Notables Buried at Greenlawn: Reverend Jacob Stroyer

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This is the first of occasional posts about notable Salemites and Northshore residents buried at Greenlawn.

Reverend Jacob Stroyer (1848-1908) was an author, social reformer and an African Methodist Episcopal minister. He was born a plantation slave in South Carolina and in 1864 was wounded by a shellburst during the Union bombardment of Fort Sumter, as he and other slaves were pressed into the dangerous work of repairing Confederate installations during the Civil War. Reverend Stroyer moved to Worcester, Massachusetts, in 1870. He was licensed as a preacher in Newport and was ordained a deacon. He then moved to Salem to preach and he became a pastor of the Salem Colored Mission.

Reverend Stroyer wrote “My Life in the South” which detailed his life as a slave and is the only known autobiography of an ex-slave in South Carolina. Published in 1879, it’s been reprinted many times and continues to be a valuable resource for historians and academicians regarding the social customs, slave hierarchy and day-to-day lives of African-American slaves in the antebellum South.  In a recommendation of the book when it was published, Salemite John Wright Buckham noted “His memory is remarkably keen and his narrative is vivid and at times both touching and thrilling”

Rev. Stroyer’s grave is at the intersection of Anemone Ave. and Thorn Ave., close to where Thorn intersects with Olive Ave.

Friends of Greenlawn thanks “Bob on Gallows Hill” who kindly allowed the use of his images from the Find-A-Grave website. 

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