Wednesday, June 13, 2012

It's his place

Many public cemeteries, even in our country go back hundreds of years. We visited one in Philadelphia a couple years ago that had graves from the early 1700s. One of my wife's set of grandparents were buried there but literally none of the old markers were legible, so we don't know which marker was theirs.

Daniel Chadwick Willis house
I guess folks in more rural areas just buried family members on their property up until the early 1900s. I know of several old family cemeteries, some in better condition than others. Most just carry a surname or place name but I found one recently that is known by the name of the oldest grave.

Daniel Chadwick Willis was the father of Augustine Willis, the husband of my great aunt. Daniel lived all his life in the Smyrna area of Carteret County, North Carolina. When he died in 1887 he was buried on his property in a family plot which is now on Hill Road. His was the first grave or at least the oldest one that has a marker. His wife, Lydia Dixon Willis followed a year later.

Unfortunately the small plot got a lot of use over the next few years as Daniel's children and grandchildren filled it out. The last person buried there was his namesake, Daniel, Jr. in 1930. I don't know when the family plot got a name but it is now known as the Daniel Chadwick Willis Family Cemetery.

I wasn't able to find any photos of the cemetery online but did locate this picture of Daniel's house that was built in 1880.

1 comment:

Valerie Craft said...

I love those old family cemeteries... when you can find and access them. Otherwise it can be very frustrating to know a family cemetery exists out in the woods somewhere