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20 July, 2010

The Old Burying Ground in Beaufort, North Carolina

page4During my recent visit to the wonderful old town of Beaufort, North Carolina with fellow bloggers Barb, Kathysue and Carol, I was excited to see that guided tours of the town’s Old Burying Ground were being offered as a part of their 50th Annual Old Homes and Gardens Tour! It is actually one of the few cemeteries on the National Register of Historic Places!

page1 This may seem strange, but I love touring old cemeteries and this one was my favorite by far! Here you will find a wealth of history and a peek into life in America in its earliest years. But I must admit that even in the dappled light filtering through the ancient trees, the heat and humidity were stifling! And yes…that is a huge old wisteria vine looping across a family plot! I wish it had been in bloom!

page2 It was interesting to see how nature is always in the process of reclaiming what is hers…

page8 …and displaying her glory from the tree tops to the the smallest stones, even in a place like this!

page5 Perhaps the most interesting was the resurrection fern, an air plant which appears to die in the heat and returns to green with moisture in the air! I was able to get these contrasting photos over a two day period…amazing!

page9 There was an interesting variety of styles of headstones through the ages...from simple to elegant. The vaulted bricks were intended to protect the graves from high water and animals. There is also what appears to be an empty area where an archeological survey discovered unmarked graves of the victims of an Indian massacre in 1711…their skulls cleft from the tomahawks of the hostile Coree and Neusiok Indians! Yikes!

page Some of the headstones were decorated with wonderful sculptures…angels, willow trees and lilies. Why the anchor? Because Beaufort is an old whaling and fishing community.

page3 And, sadly, scattered among the family plots, were the graves of small children from a time when life was very precious and precarious.

Burying grounds 039 The oldest marked grave dates from 1756 and  is believed to be that of little Abigail Parker. But no one will ever know which grave is actually the oldest, since the Church of England took the records back to England during the American Revolution. No one knows what became of them.

page7 And by far, the most visited grave in the burying ground is this one of a child from the 1700s…decorated with little gifts and remembrances. According to the story, the little girl went on a voyage to England with her father, who promised her mother that he would bring her home safely. Sadly, she died during the voyage home. Not wanting to bury her at sea, her father bought a keg of rum from the captain and put her body in it. So her family buried her keg and all!

Burying grounds 018And the final touch...the soft strains of gospel music from choir practice at the old adjoining AME Methodist Church Chapel...perfect soundtrack for an amazing journey back in time!

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Beaufort’s Old Burying Ground! If you would like more information and a virtual tour, click here. I hope one day to be able to return to this wonderfully interesting area of North Carolina and discover even more about its fascinating history!

Outdoor_Wednesday_logo Thanks so much for dropping by! I am joining Susan at A Southern Daydreamer for Outdoor Wednesday! Please head on over to her wonderful blog to see her lovely gardens and to find a list of this week’s participants! See you next time! A la prochaine!


  1. Oh my goodness, what a wonderful post. I felt like I was right there along side you. Great descriptions of everything. What an awesome place to visit, such interesting and sad stories of the graves. Oh and hearing the gospel music, oh my gives me chills thinking about it. What an awesome experience!
    Thanks for sharing.


  2. Debbie, what wonderful photos and history of this cemetary. That fern changing like that is really neat.

  3. what a neat much history there...great photos..

  4. Debbie, I find old cemeteries with the aged headstones and other stone pieces very interesting. Thanks for taking us along on this little adventure. Your photos are wonderful as always. ~ sarah

  5. Debbie, what an interesting tour. I had to go back to look at the air fern twice. That IS amazing! Your commentary was so good. I felt like I got the guided tour. laurie

  6. So much history in that part of the country. Very interesting post. I would really enjoy the tour, I'm sure there are all kinds of stories to be told. Beautiful site. Hope you're having a super day. Hugs, Marty

  7. Deb, It was a hot day for sure but I agree one of the most interesting parts of our trip. All of your photos turned out so great. You have done such a wonderful job of touring through the cemetary, it is like being there all over again.Hugs Kathysue

  8. Your photos are gorgeous Deb! I just love old cemeteries, and this one is a beauty. So much history. When we visited Friendship Cemetery in Columbus, I too was struck by the number of children and infant graves. We forget how common it was to lose children to diseases that are so easily treated now. I love all the old stone work, and the resurrection fern is amazing. I still can't believe I missed this trip :( Kat

  9. Beautiful photos Debbie. I'm going to have to visit here soon. It's not far from us at all.

    Blessings, ~Melissa

  10. Debbie, this is just fascinating. You and I share a love for cemeteries. I grew up with one behind our house. We picnicked there as children. This one, though, is so interesting. You would love the one where my parents and grandparents are buried. It is GORGEOUS and very, very old.


    Sheila :-)

    P.S. Computer is fixed!

  11. I love this post, Debbie.
    It's interesting that just yesterday we began planning our Spring 2011 trip...Beaufort is at the top of the list!:-)

  12. Great post. Your photography was wonderful and the stories interesting.

    I hope you are having a great week.

  13. Do you do stone rubbings.
    That story of the little girl...sad.
    Re the tax number, surely there is a way to get one! Or make friends with someone who has one.
    The next best thing to an employee discount is a friend who is an employee!

  14. what great stories!! each one so interesting....thanks for the journey!! the south has so much history.
    kate :)

  15. I enjoyed Beaufort so much that we went back this past weekend dragging some other friends with us and barely missed getting in before they locked the gate. I was so disappointed. . . I loved hearing about the cemetary in your words, you see things I don't even notice.

  16. I enjoy visiting old cemeteries too. There are some interesting stories there.
    Mama Bear

  17. I love old graveyards! Your pictures are wonderful and I enjoyed the stories too!



  18. I LOVE Beaufort, NC!!! And I loved the Old Burying Grounds as well. To think we have been to the same places! ;) I have more to say about these posts...I'm going to have to email you.


Thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to comment! I appreciate my wonderful readers!... Debbie