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Commemorative Landscapes of North Carolina
Commemorative Landscapes of North Carolina
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  • Monument Name

    Margaret Lane Cemetery Memorial, Hillsborough

  • Type

    Cemetery

  • Subjects

    African American Monuments

  • Creator

    Sam Dunevant, Designer

    Sam Dunevant, Builder

  • City

    Hillsborough

  • County

    Orange

  • Description

    The monument is a rectangular brick structure, approximately eight feet wide by six feet tall, and is framed on each side by a taller brick pillar. The rear of the monument, facing into the cemetery, contains three small, narrow gravestones recovered from the cemetery. One stone is marble, and the other two appear to be granite, all bearing the inscribed names of the deceased. The front of the memorial contains a bronze plaque commemorating the cemetery. On the rear, a bronze plaque commemorating those who are buried but whose names and burial locations remain unknown sits in the brick cap above the gravestones. The recovered stones bear the names of Daniel Whitted, W.O. Parker, and Nancy Wheatting.

    Another memorial to those buried in the cemetery, known and unknown, The Margaret Lane Cemetery Grave Marker, sits in the center of the cemetery. It was dedicated in 1987 at the time the cemetery was restored by the Town of Hillsborough.

    Images: Front view | Setting with view of street | Front plaque | Rear plaque | Daniel Whitted stone detail | W.O. Parker stone detail | Nancy Wheatting stone detail

  • Inscription

    Front plaque: MARGARET LANE / CEMETERY / Before 1852 to 1931 / Well before the Civil War this sacred site was set aside as a burial / place for local slaves and their families. / It remained active until / the early nineteen thirties. / Dedicated 1987

    Rear plaque: THE GRAVE SITES FOR / THESE MARKERS ARE / KNOWN ONLY BY GOD.

  • Custodian

    Town of Hillsborough

  • Dedication Date

    December 4, 2010

  • Decade

    2010s

  • Geographic Coordinates

    36.074000 , -79.109670 View in Geobrowsemap pin

  • Supporting Sources

      "Hillsborough Seeks Input on Proposed Monument for Margaret Lane Cemetery," Town of Hillsborough, (accessed June 26, 2012) Link

      "Margaret Lane Cemetery Before 1854 to 1931," Town of Hillsborough, North Carolina, (accessed February 3, 2013) Link

      "Town of Hillsborough unveils monument at cemetary," triangle.news14.com, (accessed February 3, 2013) Link

      Hamlin, John. "Ceremony Memorializes Grave Markers at Hillsborough Cemetery," The Daily Tar Heel (Chapel Hill, NC), December 6, 2010, (accessed April 20, 2012) Link

      Reilly, Katie. "Hillsborough woman works to restore Old Slave Cemetery," The Daily Tar Heel (Chapel Hill, NC), September 20, 2011, (accessed February 3, 2013) Link

      Town of Hillsborough. "Margaret Lane Cemetery," Historic Hillsborough, (accessed October 27, 2012) Link

  • Public Site

    Yes

  • Materials & Techniques

    Brick, stone, marble, bronze

  • Sponsors

    Town of Hillsborough and the Hillsborough Tourism Board

  • Monument Dedication and Unveiling

    The monument was dedicated on a Saturday in early December. Approximately fifty people attended. Hillsborough Mayor Tom Stevens gave a speech, and the service included a brief sermon, recitation of the Lord's Prayer, and the singing of a hymn. Snow began to fall following the conclusion of the service. Descendants of those buried in the cemetery attended the service.

  • Subject Notes

    The marker was designed and built by Town of Hillsborough employee Sam Dunevant. It includes stones recovered from the cemetery during the earlier restoration. These stones identify specific individuals. Some 45 names are known of the approximately 150 graves that have been identified in the cemetery. The cemetery is also known as the Old Slave Cemetery and the African American Cemetery.

  • Controversies

    According to a pamphlet prepared by the Town of Hillsborough, in the late 1970s a group interested in building a church on the site discovered that the town did not have a deed for the land. The group filed for a quit-claim deed which the town countered and won, enabling it to retain title to the property.

  • Location

    The memorial sits at the northeast entrance to the cemetery.

  • Landscape

    The memorial sits in the grass, just beyond the street. Mature trees are nearby, and a bench sits a few feet from the rear face of the memorial.

  • Death Space

    Yes

  • Approval Process

    The monument was approved by the Town of Hillsborough following public input. The initial projected cost of the monument was $2,000. The effort also received a $925 grant from the Hillsborough Tourism Board.

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