Silent Sentinel of Stone:  Old
Chapel Hill Cemetery
Sections A-B
Sections I-IV

Sections A and B

Sections A and B (the westernmost sections next to Alexander and Joyner Dorms) are the African-American sections of the graveyard. Many of the graves are those of University laborers and servants, some of whom were slaves or former slaves.

Some of the oldest graves are marked by uncarved field stones so it is difficult to tell exactly where and how many graves are in this section. These stones at one time may have held names and dates, but weathering has worn away any traces. These are probably the graves of slaves owned by people at the University and residents of Chapel Hill. Although some may simply be home burials. The oldest grave which can be dated belongs to Ellington Burnett (1831-1853). His grave has been toppled onto the ground and broken in multiple pieces. Many of the older graves in this section have similarly been vandalized.

The newer graves dating from 1880 and after are made of either concrete or marble, and there are several family memorials made out of granite. Click here to view a map of the cemetery.

Wilson Caldwell Wilson Caldwell
Wilson Caldwell was born into slavery in 1841 and spent most of his life working as a servant at the University. He established the first school for blacks in Chapel Hill and served as a Town Commissioner in the 1880's.

Section A

  • Thomas Booth, Sr., 1887- 1955. Stone and brick mason; with brother Lewis, built some stone walls on campus and some houses on Gimghoul Road.
  • Rev. Lewis H. Hackney, 1854-1937. Pastor, Rock Hill Baptist Church (now First Baptist) for 60 years.
  • Charlotte Hargrave, 1847-1924. A nurse for 50 years.
  • Annie Harton, 1843-?. Example of 'home-made' concrete stone.
  • Jesse Jones, 1858-1912. Well-known chef at Pickard Hotel. Later ran The Coop, a popular student eatery located behind Ackland Art Museum.
  • George Kirkland, 1899-1948. First black dentist in Chapel Hill.
  • Fannie McDade, 1861-1964. Laundress for students; died at age 103.
  • Henry Merrett (Merritt), 1871-1943. Long-time employee of Kappa Sigma Fratemity.
  • Dovard O'Kelly, 1888-1945. Ran dry cleaning plant for UNC and the town in 1920's-30's.
  • Nellie Strowd Strayhorn, 1850-1950. Died at the age of 100. Toney Strayhorn.

Section B

  • George Barbee, mid-19th century. One of the oldest stories in this section.
  • Ellington Burnett, ?-1853? Another very early stone.
  • Dr. Edwin Caldwell, 1867-1932. Son of Wilson Caldwell. Received medical degree at Shaw U. in Raleigh;practiced for many years in Chapel Hill. Developed cure for pellagra.
  • Dilsey Craig, 1802-1894. A slave for over 60 years in the home of the prominent Phillips family (see Sec. I).
  • George Trice, 1838- 1915. Ran oyster restaurant and shoe repair shop on Franklin Street.
  • Nannie Weaver, 1871 - 1971. Died at the age of 100.