A Brief History of Timbuctoo
Timbuctoo: A Stop on the Underground Railroad
Timbuctoo includes Church St., Blue Jay Hill Road, and adjacent areas. With the support of local Quakers, it was founded c1820 by free Blacks and runaway slaves. At its peak in the mid-nineteenth century, Timbuctoo had more than 125 residents, a school, an AME Zion Church, and a cemetery. The key remaining evidence of this community is the cemetery on Church Street, which contains graves of Black Civil War Veterans. Some current residents are descendants of early settlers.
Timbuctoo was an African American hamlet that was first developed sometime in the 1820’s. The community was surrounded by anti-slavery religious Quakers who accepted African Americans as people with rights and who encouraged and helped with their education. This progressive community had its own African Methodist churches, a school, and a reputation for successfully harboring fugitive slaves. It was considered an Underground Railroad Stop because of the runaway slaves and the well-known slave catchers that frequented its boundaries. 59 In Timbuctoo, there were religious camp meetings whose size rivaled any in the state. Sometimes as many as 2000 people attended, mainly white. 60
At this time the Leader of Timbuctoo, referred to as the King of Timbuctoo, was David Parker who came from Maryland. Many founding Parkers helped to establish this community. Under David Parker’s leadership, Timbuctoo thrived. The people living here may not have been rich or well off, but they lived freely with self respect and hope. One might even speculate that because of this community with its educational standards and nurturing of independent self- confidence many soldiers raised in the area were chosen, even if initially, for non-commissioned officer jobs in the army. In this cemetery there are three existing headstones that were erected by David Parker and family; one for, Eliza, most probably his first wife, one for Matilda, his second wife, and one for Frisby, David and Eliza’s son.