WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Pennsylvania’s Auditor General, Timothy Defoor, stopped by Wilkes-Barre Monday for a little history.
Mayor George Brown and the Wilkes-Barre City Cemetary Committee gave the Auditor General a tour of the historical Wilkes-Barre City Cemetery.
“One of the things about this area there is so much history here and not only history but African American history,” Defoor said.
The tour told many stories but focused mainly on Wilkes-Bare’s connection to the underground railroad, a history many locals don’t know.
“We’re talking about the underground railroad, it ran right through here, through here, through the Denise Farm, which is further north, but you never hear about that,” Defoor added.
A key part of the tour is the saga of Henry Brown, a conductor on the underground railroad during the Civil War. He died in 1884 and was laid to rest in an unmarked grave in Wilkes-Barre City Cemetery. He was finally awarded a gravestone 139 years after his death.
“Henry Brown actually helped slaves escaped, and what he would do, he’d put the slaves in his wagon and cover them with hay and then drive them to the next station of the underground railroad, and that happened right here in Wilkes-Barre,” Defoor stated.
The purpose of Monday’s tour was to educate residents about the rich history of our area, a history the Auditor General hopes will be passed down for decades to come.
“By me being here if people are gonna get interested in local history that’s fantastic, learn about history learn about some of the things that are happening in Wilkes-Barre right in their own backyard,” Defoor explained.
Henry Brown’s grave site was dedicated in the summer.