ROADSIDE MICHIGAN: The Grave of the Branded Hand
The Grave of the Branded Hand.....just what the heck is THAT?
Here's the story:
Back in the 1840's, Captain Jonathan Walker was a crusader who helped slaves get to freedom. In 1844, while he was attempting to help seven slaves find freedom, his deed was discovered; he was held by so-called "authorities" until they decided what to do about his actions. They agreed that Captain Walker should be branded so he would take his "shame & embarrassment" with him wherever he went. His captors proceeded to brand the palm of his right hand with the initials "SS", standing for "slave stealer".
However, Walker was NOT embarrassed or shamed, for he spent the rest of his years touring and lecturing on the abolitionist circuit, using his branded hand as a prop to enhance his talks.
Walker passed away in 1857 - thirteen years after the slaves were freed; his branded hand was so famous that there is a monument and historical marker inside Evergreen Cemetery in Muskegon. The monument is engraved with a facsimile of Walker's branded hand, complete with the "SS".
The monument is just inside the cemetery at the north entrance off of Irwin Avenue. Many Michiganders don't know about this, and is reportedly known by only a handful of Muskegonites.
This is a true Historical Michigan oddity to see for yourself; the north cemetery entrance is located on Irwin Avenue, between Pine Street and Wood Street.
Pay a visit and get some pictures of this little-known piece of Michigan history!