Graveyard History notes

Difference between graveyard (private) and cemetery (public)

1728 – Government and Church entire square – Caroline, William, Princess Anne and George

1732 – members of Parish decided to have a church in town – George Street half and the high ground chosen. Henry Willis contracted to build 60×24 wood church. When it was completed Read 1735, Hodge says 1741. Surround yards became church burying ground.

After the designation of numbered “lots” in the 50 acre site, the unnumbered lots bounded by today’s .Caroline and Princess Anne streets and halfway between George and William streets, but adjacent to George, were set aside for St. George’s Episcopal Parish Church. (Felder page 78) First Grave that we know – 1752 John Jones

1770 – Fenced graveyard
Prior to or in 1772 the vestry of St. George’s Parish submitted a petition to the General Assembly describing the church burial ground as filled except on Main (Caroline) street and the hilly and broken nature of the church yard an impediment to the erection of a much needed new church

The petition was granted in February 1772 (or 12th George III) and gave the vestry permission to dispose of so much of the church yard around the church as had not been used as a grave yard. It was stipulated, however, that an additional burial plot must be purchased elsewhere

In 1774 Colonel Fielding Lewis was paid 100 pounds for a square of four lots on which the new church and burying ground were .to be erected. In 1775 10,000 pounds of tobacco were appropriated toward the start of construction. One of the major problems in this history is that neither Lewis nor the Parish recorded this transaction by lot numbers
Hodge believes it is Hurkamp 1752 numbered lots – 137,138,139,140.
(Quenzel page 15,16; Felder 130,135,138,158, Hodge)

The church property authorized in 1772 to be sold was divided into three lots. One was sold to Alexander Blair for 130 pounds 10 shillings , recorded 23 Oct 1775; one to Lewis Willis for 110 pounds, recorded 24 Feb 1776; and one to George Thornton for 150 pounds, recorded 24 Feb 1776. (Crozier, pages 323, 324; Fred. Deed Book A, page 101)

These sales, in excess of 390 pounds, more than compensated for the 100 pounds due Fielding Lewis for the four lot square he sold in 1774 and it is not necessary to assume he was not paid (as have some of the records).

Quenzel – Land sold but proceeds lost in Rev. War and further purchase not made

Fielding Lewis project was abandoned in Rev. War

Feb 1860 -St. George’s Church presented a petition requesting an investigation into the right by which the Corporation held and occupied the portion of the Square between George, William and Prince Edward streets used for many years as a public burying ground. If such an investigation should show the Corporation was not entitled to it, the site should be surrendered to the Trustees of the Church. Hon. John T. Lomax was requested to perform the title search. He did submit a communication on 14 Mar 1860, but it was “tabled” and no further reference was located.(Council Minutes as dated)

1802 – Grand Jury reported nuisance – burying dead in George and Princess Anne Street and irregular buying in ground west and adjoining Prince Edward

1803-1811 Town responsible for some buryings 1811 Council authorized $400 for enclosing the “public burying ground” and later records detail cost of posts, palings, and rails

1815 – Town Council recommend St. George have no more burials. Town Council appointed a committee to seek a proper situations for a burying ground

1816 – Building 2nd church – recommended people having relatives there to move to other part graveyard. 1772 actually declared grave yard full. 3 lots fronting Barton street for 300 feet purchased. Shown on later maps as Potters Field and as the colored cemetery

1818 – Enlarging Princess Anne Street

1823 – Faulkner Hall building and grave controversy. Letters to the local paper wondering why the church was building over graves.

1862 – damage to cemetery- bushes, briars, weeds. Greatest number of graves hidden by undergrowth.

April 6 ,1892 – Ladies formed St. George’s Cemetery Guild to restore cemetery. Raised money
$150 graveyard cleaned, ground rolled and sowed in grass. Trees planted. Tombstone cleaned. Present iron gate purchased

Counted 164 names. Of these 29 graves without stones

In 1940 George Harrison Sanford King recorded the inscriptions of the 109 surviving memorial stones and also Listed the names of 35 known burials that had no tombs. If one discounts the stone cutter’s error on the tombstone of Charles M. Rothrock, which records his death in 1084 instead of 1804, the earliest legible date is 1752 on the stone of a John Jones. The most recent dated stone is Mrs. Virginia B. Coakley Patton, who was buried in 1924.

1959 McGuire Hall built and moving of graves

2002 – Six Individuals found Market Square and plaque 2007

2008 – Beginnings of the Memorial Garden by Faulkner Hall

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