepted by the City of Hartsville.
Credit card donations may be made by clicking the button below to complete our online form.
Donations are also accepted at City Hall, or by mail at the address below. If paying by check, please make payable to the City of Hartsville, Memo: “Marion Avenue Cemetery.”
Marion Avenue Cemetery Project
City of Hartsville
P.O. Drawer 2497
Hartsville, SC 29551
Learn about the history of the Historical Marion Avenue Cemetary and its restoration in this presentation from Fall 2018:
Media and More Information
Historic Marion Avenue Cemetery Committee
- Councilman Tre’ Gammage, Chair
- Councilman Johnny Andrews
- Mrs. Adlena Graham
- Mr. Willie Williams
- Dr. Alvin T Heatley
- Melanie Kelley
- Patricia Wingate
- Marva Burno Serrano
- Mrs. Pecola Grove
In the fall of 2017 the City of Hartsville, in conjunction with the Old Darlington District Chapter of the SC Genealogical Society, held a Cemetery Preservation Workshop at the Marion Avenue Cemetery. The workshop featured a discussion of native and invasive vegetation within the cemetery and a symposium on how to properly map graves and clean tombstones. Workshop attendees later met at City Hall to study previously successful cemetery preservation and restoration projects from other areas of South Carolina.
Read about the project in the news at WBTW.com.