This is the Internet Web edition of the Cemetery Survey of Chatham County, North
Carolina. It is brought to you by the Chatham County Historical Association. We hope you will find it
user-friendly and useful. We will be adding "newly discovered" cemeteries and updating cemetery location and other information from time
If you note any problems with using this data please advise the Chatham County Historical Association. If in your use of the data you note any errors, missing entries for any
cemetery, changes needed to any data entry, or older cemeteries, family burial
grounds or individual gravesites not included in this survey that you have
information or personal knowledge about, please write to the Society at this
Chatham County Historical Association
PO Box 93
Pittsboro, NC 27312-0093
Or contact the Association by Email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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This web site Copyright (c) 1996-2010, Cemetery Census. All Rights Reserved
Reproduction, adaptation or alteration without prior written permission of
Cemetery Census is prohibited, except as allowed under the copyright laws.
Cemetery Census shall not be liable for errors
contained in this material, or for incidential or consequential damage in
connection with the data herein.
--- ATTENTION ---
You are invited and encouraged to read the following summary of the origin of
this data and how it came to be here today.
We suggest that you read this summary at least once, probably before
starting to use the data, as it contains important information that may bear on
WHERE THE CEMETERY DATA WAS ACQUIRED
Background of the Cemetery Survey
Chatham County’s oldest gravestone on record was reported by Wade Hadley in the Chatham Historical Journal in April 1990. It is located at the Napton cemetery near Oakley Baptist Church south of Siler City and reads:
Born 1756 [or 1758]
Before 1913, when North Carolina mandated the collection of vital statistics, birth and death dates were most easily learned from tombstones. In January of 1989, the Chatham County Historical Association embarked on a survey of every cemetery in Chatham County under the direction of Will and Audrey Heiser and Will was officially appointed cemetery coordinator by the county commissioners. Thus began a project that lasted twelve years, encompassed over 550 cemeteries, and recorded over 27,000 names.
The first step in the project was to locate the cemeteries. Newspaper stories and word of mouth elicited a good response, especially for locating old, private cemeteries long hidden in the forests. United States Geological Survey (USGS) maps were studied, as well as historical maps indicating churches with cemeteries. Every known location was pinpointed on the USGS topographic sheets that include Chatham County. With the generous assistance of the Chatham County GIS program, locations were incorporated into the county grid. Teams of volunteers visited the cemeteries where they recorded gravestone information.
Earlier compilations of gravestones by other groups and individuals were consulted with information added to the data cards (see “Sources of Other Information”). Questionable data were compared with death certificates filed with the Chatham County Register of Deeds, where possible.
The information from each headstone was transferred onto a file card for each individual. The cards provide space for surname, given name, middle initial, date of birth, date of death, indication of military service, epitaph, relationship, marker material and condition, location by row and column, cemetery name and code number, compilers name, date of inventory, and remarks. These data were transferred to the electronic database that is published on this CD. In most instances, all data on the file cards are recorded in the database. In the transfer errors unavoidably occurred, and corrections continue to be made.
Basic information from the database was published in book form as The Gravesites of Chatham County, North Carolina in 2001. Corrections and additions were incorporated into a second edition of the book in 2002. The two-volume work was well received, and interest was expressed in publication of the database. Information excluded from the book because of space limitations is included on the CD, which also has advantages in sorting and analyzing the data.
Comments on Editorial Decisions
Inevitably, some grave sites and cemeteries remain in the no-man’s land between reporting and publication. Most of these are small family cemeteries with only fieldstone markers and probably no legible grave markers. Some reported grave sites have not yet been precisely located, and some cemeteries were not inventoried because volunteers did not come forward to do them. A few cemeteries in adjacent counties have been included in this survey because they are located in what was the original Chatham County before lands were split off for Alamance and Lee Counties, or because they include Chatham County residents.
Most grave sites listed have stone markers, but some do not. The database entry may show “funeral marker,” “marker not found,” “unmarked,” or “traditional location for . . .” The researcher is cautioned not to assume that a gravestone or marker will be found for every listing.
The treatment of a maiden name, given middle name, and second married name is inconsistent. Frequently the distinctions were unknown except in family histories or other records. When possible these were added to our database. Identification of sources is also inconsistent; however, we felt that the relationship, from whatever source, was of sufficient importance to include it. The researcher should seek independent confirmation of relationships.
Many gravestones are double, with the name and birthdate of a surviving spouse engraved. Thus, there are names included in the database for people who are very much alive. Most frequently, the lack of date means that the date is unknown. No systematic attempt has been or will be made to keep the survey current, since death dates are now part of the public record; however, inventories will continue as volunteers are found to take them.
Corrections and Additions
The inventory of Chatham County grave sites will probably never be other than a work in progress. As new researchers discover the satisfactions and frustrations of genealogy, as forgotten gravesites come to light, as old records surface in attics, and as dusty archives yield new knowledge, the need for revision will grow. The Chatham County Historical Association expects to continue accumulating reports of other gravesite locations and of corrections to the data now available. We will continue to need volunteers to verify reports, record revisions and publish supplements.
Reporting Corrections and Additions
Every effort has been made to make the information included here as mistake-free as possible; however, errors almost inevitably creep in. Users should verify all data independently whenever possible -- spelling, dates, and relationships. We urge researchers to send corrections or additions to the Chatham County Historical Association for the benefit of future users.
Corrections of data or reporting of newly-found sites should be sent to the Chatham County Historical Association (CCHA) at PO Box 93, Pittsboro, NC 27312 or email@example.com. Be sure to include your name, address, telephone number, current date, and source of information. Contact CCHA to learn of the latest updates.
We wish to thank the following people who provided valuable information and/or volunteered to inventory cemeteries for this survey:
Samuel and Reba Cheek, Doris Flexner, Elizabeth Hains, Will and Audrey Heiser, Robert Hughes, Wayne Phillips, Rebecca Routh, Robert A. Wiesner and Neil McLean Avent, Alvis B. Clegg, Jr., Faye M. Dasen, Judy Herringdine, E. Hines, Frances Oldham Johnson, Faye Moore, Clyde W. Morris, Vickie Roberson, Barbara Roth, Martha Hope Smith, Catherine Porteous Sutton, Carl A. Teague, Margaret Teta, Terry White
Wade H. Hadley, Jr., Martha Harrington, Gerald Oldham, J. Lamont Norwood, Charlie B. Thomas and Murray Andrew, Evelyn Barber, Ralph Brady, Edwin H. Brooks, Howard Brooks, Lindsay Brown, Lemuel C. Burns, Elva Butler, Daniel Cassedy, Leah K. Cheek, Jim Cooper, Joyce Cotton, Rachel Johnson Cox, William J. Crabtree, Lois Sugg Willett Crider, Bette Burgess Crouse, Jeff Davis, Clayton Dollar, Becky Leach Dozier, Myrtle Ellerby, Richard Ellington, Margaret Jordan Ellis, Fred Emerson, John Emerson, Ann Erickson, Nevada Faircloth, Jesse Fearrington, Billy Fitts, Jr., E. H. Foust, Jr., Bebe Johns Fox, Robert L. Gaines, Cecelia and John Grimes, Leonard Gunter, Margaret Hadley, Margaret Hager, Peter Harris, Vertie Hicks, Jane Johnson and Marshall Hinnant, Mike Hubbard, Wilber Lutterloh, Jerry and Cathy Markatos, Jim and Norma Pennington , Reba Thomas, Chatham County Register of Deeds, J. Harvey Jones,Terry Lynn Jones, Inez Jones, Robert Jourdan, Mary Kerr, Brown Lane, Mrs. William Lutterloh, John McIntosh, Charles Gibson Manly, Faye Mitchell, William and Edna Moore, Polly Moses, E. T. Myers, Margaret Palmer, Priscilla Peavey, Mrs. Emma Dell Perry, David and Judith Peterson, Audrey Poe, Charles Aycock Poe, Melissa Poe, Fleet Reddish, Mary Ringle, Glendora Rives, William Rives, Brenda Robbins, J. M. Robbins, Isabelle C. Sirls, Staley Smith, Ike Spivey, Jr., Ona Stuart, Virginia and Bob Tilden, Georgia B. Tilley, Edward Vaughan, Howard White, Rachel Whitehead, Inease Wicker, Mildred V. Williams, Kathy Wilson, Brian Wingler, Shelby Case and Thomas Wood, Rhea Worrell
BOOK PUBLICATION TEAM
Cliff Beasley, Duane Hall, Barbara Pugh, Jane Pyle, Nancy Simons
CD PUBLICATION TEAM
Duane Hall, Cliff Beasley, Keith Brown, David Peterson, Jane Pyle
Willa Austin, Tom Danek, Carol Hall, Judith Peterson, Ruth Roundy, Rachel Whitehead
OTHER SOURCES OF INFORMATION
Broughton, W. Harold, The Cleggs of Old Chatham, (np: Clegg Family Association, 1977)
Broughton, W. Harold, Chatham County Cemeteries, North Carolina, Vol. 1 (Durham: W. Harold Broughton, 1972) [typescript in Wren Library, Siler City, NC]
Chatham County Home, Register, [1922-1940]
Cheek, Flossie Hilliard, comp., The Family of Ezekiel Hilliard 1801-1992, (Goldston, NC: John Kilmer Cheek et al, 1992)
DeGroat, Mary Eugenia, Kith and Kin of the Darke-Dark Clan in America, 1680-1973, (Birmingham AL: Mary Eugenia DeGroat, 1974)
Groves, Joseph A., The Alstons and Allstons of North and South Carolina, (Atlanta: Franklin Printing and Publishing, 1901)
Harrington, Martha, Yesterday, (Moncure, NC: Martha Harrington, 1982)
Hornaday, L. S., comp., Piedmont North Carolina Cemeteries, Vol. I-III, (Burlington, NC: L.S. Hornaday, 1981-1991)
Jones, Kathy Brooks, Buffalo Creek Chronicles, (Sanford, NC: K.B. Jones, 1984)
Kellam, Ida Brooks, Brooks and Kindred Families, (np: Ida Brooks Kellam, 1950)
King, Myra, and Grace H. Harris, Our Family Heritage, (np: Myra King and Grace H. Harris, 1986)
Corps of Engineers, United States Army, Final Report(s) for Relocation of Cemeteries, B. Everett Jordan Dam and Lake, North Carolina, Groups I-IV, (Savannah, GA: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 1971-1979) [in Chatham County Register of Deeds Office, Pittsboro]
Wicker, Rassie E., Miscellaneous Ancient Records of Moore County, North Carolina, (Southern Pines, NC: Moore County Historical Association, 1971?)
Willett, Lois Sugg, Genealogical Records Committee, Guilford Battle Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, ABible, Family & Tombstone Records,@ 1961, 1964, 1965 (typescript)
Williams Family Circle, Heritage of the Williams Family (Chatham County, NC: The Williams Family Circle, 1995) [in Chatham Historical Museum, Pittsboro]
---------------- HAPPY SEARCHING! ----------------