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Chatham County North Carolina Cemeteries

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120    BREWER - CHEEK [E43.2]

      Location - Baldwin Township. 50 feet west of paving of US 15-501, north of Briar Chapel Parkway. Prior to 2015, one marker located in a landscaped area between the highway and walking path on Briar Chapel property until 2015.

      Coordinates: 35d 49m 14.6s N; 79d 05m 09.8s W Click here for Google maps

      Previously canvassed by Will Heiser, 1999; Fred Vatter, 2002; Bev Wiggins, 2008 and 2011. The site was reported in the Cultural Resources Survey for Briar Chapel Development that was conducted by Environmental Services, Inc. The site-id is 31CH806. Photos by Douglas Cutler and Beverly Wiggins.

      Lizzie W. Cheek's shiny black obelisk stood alone near the Briar Chapel entrance on 15-501. It was discovered in the late 1990s during construction on 15-501. We learned from several older residents of the area that at least until sometime in the 1940s the Cheek family cemetery was located between the Cheek house and highway. They reported that the cemetery was surrounded by a wrought-iron fence and could be seen from the highway. Local legend has it that most of the gravestones were stolen in the 1940s by vandals-except for Lizzie's, which may well have been too heavy for the thieves.

      Fred Vatter's article, "The mystery of Lonely Lizzie," which appeared in the Chatham County Line in May 2008, provides a good summary of the information about the gravesite that was available at that time. Click here to download the article in PDF format.

      The property where Lizzie W. Cheek's marker was found belonged to her grandfather, Asbury Brewer, who may have inherited it from his father Samuel Brewer. Asbury Brewer died in 1881 or 1882. In his will he left the property to his wife, and after her death the homestead and thirty acres were to go to his son John Lee Brewer. The balance of the land was divided among Asbury's other children. Asbury's wife, Elizabeth Mason Brewer, died circa 1885.

      In 1913, John Brewer sold the homestead lot to his sister Fannie Brewer Cheek (deed FB/400). Page 401 has a rough sketch of the parcel, showing it on the Chapel Hill Road.

      In 1920, Robert and Fannie Cheek sold the timber on their land, except for the timber in the one-acre family graveyard (FP/452). So the reports of neighbors that there was a family graveyard on the property were correct.

      The property was sold in 1944 to Clyde T. Farrell and wife Carlos Shuller Farrell (deed JE/458).

      Additional research, done in 2014 with the help of Susan T. Comer, ggg-granddaughter of Asbury Brewer, revealed that markers for many members of the Cheek family, including those formerly buried in the family cemetery on the Briar Chapel property, were located in Maplewood Cemetery in Durham. Maplewood records indicate that the following remains were "moved from the country" to their current location in Maplewood. No date for this move is given but it may have occurred when Fannie Brewer Cheek died in 1942, or when the property was sold in 1944. Neighbors report that the cemetery was on the Chatham County property in the early 1940s.

      Lizzie's marker was removed in 2015 when the Briar Chapel parcel was developed.

      Topo Quadrant: Farrington.
      Property owned by: NNP Briar Chapel LLC.
      Abandoned: Yes.
      Number of graves: 1.
      Cemetery size: 25' x 25'.
      White: Yes.
      Unrestricted access: Yes.
      Maintained: Well maintained and preserved.
      Enclosed: No.
      Markers: Yes.
      Markers with inscriptions: Yes.
      Number of readable markers: 1.
      Last burial: 1930.
      First burial: 1882.
      Last canvassed by: Previously canvassed by Will Heiser, 1999; Fred Vatter, 2002; Bev Wiggins, 2008 and 2011.


  1. Brewer, Asbury   (b. Abt 1815 - d. Abt 1882)
      • Remains moved to Maplewood Cemetery, Durham, NC. Asbury Brewer's gravestone in Maplewood Cemetery lists his death year as 1876. This is believed to be incorrect because his will is dated 13 May 1881. There was a probate for his will on 13 September 1882. Therefore his death date is between May 1881 and September 1882. He is also found in the 1880 Census with wife Elizabeth and his youngest two children. Census records suggest that he was born circa 1815.
  2. Brewer, Elizabeth Mason   (b. 1829 - d. 1885)
      • Remains moved to Maplewood Cemetery, Durham, NC.
  3. Cheek, Infant Daughter   (b. 19 Feb 1895 - d. 30 Aug 1895)
      • Remains moved to Maplewood Cemetery, Durham, NC.
  4. Cheek, Infant Son   (b. 5 Jan 1889 - d. Unknown)
      • Remains moved to Maplewood Cemetery, Durham, NC.
  5. Cheek, Lizzie W. (Elizabeth Warren)   (b. 23 Dec 1892 - d. 23 Jan 1919)
      • Remains moved to Maplewood Cemetery, Durham, NC. Note that the new gravemarker in Maplewood gives Lizzie's birthdate as 25 Dec 1892. The birthdate on the original marker that was in the family cemetery in Chatham County is 23 Dec 1892. That is more likely to be correct as Lizzie's parents were alive when that marker was produced.
        Daughter of Robert D. and Fannie Brewer Cheek. "Asleep in Jesus". 1' sq obelisk 3' high. March 2008 Photo.
  6. Cheek, Robert David   (b. 1 Aug 1857 - d. 10 Nov 1930)
      • Death certificate indicates burial "at home," which in 1930 was this site in Chatham County. Remains moved to Maplewood Cemetery, Durham, NC.


Web page updated 13 May 2017


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