Union Run Baptist Church Cemetery

Association: Union Run Baptist Church
No. of Markers: 321 (View)
No. of Individuals: 236 (View)
Location: Shadwell, Albemarle Co.

The Union Run Baptist Church was originally called "Union Branch," a reference to a nearby stream. In 1865, Thomas Jefferson's grandson, Thomas Randolph, gave an acre of land to the Union Branch Baptist congregation to build a church and a school. Over the past 150 years the church has rebuilt and expanded its original building and increased the amount of space set aside for burials.

During our 2006 survey we located 359 gravemarkers, ranging from uninscribed, carved stones (like the one at left) to carved granite memorials. With burials dating from the last quarter of the 19th century through the present, the Union Run Cemetery contains a very diverse collection of gravestones. The photo below illustrates a cluster of about a dozen stones that are carved into tall headboards. Unfortunately, their inscriptions are highly eroded and only an occasional letter can be deciphered. Other gravestone types include metal funeral markers, granite and marble stones, soapstone markers, wooden crosses, iron posts, unmarked depressions, and carved fieldstones. In addition to diverse gravestones, the cemetery contains an abundance of vegetative memorials, including cedar trees, ivy, periwinkle, yucca plants, shrubs, and fake flowers. In some cases these impermanent "living memorials" may have been used in lieu of physical markers.