Bowles Family Cemetery

Association: None
No. of Markers: 2 (View)
No. of Individuals: 1 (View)
Location: Private. Charlottesville, Albemarle Co.

The Bowles Family Cemetery is located off Rio Road within a 21st Century development that will take its name from the 19th Century homestead: Belvedere.  The cemetery is located within the 224-acre tract purchased by an African-American woman, Amy Farrow, in 1788.  Earlier, in 1781, a Quaker, William Johnson, patented the property. The sale of land to African Americans in the late 18th Century is an important reminder that in addition to enslaved communities, between 1 and 5 % of the African Americans in Albemarle County were free and, on occasion, owned land.

Today, there are several historic black graveyards between Rio Road and the Rivanna River. Much of this land is owned by Stonehaus, Inc.; they have financed archaeological research to better understand the history of the African-American communities in this area. The Bowles Cemetery was uncovered during a recent archaeological survey conducted by Rivanna Archaeological Services. A handful of stones were uncovered. Only one was legible: "Mary Bowles, Died Dec. 6, 1882." Mary was married to Edward Bowles who purchased land in the 1830s within a community originally labeled “Boll’s Lot” (on the original plat) and later referred to as “Free State.” With input from the local community, Stonehaus plans to delineate the boundaries of the cemetery to protect it and provide an interpretive kiosk for the area’s rich history.