Muskegon, Michigan: Grave of the Branded Hand

Capt. Jonathan Walker unsuccessfully tried to smuggle some slaves to freedom; his hand was branded as punishment. His tombstone features a prominent bas-relief of the branded hand.

Evergreen Cemetery

Address:
345-399 Irwin Ave., Muskegon, MI
Directions:
Evergreen Cemetery. The monument is just inside the cemetery entrance on the south side of Irwin Ave. at its intersection with Pine St. Visible through the cemetery gates from Irwin Ave.
RA Rates:
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Visitor Tips and News About Grave of the Branded Hand

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Branded Hand gravestone.

Grave of the Branded Hand

Captain Jonathan Walker had the palm of his right hand branded with an "SS" ("slave stealer") in 1844 when he tried to smuggle seven slaves to freedom. He then spent years on the abolitionist lecture circuit, using his hand as a visual aid. Walker died 13 years after the slaves were freed, but his hand was still so famous that a bas-relief of it was engraved into his tombstone.

[Jon Morgan, 04/08/2018]
Slave Stealer with Branded Hand

There is a historical marker for a man who was caught helping slaves. His hand was branded with "SS" for slave stealer. He would help slaves escape and find freedom. I took a walking trip there about 20 or so years ago for school and never forgot it. A lot of townies don't even know it's there.

[pj, 05/22/2006]

The granite obelisk is engraved "Capt. Walker's Branded Hand" and also has a lifelike bas-relief of the hand. He had the palm of his right hand branded with an "SS" after he tried to smuggle seven slaves to freedom. He then spent years on the abolitionist lecture circuit, using his hand as a visual aid.

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