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277    UNIDENTIFIED CEMETERY - South Grove Subdivision

      Location - In Chapel Hill Township 100 ft SE of Hwy 15-501 in the common area of South Grove Subdivision.

      Coordinates: 35d 51m 59.0s N; 79d 04m 28.0s W Click here for Google maps

      Survey - Margaret Jones of the Orange County Land Records GIS Division and Milton Forsyth visited the cemetery on 10 March 2013.

      Status - Overgrown and unattended. A very nice chain link fence had been erected around the cemetery after work began on the subdivision in early 2013, probably by the developer, Oldham LLC. The cemetery is approximately 27 ft x 32 ft, with an area of about 2/10 acre. There appear to be at least three rows of perhaps four graves each with three or four fieldstone markers and sunken graves evident, but only one carved marker and that had no writing still visible, if there had originally been any. See the gravestone here.

      Comments - The property was owned by only a few families over some 150 years, but the cemetery is not mentioned in any documents seen prior to its identification on the subdivision plat - see here. The about 40 acre property of the subdivision is described in 2013 in OC DB 5692:168 and Plat 110:178-179; PIN 9777800115. The property was sold by heirs in the Oldham family to a family member in 1986 following the death in 1985 of Floy T. Oldham, Sr. (see OC DB 581:605 and OC DB 601:417 - 34.7 acres). It was surveyed in 1994 for that person and is referenced in a mortgage in 2007 (OC Plat 72:47 and DB 4195:477).

      Floy T. Oldham had originally acquired it in 1935 from the estate of Luther W. Partin (OC DB 104:52). Luther Partin had acquired the property in 1899 by purchase at a forclosure sale of a mortgage (Deed of Trust, or D/T) taken out on the property by Jennie [i. e., Jane] Pendergrass in 1889 (45 acres m/l, OC DB 55:281 - this deed references the D/T as being entered in OC "DB 'S' page 98" at the time of issuance; today see D/T Book 17:98).

      The census records show several persons of the name Jane Pendergrass living in Chapel Hill Township during the period 1850 - 1900. However, this Jane Pendergrass is clearly identified as the daughter of Edward and Mary (Polly) White Pendergrass (OC Marriage Bonds, 29 Aug 1806) in the census of 1850 and 1860 and the 1857 will of Edward Pendergrass. He had acquired 68 acres from Manly P. Pendergrass by purchase in 1845 (OC DB 31:349 - Manly appears to have acquired the property in the 1830s). Edward mortgaged the property in 1849, but apparently kept most of it (OC DB 33:364). He died in 1860, leaving all but two acres of his property to his daughter Jane (OC Will Book G, p. 240).

      Jane (called "Jennie") Pendergrass died in about 1892, leaving no will, and in 1897 a letter was written to the Orange County Court stating that her property had not been administered. The letter stated that there was at that time another party living on it who did not own it but was paying the taxes as if he did. The court found that none of her children (unidentified) were entitled to the land because they were illegitimate, and took no action (Orange County Estates - Jennie Pendergrass, 1897-1898). But it should be noted that in the 1880 census when Jane was listed as head of household aged 60 all other persons were listed as her neices or nephews.

      The events surrounding the occupation and financial status of the property in the 1892-1899 period are unclear. The court apparently did not discover the Deed of Trust of 1889 as there is no mention of it. If mortgage payments were due no record was found as to who payed them. But this was apparently settled by the 1899 foreclosure sale to Luther W. Partin, then in his mid-20s and according to the 1900 census, living at his parent's home.

      The boundry descriptions of this property are obscure until a proper survey was conducted for Luther W. Partin by J. Ralph Weaver, Surveyor, on 14 Oct 1926. That survey was not found, but for the 1986 transaction a plat was drawn based on that survey and is described in several documents. Moreover, the consistent references to the "45" or "40" acres clearly suggest this was the land that was acquired by Manly P. Pendergrass and then owned in succession by Edward Pendergrass, Jane (Jennie) Pendergrass, Luther W. Partin, and Floy T. Oldham.

      A member of the Oldham family knowledgable about family and local area history was not aware there was a cemetery on the property, which he said the family had referred to as "The Partin Place." The Oldham and Partin families are buried in Chatham County cemeteries, notably at Lystra Baptist Church. No burials of members of the Edward Pendergrass family have been identified in current records. Given these facts and the appearance of the cemetery, a reasonable proposal is that this old cemetery is associated with the Pendergrass family that occupied this property for some 60 years in the 19th century.

Web page updated 13 May 2017

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