Talking Spirits XXIV: Forest Hill Cemetery Tours

1 Speedway Road
Madison, WI 53705
  • Presented By: Wisconsin Veterans Museum
  • Dates: 10/8/2022, 10/9/2022
  • Location: Forest Hill Cemetery
  • Time: Sat. 5PM-9:30PM, Sun. Noon-5:30PM
  • Price: General Admission $10

Nearly 160 years ago, the Emancipation Proclamation ended slavery in the Civil War South. Did you ever wonder how that event affected Wisconsin? Join the Wisconsin Veterans Museum for their annual Talking Spirits XXIV: Forest Hill Cemetery Tours to see, hear, and experience how emancipation changed the lives of future Madisonians and Wisconsinites. These tours will take place during the week of October 3-9, 2022 at Forest Hill Cemetery. Candlelit tours will be held on October 8th and daytime tours will be held on October 9th.

Howard Brooks — Born in the institution of slavery in Virginia, Brooks gained his freedom when the Union Army came through his area of the south and he immediately joined them. He served in the 29th US Colored Infantry until the end of the war in 1865. He was one of the first Black men to receive a government pension for his service.

John Jefferson—Born John Hemings in 1835, he was the grandson of President Thomas Jefferson and one of his enslaved servants, Sarah ‘Sally’ Hemings. John Jefferson grew up in a free Black community in Ohio and took the surname ‘Jefferson’ upon moving to Madison to identify as White. As a White citizen, he was able to serve as a colonel in the 8th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War and went to great lengths to hide his ancestry.

Nodley Henderson—Nodley, who had previously been enslaved and gained his freedom, served in the Civil War and was one of the first Black landowners in Madison. He often took in newcomers on his farm, especially formerly enslaved people and Black soldiers who fought in the war.

William and Anna Mae Miller —The story continues with the next generation as we look at the lives of Mr. and Mrs. William Miller. The Millers were active in the improvement of conditions for Black people in Madison. William helped organize the St. Paul’s African Methodist Episcopal Church and was an aide to Senator LaFollette for 19 years. Anna Mae was the founding member and long-time treasurer of the Madison chapter of the NAACP. Their home, built in 1853, was moved to E. Dayton Street in 1908 and is still a Madison landmark.