Brown-Harris Cemetery

Brown-Harris Cemetery

6540 Shier Rings Road, Dublin, Ohio

Parking Details

There is parking available at The Ohio State Outpatient Care Dublin Facility, which is located at 6700 University Blvd. If you are using GPS, please use the street address, 6540 Shier Rings Road, rather than selecting the Brown-Harris Cemetery entry on Google Maps.

Cemetery History

After the Brown-Harris Cemetery was rediscovered in 2020, the City of Dublin partnered with the Brown and Harris families and engineering firm EMH&T to preserve the site and create a monument that properly illustrates the space’s significance and importance to Dublin’s history.

Located at 6540 Shier Rings Road, this historically Black cemetery includes at least 22 confirmed graves. The cemetery was lost in the early 1920s, with the finding of a grave marker from 1854 helpful in rediscovering the land’s true purpose.

The Brown-Harris Cemetery was dedicated June 28, 2024, after years of strategic restoration and coinciding with the time of year our country is focused on commemorations and celebrations of Juneteenth and African American history. The ceremony was shared with the members of the Brown and Harris families as well as Dublin City Council, residents, visitors and local media outlets.

“This is such a historic moment for the Dublin community, as descendants of the Brown and Harris families will be in person for this dedication, showing how our history lives on through our present,” said Megan O’Callaghan, Dublin city manager, during the June 28 dedication ceremony. “We are grateful to have this opportunity to properly remember the families’ ancestors and commemorate this land as part of Dublin’s history in the process.”

Brown Family Statement

We, the proud descendants of the Brown family, acknowledge the establishment of the Brown-Harris Cemetery and are grateful for the memorialization of our family’s historical connection to the cemetery. We recognize that the memorial is a gesture that seeks to reconnect us with our ancestors’ final resting place and allows our family to gather and reflect on our ancestors’ lives and sacrifices.

The full history of this cemetery has yet to be uncovered, and it is our desire to further research our family’s connection to the land upon which this memorial resides. Ultimately, we recognize the hard work and dedication of all agencies involved in this project and are grateful that the Brown family is being acknowledged through this memorial.

– Submitted by descendants Stella Howard and Robin Jones for the June 2024 cemetery dedication

Harris Family Statement

The descendants of the Brown-Harris family appreciate the hard work and many hours that have gone into bringing this memorial to full fruition. We are thankful for everyone who contributed and shared their knowledge, expertise and advice to our families in order to turn an overgrown field of weeds and stones into the memorialized sacred ground of our ancestors that it is today.

Through these past five years, we have learned about our families’ histories and the sacrifices each generation made along the way spurred by the vision towards a better life. A number of trees have been planted on these grounds. There is so much symbolism for our family trees and therefore we offer this “Tree of Life” poem. 

The Tree of Life forever grows

Roots firmly planted in the past.

From older branches new life flows

With love passed down from first to last.

Authored by Keith Mallet

– Submitted by descendants Lorraine Jones and Joe Howard for the June 2024 cemetery dedication


  • 1830s-‘40s: Mary Harris and her family members are freed from slave owner Elizabeth Rowzie of Powhatan, Virginia, upon her death. Harris then travels to the Dublin area, where her family is granted land through their emancipation.
  • Mary Harris marries James Brown, connecting the Brown and Harris families. They lived on the land where the Brown-Harris Cemetery sits today.
  • 1850s: Census records of the Harris family indicate Mary (Harris) Brown’s kids could be Caroline, Deliah and Sarah. Jeremiah and Jane Harris are also related family members who live nearby.
  • 1854: Joshua, a 12-year-old boy, is buried on the Brown-Harris family land. Census records point to the cemetery being used by multiple families. Possible neighbors interred there include Bucker, Chisel, Deep, Hickman, More and Moss.
  • 1863: The Emancipation Proclamation is signed, though not all enslaved African Americans in Confederate states are freed.
  • June 19, 1865: Union troops bring the news of emancipation to enslaved people in Texas; the anniversary of this day becomes known as Juneteenth.
  • 1915: John Rings (1874-1939) acquires the land where the cemetery is located. Likely, John Rings removes the headstones and starts farming the land.
  • John’s son, Alvin Rings Sr. (1907-1991), and his wife, Doris (1913-1999), inherit the land, followed by Alvin Rings Jr., and his wife, Ruth.
  • 1995: Ruth Rings likely donates a photo of the Harris and Browns to the Dublin Historical Society. It is believed that Mary (Harris) Brown is one of the individuals pictured. (Picture to the right.)
Letter "H" inscribed on a grave marker found on the site in 2004.
Photograph of the supposed George Washington family. George was a border and laborer living with the Brown family at the time of the 1870s and 1880 Census. It is suspected that this is the photo reference in a 1995 letter from Christopher Cline that was held by Ruth Rings. George was not noted to have a family in either Census, so there is the possibility that this actually represents either the Brown, Harris or Chisel family. (Photo courtesy of the Dublin Historical Society)
  • April 2004: The cemetery is recorded as an archaeological site based on local historian Bill Likens, who had been collecting arrowheads in the area when he finds part of the 12-year-old boy’s headstone. Likens talks to Doris Rings, who shares a story of the possibility of a Black cemetery on the property. This headstone is later lost.
  • February 2016: The City of Dublin purchases the land (6540 Shier Rings Road) from the Rings family. This is part of a larger parcel of land (7500 Hospital Drive #4512).
  • 2016: The City of Dublin hires civil engineering firm EMH&T for work on the University Boulevard Phase II Project.
  • 2019: EMH&T conducts an archeological assessment of the property as part of the University Boulevard project, finding the 2004 record of the cemetery.
  • 2020: EMH&T rediscovers a multi-grave cemetery during a geophysical study of the area for the University Boulevard project. The City of Dublin, including the Engineering and Parks and Recreation departments, begins to design a cemetery to honor those interred.
  • 2020: After detailed research, EMH&T reaches out to Joe Howard (from the Harris family line) and Stella Howard (from the Brown family line) to share the rediscovery of their ancestors’ family cemetery. The families join the project and contribute to decision-making on design elements used in the monument and landscaping.
  • 2020: City staff members find a part of a gravestone with the letter “H” inscribed; a replica is now displayed as part of the cemetery’s monument. (Picture to the left.)
  • Spring 2024: The cemetery is planted with a variety of blooms to signify life can be found through the story of the land.
  • June 28, 2024: The City of Dublin in partnership with Brown and Harris family descendants dedicates the cemetery.
Brown-Harris Cemetery

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