When planning your exploration of Greater Raleigh historic sites, you may not think to include the very places that tell us about the people of our past, cemeteries. Brimming with artful monuments, pristinely preserved cobblestone walkways and tombstone engravings that say much more than what is simply written, the resting grounds of our history’s leaders and influencers are definitely worth visiting.
City Cemetery was originally established in 1798 and divided into four parts that represent the segregation of the times: two one-acre plots for citizens, one for visitors and one for African Americans (most of whom were then slaves). Among those buried here are the father of 17th President Andrew Johnson, Jacob Johnson (d. 1812); clergyman and educator William McPheeters; and Colonel William Polk. A map of 35 other resting places of note in City Cemetery is also available.
Mount Hope Cemetery, founded in 1872, is a city-owned, historically African-American cemetery that is one of the first in its kind in North Carolina. Approximately 1,500 monuments sprawl along 34.5 acres of pastoral, well-landscaped hills, although internment records show more than 7,000 individuals are buried here. Those buried at Mount Hope include Rt. Rev. Henry Beard Delany, one of two African-American bishops of the Episcopal Church at the time of his death and Colonel James H. Young, a commander of a regiment during the Spanish-American War. Mount Hope contains dozens of other notable burial plots and monuments as well.
These two examples provide just a glimpse of the history that can be discovered in Raleigh cemeteries. Go on a cemetery walking tour or put together your own itinerary using visitRaleigh.com’s information on local historic sites and cemeteries.