Porter Rea Cemetery (Potato Creek State Park)
Because this site is not within the South Bend city limits, it is not formally part of the African American Landmark Tour. Yet it is a site of great significance to African American history in the greater South Bend area.
Backstory and Context
The graves of many of the early African American settlers in St. Joseph County are located in Porter-Rea Cemetery. It was officially created Sept. 6, 1854, when Samuel Gard deeded land to trustees for a burial ground. Free African American settlers from the Huggart settlement, the first rural black settlement in northern Indiana, lived side-by-side with whites with whom they farmed, worshipped, and attended school. Here blacks and whites were buried together as they had lived together. In the 1850s, the Farrow Powell family and the Delilah Harris Bass families settled in South Bend, where Farrow Powell became a substantial landowner, including 120 acres in the Huggart Settlement. Delilah Harris Bass died in 1870 and was buried at Porter-Rea Cemetery. The Powell and Bass families continue to promote awareness of the history of African Americans in the community. Porter Cemetery Association was formed May 9, 1884, with both white and African American charter members. These sites are within the Potato Creek State Park which has a Friends organization.