Referred to as the African Cemetery on maps of the time, the Harmoneon served as a key burial ground for people of African descent for the next thirty years. It also included set-aside space for those without financial means. No records of the Harmoneon burials survive.

But 10 names of the Harmoneon’s interred were documented from tombstones at the successor Columbia Harmony Cemetery. The most notable known Harmoneon burials were:

  • George Bell (1761–1843), a founder of the city’s first school for African Americans in 1807 and another school in 1818. He was a carpenter by trade and was a member of the first Board of Directors of the Columbian Harmony Society.
  • Reverend John F. Cook, Sr. (1810-1855), an educator, the first African American Presbyterian minister in the District of Columbia and founder of Fifteenth Street Presbyterian Church. The John F. Cook School at 30 P Street, NW was named for him. 
  • William Costin (1780?-1842), an alleged grandson of Martha Washington and a messenger for the Bank of Washington, successfully challenged provisions of the District’s 1820 Black Codes, exempting those people of color that resided in the District before the imposition of the new law. He was elected the Columbian Harmony Society’s first vice president.
  • Joseph Warren (d. 1844), a member of the first Board of Directors of the Columbian Harmony Society.
Rev. John F. Cook, Sr. (1810-1855)

Rev. John F. Cook, Founder. Daguerreotype, n.d. Fifteenth Street Baptist Church, Washington, DC.

William Costin (1780?-1842)

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