Mount Zion and Female Union Band Society Cemetery
Founded in 1879, the Mt. Zion Cemetery (formerly the Old Methodist Burying Ground) leased for 99 years the east end of the Dumbarton Avenue Methodist Church adjoining the older Female Union Band graveyard for $1 as a burial for its members. The Female Union Band was a benevolent society that purchased its burial ground in 1842. The west end of the cemetery was purchased by the Female Union Band Society as a graveyard for free African Americans and abuts the Mt. Zion Cemetery. No burial occurred after 1950 when the city barred burials for health violations. The “cemetery” battled takeovers and developers of this prime Georgetown property well into the 1970’s. Rev. Lon B. Chestnut, Mt. Zion’s pastor from 1969 – 1975 successfully petitioned to have the cemetery designated a District of Columbia landmark and both the cemetery and the church were placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Financial shortages resulted in the cemetery’s decline. Several notable African American Georgetown and metropolitan Washington, DC residents are buried at Mt. Zion Cemetery, including: Mary Logan Jennings, a descendant of one of the founders of the Female Union Band Society; Edgar Murphy, one of the builders of Mt. Zion Church; Caleb Hawkins, a restaurant proprietor, officer of Mt. Zion, and business investor; Charles Turner, sometimes referred to as the African American mayor of Georgetown; Robert Holmes, established wholesale oyster and an oil and gas businesses; Clement Morgan, a honor graduate of Harvard university; and many more. The cemeteries also served as the final resting places for former slaves, business persons, property owners, soldiers, politicians, educators and many others.
(Source: Black Georgetown Remembered)