Mount Olive Cemetery - Wilmington, Delaware

Relocated Historic African-American Cemeteries 

Mount Olive Cemetery is an historic African-American cemetery near Wilmington, DE on Lancaster Ave

The cemetery entrance is marked with a Historic Marker - from the Delaware State website. 

Mother African Union Church

Burials from several early African-American cemeteries in Wilmington were moved to Mount Olive in the early 1900s. The first recorded burials in Mt Olive were in 1899. Many markers from the earlier St. Peters and 12th and French (Old Union) date from the early 1860s and have been transferred to Mt. Olive. Also note – in some cases, the death certificate names are incorrect (Ada vs Ida, for example). When possible, these were compared to other existing records (census, marriage, birth) and the most common name was used here.

The earliest recorded deaths are on FamilySearch film 005190436

These appear in the family name page as ‘Not Recorded’ for the location.

The address of the deceased is on the film and may help identify early family groups.

 Known African-American cemeteries at the time included:

2nd and Tatnall

Peter Spencer Plaza

possibly small private burials in the city

If you have a relative buried here who is not mentioned; please contact us.

Always check Find-a-Grave

a dedicated volunteer had been adding family information for many of the residents

Mount Olive


Old Union (12th and French)

Saint Peters

The recently-published book – African Americans of Wilmington's East Side by Dr. Hara Wright-Smith, 2022

contains family photos and brief bios / notes on many Mt. Olive residents

Peter Dalleo, University of Delaware has an excellent article on the free African American community.


Around the Cemetery
Family Names - A
Family Names - B
Family Names - C
Family Names - D
Family Names - E
Family Names - F
Family Names - G
Family Names - H
Family Names - I
Family Names - J
Family Names - K
Family Names - L
Family Names - M
Family Names - N
Family Names - O
Family Names - P
Family Names - Q
Family Names - R
Family Names - S
Family Names - T
Family Names - U
Family Names - V
Family Names - W
Family Names - X
Family Names - Y
Family Names - Z
Delaware Death Records
Around the Cemetery
Art and Symbols
Illegible Stones
The Move

Be sure to check: Free African-Americans and Mitsawokett for more information about some of these families!

The earliest burials

Although the location is not recorded, the residence of the deceased is clearly indicated. Addresses, names and ages can be analyzed to provide family information. The most likely locations are the “Aff Cem” shown outside the city line in 1868 (Beers) and Peter Spencer Plaza

These are indexed (1847 – 1888)


not recorded  -
possibly in the 'Affrican cemetery' out Front Street or French St.

1840s - 1871
(under churches on Lancaster Ave, near Pyle St)

African Union 
819 French St.

1818 – ca. 1900
(Peter Spencer Plaza)

Chippey, Peter. D 1903 is interred there

St. Peters
Front and Union
moved 1914

1861 - 1914
(under car dealerships / Bancroft Parkway)

African Union
12th & French

1861 - 1900
(under former MBNA building)

2nd/3rd and Union
moved 1919 to the present Mount Zion (Lancaster Ave)

1871 - 1908
(under car dealerships / Bancroft Parkway)

Old Union
12th & French

1861 - 1900
(under former MBNA building)

Union (new Union)
Front / 3rd on Union

1863 - 1903
(under car dealerships / Bancroft Parkway)

Mt. Olive
Lancaster Ave
first burial 1899

1899 - mid 1980s

(work in progress)

19 Jun 1908 – five skeletons were found in a sand pit in Newport. Residents remembered a ‘colored cemetery’ across King’s Highway from the white cemetery.

17 Apr 1901 – the colored people have purchased 3 acres from Mr Frank White and laid out a cemetery – 15 lots have been sold.



Death records, census and newspaper clippings will help identify not only the persons with existing tombstones, but additional people buried here as well.

Some residents have an ID number under their names. This is an entry in Find A Grave (online, free). Use the ID numbers to search that site. Example: 226770540 is the memorial for Josiah Edward Cephas

Existing markers photographed: 945. Burials identified - 13457 (St. Peters, 12th&French (Old Union), Union (Ezion & St. Peters - Front and Union, to 3rd and Pyles Lane) and Mount Olive.

Spring Blooms

 RECORD NOTE: If you don't find your family member listed yet - :I haven't gotten to the record yet - The record might not be public (only records before 1971 are available) - There might not be a public burial record. Records for Mt. Zion (Lancaster Avenue at the Cannery) are not included in this collection. Records for Ezion (2nd and Union)  prior to the move to Lancaster Ave are in this collection.

Changes or additions:

Contact us to volunteer, correct mistakes or request high-resolution photos