Charlotte And Meckenbug Cemeteries

Many of the people whose names appear in this history no longer frequent the busy thoroughfares. Had they not lived, there would probably be no book, certainly not one of such dimensions. Gravestones are constant reminders of the debts we owe for today's blessings. And, somewhere in each burial ground, rest those valiant guardsmen who gave their all for the preservation of justice, liberty, and freedom.
 
Prior to 1853, church yards and private graveyards throughout Mecklenburg County were the only spots used for burying the dead. In that year, the City of Charlotte established Elmwood Cemetery. All of the early churches mentioned in this history and many that followed had burial grounds nearby. For many of these old cemeteries, especially those apart from churches, there are no records available beyond a few weatherbeaten, hard to decipher stones. Such information as has been compiled for others was recorded many years after the cemeteries were begun, mostly for the use of genealogists. Records are available in the Public Library of Charlotte for graves in the Cemetery of the First Presbyterian Church of Charlotte (compiled by Miss Violet Alexander in 1936 and copied by Anne Gillylen Quarles (Mrs. J. Perrin Quarles); Steele Creek Cemetery (compiled by Mrs. Robert E. McDowell and published in pamphlet form by the church); Sharon and Paw Creek Cemeteries (compiled by the North Carolina Historical Records Survey).
 
Publicly Owned Cemeteries
The Old Settlers' Cemetery located in the second block of West Fifth Street (frequently referred to as Cemetery of the First Presbyterian Church) was the first cemetery to be owned and operated by the City of Charlotte. Dates on the old monuments and markers read from 1776 to 1884. Burials were made there until a few years before the War Between the States when Elmwood Cemetery was opened. It is interesting to note that a part of this cemetery, the northwest section, was used for the burial of colored servants of the lot owners.
 
The first reported burial at Elmwood Cemetery was in the year 1853. This cemetery has an area of 87 acres with 18,915 recorded burials. By 1947 all lots in Elmwood had been sold.
 
Pinewood Cemetery, for colored people, located on West Ninth Street, was started about the same time as Elmwood Cemetery, though the first recorded burial was January 4, 1895. When all lots were sold in the Ninth Street Pinewood Cemetery, the city purchased 12 acres just off North Summit Avenue and West Pinewood Cemetery was opened with the first burial April 2, 1935. Later it became necessary to further enlarge Negro cemetery facilities and the city purchased 15 acres for establishment of North Pinewood Cemetery in 1947.
 
During 1956 the City of Charlotte acquired, as a gift, Oaklawn Cemetery, from Mrs. Adele Lynch Hendrix who, with her husband, had inherited it from the founder, J. J. Misenheimer. This cemetery has an area of about 47 acres, including one acre on which the mausoleum is located.
 
Corporately Owned Cemeteries
In addition to publicly owned cemeteries, Charlotte and vicinity has several fine cemeteries owned and managed by private corporations. The oldest of these is the Hebrew Cemetery, established in 1868 by the Hebrew Benevolent Society of Charlotte, N. C. When opened, this burial ground was in a secluded outlying section, well beyond the city limit, but now is officially listed as 1801 McCall Street, in a thickly settle neighborhood well within the city proper.
 
The most elegant privately owned cemetery is Sharon Memorial Park and Mausoleum at 5400 Monroe Road, conceived by Dr. W. L. Halberstadt and managed by him with the assistance of his sons. Others also of high standing, include Forest Lawn Burial Park on New Thrift Road, Sunset Memorial Gardens on Lawyers Road, and, for Negroes, York Memorial Park Cemetery.

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