New Signage Installed at Leesburg Historic Cemetery

The Sycolin Community Cemetery will not soon be forgotten again thanks to a new town sign posted on the property.

Sycolin was a black community settled by former slaves and their descendants in the 1880s. The community existed for more than 50 years, but the only remaining physical elements are the First Baptist Church of Sycolin, originally known as the Sycolin Union Church, and the cemetery. Located on property acquired by the town for an expansion of the Leesburg Executive Airport runway, the cemetery has been unattended and overgrown.

In late 2015, Pastor Michelle Thomas, founder of the Loudoun Freedom Center, led an effort to clean up the property and provide better stewardship of the burial grounds. The town removed fallen trees, more than 100 tires, deer carcasses, and other debris, and created a walking path around the cemetery’s perimeter.

A newly posted sign provides information about the cemetery and its history.

The Loudoun Freedom Center plans to partner with the town on a long-term stewardship plan for the site that includes improved accessibility and interpretive signage to tell the stories of the Sycolin community. Thomas hopes to establish an annual wreath laying ceremony and homecoming day for the descendants of the community. She also plans to enlist a Scout troop to improve the perimeter trail around the cemetery later this year.

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