The Barnett Cemetery is principally an African American cemetery in Pike County, Ohio.
Located near the Eden Baptist Church in Pike County, the Barnett Cemetery was named for the Barnett family. The Barnetts were African Americans and formerly had been slaves in Virginia. Upon gaining their freedom, the Barnetts moved to Pike County, where they became farmers. They also assisted escaped slaves to freedom along the Underground Railroad.
The cemetery remained in use from 1849 to 1941. The first recorded burial was of Chana Huse, who was the grandmother by marriage of Madison Hemings. Hemings was a former slave of President Thomas Jefferson. A 1998 DNA study of male-line descendants of the Hemings family showed that descendants of Madison's brother, Eston, are descendants of a male member of the Jefferson family. Most historians now agree that this finding along with other historical sources suggest Thomas Jefferson was Madison's father, and was father to Sally Hemings' other children. Madison Hemings' daughter, Julia, is also interred in the cemetery, and it is speculated that Madison is buried there as well.
Unfortunately, the cemetery has fallen into disrepair in recent years. Still, it illustrates the prejudice that existed in Ohio during the years before the American Civil War. Ohio was a state that did not allow slavery. Nevertheless, that did not mean that whites were open to granting African Americans equal rights. Free African Americans found that it was difficult to get fair treatment, and they often formed their own communities and institutions away from whites.
- Woodson, Byron W., Sr. A President in the Family: Thomas Jefferson, Sally Hemings, and Thomas Woodson. Westport, CT: Praeger, 2001.