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Mount Calvary Cemetery Project

  Mount Calvary Cemetery Preservation Project

Calling all Volunteers, Church Groups, Boy Scouts, Masonic Lodges, Fraternities, Sororities, Civic Leagues, Students, and Teachers!

Wanted: Volunteers and donations for...
The preservation of the Mt. Calvary Cemetery Complex. Est. circa 1879 by slaves. A burial ground for historical Portsmouth African American citizens: lawyers, doctors, soldiers, preachers, teachers, et. al. It is a city owned cemetery of 4 different cemeteries: Mt. Calvary, Mt. Olive, Fisher’s Hill, and Potter’s Field. I. C. Norcom, educator, Jeffrey T. Wilson, Dr. J. J. France, and Ida Barbour are all buried in this cemetery. The cemetery has been neglected for many years and needs preservation. The cemetery has many broken stones, markers and monuments.

We pray these pictures give voice to the dire conditions of their unkept graves!

We have some starter state funding, a masonry company, and one company who will donate bricks for some of the family plots needing brick material replacement.


Cemetery meeting with District Historic Resources Office representatives.

Placed survey flags at roadway/pathway intersections, western boundaries, and a few grave sites that seem to be out of place. Completed a survey of all the plots along the ditch (eastern boundary).
Please note that many of the markers are deteriorating rapidly.

A kid found this skull years ago in the Mt. Calvary Cemetery 2009. It is the skull of Mr. John Fisher. His descendants were owners of one of the four cemeteries here in Portsmouth. We have been trying to contact the current grands of this family.

Ida Barbour: After initially taking in 5 orphans, Barbour and 20 other women (known as the Women's League) established the Miller Day Nursery and Home for them and other neighborhood children in 1911. The Miller Day Nursery, Portsmouth, Virginia's first daycare for children of color continues today.

Click to view

Historic Site: Mt. Calvary Cemetery Slideshow

**Unfortunately this is Ida Barbour's broken headstone!**

Contact: Mae Breckenridge Haywood or Charles Johnson
757 292-1045
For the months of March, April and May on Saturdays