The Historic CuffeyTown Community
The Cuffeytown community is the oldest community of Africans in Virginia. Cuffeytown was once a predominately free black community in Norfolk County which is now Chesapeake. The community holds several historic sites, the Cuffeytown Historic cemetery and the Gabriel chapel A.M.E Zion church. The historic community cemetery interns thirteen colored civil war soldiers and Gabriel chapel church was built by the free blacks of the community.
The Cuffeytown community is in the Longridge/Hickory section of Chesapeake. The community lies on the border of Virginia and North Carolina. The community can trace its origins to the colonial period of the United States. The free blacks have lived in the Cuffeytown community since 1778 and earlier. Multiple families can trace their heritage back to the historic community. The Sivels, Cuffees, Browns, Whitehurst’s, Sutton’s Spence’s and Jones’s and more have a rich history in Cuffeytown. Levi Sevels is an ancestor to the Sivels family and he served in the civil war. Bluet Cuffey is an ancestor to the Cuffee family; he also served in the civil war. Most of the families in the community have an ancestor that fought on the side of the union army. Some families still remain in the community to this day and continue to uphold the legacy and prestige of the historic Cuffeytown community.
The Gabriel Chapel A.M.E Zion church was established is the oldest church in the Cuffeytown community. It was established in 1866 after the civil war. A.M.E Zion stands for: A stands for the churches main goal is equality and that the children of African will lead the church. The M stands for Methodist which represents order and public faith. The E stands for episcopal, which mean the bishops of the church are chosen by congregation. All of the A.M.E Zion bishops are connected through international relationships. Last, Zion means church of god, which is stated in the bible. Gabriel chapel A.M.E Zion church can trace its origins to The African Methodist episcopal Zion church in New York City. The A.M.E Zion churches were established because of the rejection of religious freedoms to blacks. The church was based on social and spiritual freedom for people begin oppressed because of the heritage. In 2015, The Gabriel chapel A.M.E. Zion church pastor is Reverend Alphonso Griffin. He has been the pastor approximately ten years. The church continues to support the community, have charity events and, regular Sunday church services.
The biggest historical site in Cuffeytown is the Historical Cuffeytown Historic cemetery. Thirteen Colored civil war soldiers are buried in the cemetery and they are known as the Cuffeytown 13. The Cuffeytown thirteen represents the largest cemetery of colored union soldiers in the state of Virginia. Dr. E. Curtis alexander, a historian and people in the community discovered the colored civil war soldier’s tombstones in the early 2000’s. With the discovery of these soldiers, lead to local news attention, city congressman participation, and the renaming of streets to represent Cuffeytown. The soldiers that were discovered were Pvt. Cornelius smith, Corpl. John Whitehurst, Corpl. Lemuel Cuffey, Corpl. Levi Sevels, Pvt. James smith, Sgt. William Coffey, Sgt. Wilson Cuffey, Pvt. Bluet Cuffey, Pvt. Samuel smith, Pvt. Walter smith and Sgt. Thomas van. Theses soldiers will always be remembered for fighting with valor and integrity during the civil war.
In conclusion, The Cuffeytown community is the oldest community of Africans in Virginia. Cuffeytown was once a predominately free black community in Norfolk County which is now Chesapeake. The Cuffeytown community is in the longridge/hickory section of Chesapeake. The community can trace its origins to the colonial period of the United States. The Gabriel Chapel A.M.E Zion church was established is the oldest church in the Cuffeytown community. It was established in 1866 after the civil war. The biggest historical site in Cuffeytown is the Historical Cuffeytown Historic cemetery. Thirteen Colored civil war soldiers are buried in the cemetery and they are known as the Cuffeytown 13. The families in the Historic Cuffeytown Community will continue to carry on the legacy of Cuffeytown.
Mwadilifu, Mwalimu I. Afro-Virginian Union Army and Navy Patriots from Lower Tidewater, 1862 to 1866: They Fought to Fight to save the Union and to Defeat Slavery. Chesapeake, Va.: ECA Associates Press, 2003.
Alexander Curtis, E Women of Cuffeytown from 1800-2002: over 200 years of African-American families. Chesapeake, VA ECA Associates
Curtis Alexander, E., and Sallie Cuffee Mercer. Daughters and Sons of Afro-Union Patriot Heroes: Pictorial Reflections of Descendants. Chesapeake, Va.: ECA Associates Press, 2008.
"In Chesapeake, Black Soldiers' Legacy Not Forgotten." PilotOnline.com. Accessed December 5, 2015. http://www.pilotonline.com/news/in-chesapeake-black-soldiers-legacy-not-forgotten/article_cd4a231f-65f7-54db-b723-e101687d3597.html.