Margaret Lane Cemetery Memorial, Hillsborough
Sam Dunevant, Designer
Sam Dunevant, Builder
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. And they bear the names of the deceased. The front of the memorial contains a bronze plaque commemorating the cemetery. On the rear side, 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, 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
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.
Town of Hillsborough
December 4, 2010
36.074000 , -79.109670
"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," dailytarheel.com, September 20, 2011, (accessed February 3, 2013) Link
Town of Hillsborough. "Margaret Lane Cemetery," Historic Hillsborough, (accessed October 27, 2012) Link
Brick, stone, marble, and bronze
Town of Hillsborough and the Hillsborough Tourism Board
The monument was dedicated on a Saturday in early December. Approximately 50 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.
The cemetery is also known as the Old Slave Cemetery and the African American Cemetery.
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.
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, enabling it to retain title to the property.
The memorial sits at the northeast entrance to the cemetery.
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.
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.